Most fans know about the Tennis Grand Slam: winning the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open in the same calendar year.
But for something famous, this is an extremely rare feat.
On the men’s side only Don Buzz in 1938 and Rod Laver in 1962 and 1969 have achieved this. Some have come particularly close to matching them. But this year, Novak Djokovic, with his win over the weekend at Wimbledon, is three-quarters out of there.
Besides Budge, Laver and Djokovic, only two other men, Jack Crawford in 1933 and Lew Hoad in 1956, also won the first three slam events. (Both almost got their slams at the US Open, losing in the finals, Crawford to Fred Perry and Hod to Ken Roswell.)
Since Laver’s last slam, only three men have won the first two events this year before Djokovic, Mats Wilander in 1988, Jim Courier in 1992 and Djokovic himself in 2016.
Even on the women’s side, the Grand Slam is rare, with only Maureen Connolly in 1953, Margaret Court in 1970 and Steffi Graf winning four events in 1988.
Perhaps due to the difficulty of winning the Grand Slam, a less formal “Serena Slam” was coined after Serena Williams won four consecutive events from 2002–3 but not in the same calendar year. Williams did it again in 2014-15. He was actually beaten to the feat by Martina Navratilova, who did it in 1984–85.
Djokovic has the only Serena Slam for men, which he won in 2015-16. He could have completed another Sunday if he hadn’t missed the top-seeded US Open in the fourth round, having accidentally hit a linewoman with an angry ball.
There is also an easy-to-achieve career Grand Slam, in which a player wins each slam event at some point in their career. On the men’s side, it adds to the ledger the modern triumphs of Perry, Roy Emerson, Andre Agassi and Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Djokovic.
Tournaments are played on a variety of surfaces, increasing the difficulty of completing any type of slam. For example, greats such as Pete Sampras and John McEnroe never won the French Open on clay.
Apart from the US Open, where Djokovic will go for the Slams starting on August 30, there is still a men’s singles event at the Tokyo Olympics, which begins on July 24. Djokovic has said that he is not sure about playing in the Olympics for Serbia. . If he won the gold medal and the US Open, this achievement would be called a Golden Slam. In 1988 only Graf has done it, but tennis was not part of the Grand Slam games of Budge, Laver, Connolly and Court.
As Nadal and Federer fade and young stars are slow to emerge, Djokovic, at 34, holds a dominant position in the men’s game.
Djokovic lost five sets in his seven matches at the Australian Open and six at the French. But at Wimbledon, he dropped just two, and despite losing the first set of the final to Matteo Berrettini in a tie-break, he was never in serious trouble. He’s 34-3 on the year.
Djokovic is also listed as a favorite in the money for the US Open, indicating that bookmakers and the odds give him a nearly 50 percent chance of winning it. (That’s money for the Olympics, too.)
Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Daniil Medvedev and many other players will stand in the way. But this year the chance to see something no man has done since 1969 and no woman since 1988 is very real.