A Guide To Grand Slam Tournaments

A Grand Slam in tennis is the achievement of winning four major championships in one calendar year. The Grand Slam tournaments in tennis are the world’s four most important tennis events held annually. These tournaments offer a huge amount of prize money and the most ranking points both in men’s and women’s tennis. Winning these tournaments in a calendar year is called a Grand Slam or also known as  Calendar Slam. Whereas, winning these tournaments consecutively but not in a calendar year is called a non-calendar year Grand Slam. Lastly, achieving  these four events or majors within the course of any player’s career is known as Career Grand Slam. These majors are overseen by the International Tennis Federation(ITF). 

The four Grand Slam tournaments are the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. Out of these four, the Australian Open and US Open are played on a hard court whereas Wimbledon is played on a grass court and the French open on a clay court. 

The Australian Open is the first Grand Slam tournament of the calendar year and is scheduled to be played in January every year. This tournament is held in Melbourne Park, Melbourne. It features men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles, mixed doubles, wheelchair tennis, junior championships, legends and exhibition events. The Australian Open was founded in 1905 and is played on hard courts, with the three main courts being the Rod Laver Arena, the John Cain Arena and the Margaret Court Arena. The current men’s and women’s singles champions are Rafael Nadal and Ashleigh Barty respectively. Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis are the men’s doubles champions whereas Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova are the women’s doubles winners and so on. The Australian Open 2022 was the 110th edition of the tournament. Novak Djokovic holds the most men’s singles titles(7) and Margaret Court holds the most women’s singles titles(11).

The French Open or Roland Garros is the second Grand Slam tournament which is played in late May each year. The event is held for two weeks at the Stade Roland Garros, in Paris, France. Roland Garros is played on a clay court and due to which it is termed as the most physically demanding tournament in the world. The featured categories in this tournament are men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles. The defending champions in the men’s and women’s singles are Novak Djokovic and Barbora Krejcikova respectively. Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicholas Mahut are the 2021 champions in men’s doubles whereas Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova were the women’s doubles champions.  Roland Garros was founded in 1891 and the 2021 tournament was the 125th edition of this Grand Slam tournament. Rafael Nadal has won 12 Roland Garros titles, making him the player with the most Roland Garros men’s singles titles and Chris Evert has 7 women’s singles titles making her the most successful women player in the history of the tournament.

The Championships, Wimbledon or commonly known as Wimbledon is third of the annual Grand Slam tournaments. It is the oldest tennis tournament in the world and is regarded as the most prestigious of events.

Wimbledon is played on a grass court which is the traditional tennis playing surface. This major is played at the All England Club in Wimbledon, London and is played in late June and early July over a period of 2 weeks.

The categories of play in Wimbledon are similar to those of the French Open, but Wimbledon also hosts Junior Championships. One of the interesting facts of Wimbledon is that the tournament follows an all white dress code for competitors. Novak Djokovic and Ashleigh Barty are the current defending champions in men’s and women’s singles. The 2020 edition of the tournament did not happen due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Championships, Wimbledon was founded in 1877 and the upcoming 2022 event will be its 135th edition. Roger Federer has won 8 men’s single titles, more than any of the other players. Martina Navratilova has won 9 women’s singles titles making her the most successful women in the history of Wimbledon singles history.

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The US Open Tennis Championships is the fourth and the last Grand Slam tournament held from the last Monday of August and it lasts for two weeks as well. The US Open was founded in 1881 and is played on the hardcourts at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, New York City. The categories of play in the US Open are similar to the ones in the Australian Open. The current champions are Daniil Medvedev and Emma Raducanu in the men’s and women’s singles respectively. Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury are the current men’s doubles champions and Samantha Stosur and Zhuang Shuai are the women’s doubles champions. One of the main courts where matches are played is the Arthur Ashe Stadium. The upcoming 2022 session will be the 142nd edition of the US Open. Roger Federer, Pete Sampras and Jimmy Connors tie at 5 titles(the most in open era) whereas in women’s singles, Chris Evert and Serena Williams tie at 6 titles each.

These 4 Grand Slam Tournaments, therefore, are the main tournaments played in tennis. All these tournaments are open tournaments i.e both professional and amateur players can participate in them. The most Grand Slam titles in men’s tennis are held by Rafael Nadal(21), followed by Roger Federer(20) and Novak Djokovic(20). Whereas in women’s tennis, Margaret Court has won the most number of Grand Slam titles(24), followed by Serena Williams(23) and Steffi Graf(22).

Tennis is a huge sport and the 4 Grand Slam tournaments play an important part in promoting the sport as well as the players. Over all these years, these majors have given the game very famous names like Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Steffi Graf, Rafael Nadal and many others, who have inspired many young players on a rise.

-Rukmini Salodkar


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