What Is Grand Slam In Tennis?

Discover the answer to the question, “What is a Grand Slam in tennis?” Learn about the history of the Grand Slams and how they are played today.


A Grand Slam in tennis is when a player wins all four major tournaments in a single calendar year. The four majors are the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open. If a player wins all four tournaments in the same calendar year, it is considered a Grand Slam. If a player wins all four majors at any point during their career, it is considered a Career Grand Slam.

The Four Grand Slam Tournaments

There are four grand slam tournaments which are widely considered the most important tennis events in the world. They include the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open. Each grand slam tournament has a different surface, which can impact how the game is played.

The Australian Open

The Australian Open is the first of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments held each year, and it is the largest annual sporting event in the Southern Hemisphere. Over 700,000 people visit Melbourne Park each year to watch the tournament, which is held in January. The Australian Open features men’s and women’s singles; men’s, women’s, and mixed doubles; junior’s singles and doubles; and wheelchair, legends’, and exhibition events.

The French Open

The French Open, officially Roland-Garros, is a major tennis tournament held over two weeks at the Stade Roland-Garros in Paris, France. The second of the four Grand Slam tournaments, it is the only one played on clay. Roland-Garros is the premier clay court tennis championship in the world and takes place over two weeks at the end of May and beginning of June. It features both men’s and women’s singles and doubles competitions all played on twenty-four Clay courts.


Wimbledon, located in London, is the oldest and perhaps most prestigious of the Grand Slam tournaments. First held in 1877, Wimbledon was originally open only to amateur players. But by 1968, all four Grand Slam events allowed professional players to compete. Today, Wimbledon is considered the most important tournament in tennis. It is the only Grand Slam tournament still played on grass, and it is the most important event in tennis for many players.

The US Open

The US Open is the fourth and final Grand Slam tournament of the year. It is played on outdoor hard courts at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City. The main tournament consists of five event championships: men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles, and mixed doubles. There are also junior and wheelchair tournaments.

The History of the Grand Slam

The Grand Slam is the most prestigious event in tennis. It is composed of the four biggest tournaments of the year: the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open. Winning all four tournaments in a single year is a rare feat, and is considered the greatest achievement in tennis.

The Early Years

When the Grand Slam tournaments—the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open—were created in the late 19th century, only amateur players were allowed to compete. This situation changed in 1968 when all four tournaments allowed professional players to compete together for the first time.

The term “Grand Slam” was first used by sportswriter John Ritchie in a 1913 article for The Saturday Evening Post. He used it to describe the winning of all four major tournaments in a single year, a feat that had never been accomplished. It wasn’t until 1980 that American player Chris Evert became the first (and so far only) woman to win all four Grand Slam titles in a single year.

Since 1968, there have been many great moments at the Grand Slam tournaments. In 1970, Australian player Rod Laver became the first man to win all four Grand Slam titles in a single year since Ritchie coined the term “Grand Slam.” Laver accomplished this amazing feat twice—once as an amateur in 1962 and again as a professional in 1970. In 1973, American player Billie Jean King won her sixth Wimbledon singles title, defeating fellow American Bobby Riggs in what was billed as “The Battle of the sexes.” In 1986, another American player, Martina Navratilova, became only the second woman to win all four Grand Slam singles titles in a single year when she defeated German player Steffi Graf in the finals of the French Open.

The Open Era

The Open Era is the current era of professional tennis. It began in 1968 when the Grand Slam tournaments allowed professional players to compete with amateurs. Before that, only amateurs were allowed to play in the Grand Slam tournaments.

The four Grand Slam tournaments are the most important tennis events of the year. They are also the most prestigious and the most lucrative. They are:
-The Australian Open
-The French Open
-The US Open

Since 1968, there have been many great players who have won multiple Grand Slam titles. The all-time leader is Margaret Court, who won 24 Grand Slam titles (11 singles, 13 doubles). Other notable players include:
-Steffi Graf (22 Grand Slam titles)
-Martina Navratilova (18 Grand Slam titles)
-Pete Sampras (14 Grand Slam titles)
-Roger Federer (20 Grand Slam titles)
-Serena Williams (23 Grand Slam titles)

The Modern Era

In the modern era, a Grand Slam tournament is an international tennis event staged four times a year: the Australian Open in January, the French Open in May–June, Wimbledon in June–July, and the US Open in August–September. The term can also refer to winning all four tournaments in a calendar year, which has been accomplished six times by three different players: Don Budge (1938), Rod Laver (1962 and 1969), and Margaret Court (1970).

The Grand Slam tournaments— Australasian (Australian), French, English (Wimbledon), and American (U.S.) —are the most important annual tennis events in the world. They offer the largest financial rewards in terms of prize money and ranking points. They are also the only tournaments that attract all of the world’s top-ranked players to compete against each other on a regular basis.

The term “Grand Slam” was first used by American sportswriter John Wertheim to describe Bobby Jones’s 1930 victory in all four of that year’s major golf tournaments—the U.S. Amateur Championship, British Amateur Championship, U.S. Open, and British Open. Various other journalists subsequently applied the term to other sporting achievements, such as Don Budge’s winning of tennis’s four major singles titles in 1938. The first use of “Grand Slam” to describe winning all four tennis majors did not occur untilAustralian journalist James Davies used it during live radio coverage of 1936 Wimbledon men’s semifinal match between Henry Austin and Fred Perry. Since then “Grand Slam” has become standard usage in tennis circles; its widespread popularity outside tennis led Sport magazine to declare it “the most famous phrase used in sport[ing] circles today.”

The Future of the Grand Slam

The Grand Slam tournaments, also called the majors, are the four most important annual tennis events. They offer the most ranking points, prize money, public and media attention, the greatest strength and size of field, and greater prestige than any other tennis tournaments. The Grand Slam itinerary consists of the Australian Open in mid-January, the French Open in May and June, Wimbledon in June and July, and the US Open in August and September. Each tournament is played over a two-week period.

The term “Grand Slam” was first used by sportswriter John Kieran in 1933 when writing about Bobby Jones’s 1931 triumph at The Open Championship. Jones had won that year’s U.S. Amateur and British Amateur titles to go along with his 1930 U.S. Open win (he did not compete in the French Amateur). With those three victories, Jones was the first person to win all three major amateur championships in a calendar year. Kieran called it the “Grand Slam” of golf; subsequent writers adapted Kieran’s term to tennis.

What began as a rare accomplishment has become much more common in recent years. Sam Snead was the first golfer to win all four majors (1942 PGA Championship; 1946 Masters Tournament; 1949 U.S. Open; 1951 British Open), but Snead never won them all in one calendar year—Bobby Jones did that first (1930). Tiger Woods is now golf’s most famous “Grand Slammer,” having accomplished this feat on four occasions (2000, 2001-02 PGA Tour seasons; 2005-06 PGA Tour season). In tennis, Margaret Court won all four majors in 1970; since then, Steffi Graf (1988) and Martina Hingis (1997) have completed non-calendar year Grand Slams as well—Hingis accomplished her rare feat as a 17-year-old amateur! And Serena Williams has now completed two career Grand Slams by winning all four majors at least twice each (2002 French Open; 2002 Wimbledon; 2003 Australian Open; 2003 US Open).Williams’ most recent achievement came at age 31 with her 2013 victory at Wimbledon—she became only the fifth womanin historyto win each major at least twice (Court leads with 11 wins at Wimbledon).


To win a Grand Slam, a player must win all four majors in a single calendar year. This feat has only been accomplished seven times in the history of professional tennis, with the most recent occurrence being in 2015 when Serena Williams did it. If a player wins all four majors at any point during their career, it is referred to as a Career Grand Slam.

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