What are Grand Slams in Tennis?
Grand Slams in tennis are the biggest and the most important tournaments. The Grand Slams are also called as the Majors.
All in all, there are 4 Grand Slams. These are annual tournaments that players crave to win and are considered to be the biggest stage in professional tennis.
What are the 4 Grand Slams in Tennis?
|S. No.||Tournament||Time of the Year||Tennis Court Surface|
|1||Australian Open||Jan End – Feb Beginning||Outdoor Hard|
|2||French Open (a.k.a. Roland-Garros)||May End – Jun Beginning||Outdoor Clay|
|3||Wimbledon||Jun End – Jul Beginning||Outdoor Grass|
|4||US Open||Aug End – Sep Beginning||Outdoor Hard|
The Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open are the 4 Grand Slams in tennis. In the table above, these grand slams are in chronological order.
An Intro to Grand Slams for Newbies
The Grand Slam is the biggest stage in tennis. They are held every year and players compete in a knockout format. New players will have to play qualifiers and then compete with the pros. Thus it takes a lot of physical & mental effort, talent and skill.
The Grand Slam Draw
128 players compete in the main draw of men’s and women’s singles while 64 (2 players in a team) compete in the main draw of men’s and women’s doubles.
Every Grand Slam has 5 main events. The number of players in the main draw are mentioned within brackets.
- Men’s Singles (128)
- Women’s Singles (128)
- Men’s Doubles (64)
- Women’s Doubles (64)
- Mixed Doubles (48)
The Grand Slam Point System (Ranking Points)
Each of these 4 Grand Slams offers 2000 points to the winner as per the tennis players ranking guidelines of the ITF.
This means that the International Tennis Federation (ITF) considers all the 4 Grand Slams as equal when it comes to awarding points to players.
Winning a slam is a huge deal.
You can imagine how much of a champion it takes to win over 15 grand slams in tennis.
Only a few of the greatest tennis players of all time, in the history of tennis, have managed to win 15 or more Grand Slam major tournaments.
Six women have achieved this feat in the women’s singles side while only three male tennis players have managed to win more than 15 grand slams in men’s singles.
Tennis Players With the Most Grand Slam Titles in Women’s Singles
|Player||Grand Slams Won||Event|
|Margaret Court||24||Women’s Singles|
|Serena Williams||23||Women’s Singles|
|Steffi Graf||22||Women’s Singles|
|Helen Wills Moody||19||Women’s Singles|
|Chris Evert||18||Women’s Singles|
|Martina Navratilova||18||Women’s Singles|
Tennis Players With the Most Grand Slam Titles in Men’s Singles
|Player||Grand Slams Won||Event|
|Roger Federer||20||Men’s Singles|
|Rafael Nadal||20||Men’s Singles|
|Novak Djokovic||17||Men’s Singles|
Roger Federer holds the record for winning the most number of grand slam titles (20), followed by Rafael Nadal (19) and Novak Djokovic (17) in the third spot.
Now, let’s get a little up close and personal with each of these 4 Grand Slams.
1. Australian Open
About the Australian Open
The Australian Open is the first of the four grand slams held every year. This major tennis tournament is popularly known as the Grand Slam of the Asia-Pacific. Players and fans also call it “The Happy Slam”.
There has been a huge surge in the popularity of the Australian Open with millions of tennis and sports enthusiasts flocking into the Melbourne Park to watch the first grand slam tournament of the season.
Initially the tournament was played on grass (like Wimbledon) from 1905-1987 and then the officials decided to switch the surface to hard courts from 1988.
The Australian Open is currently being played on the blue Greenset hard courts.
Quick Facts about the Australian Open
Prize Money and Trophies
Sir Norman Brookes was a former Australian Tennis player and Australian Open Champion (1911). He served as the president of the Lawn Tennis Association for about 29 years and was knighted for his success & outstanding performance in tennis.
Daphne Akhurst was a tennis player and grand slam champion from Australia. She impressed the tennis world by winning the women’s singles at the Australian Open for 5 consecutive times from 1925 to 1930. The women’s singles trophy is named in her honour.
2. French Open (Roland-Garros)
Roland-Garros also known as the French Open is a major tennis tournament held in Paris. It is held from the last week of May to the first week of June annually.
The tournament is held in a complex named Stade Roland Garros which comprises of red & gritty clay tennis courts.
The French Open is the 2nd Grand Slam of the calendar year and is the only tournament of the four grand slams to be held on clay.
Court Philippe Chatrier is the name of the centre court at the French Open named after French Tennis player Philippe Chatrier. He was the president of the French Tennis Federation for 20 years and later became the president of the International Tennis Federation for 14 years.
Quick Facts about Roland-Garros
Prize Money and Trophies
The Coupe Des Mousquetaires trophy awarded to the winner of men’s singles pays respect to the 4 musketeers of French Tennis – Jean Borotra, Jacques Brugnon, Henri Cochet, and René Lacoste.
While the Suzzane Lenglen trophy awarded to the winner of women’s singles at Roland-Garros pays tribute to the French tennis player Suzzane Lenglen who had won 6 French Open titles across different categories.
You might also want to read: Why is Roland-Garros the Toughest Grand Slam Tournament?
Wimbledon is the oldest tennis tournament in the world. It is the first major tennis tournament to be ever held on this planet since 1877. The tournament is officially called The Championships, Wimbledon.
The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in South West London hosts this prestigious sporting event. This club is located in England in a town named Wimbledon. This is why the tournament is popularly called Wimbledon.
History of Wimbledon
As I’ve mentioned earlier, we are talking about the oldest tennis tournament. As of 2020, the tournament is still played on the very same grass courts where lawn tennis began.
Before the open era in tennis, winning Wimbledon was the ultimate achievement in tennis.
With such a powerful history and traditional values, Wimbeldon sure does have ample built-in prestige and respect in the tennis world.
Quick Facts about Wimbledon
Trophies and Prize Money
4. US Open
About US Open
“The US Open” as it is popularly called is the last grand slam of the year. A more formal name of the tournament is The United States Open Tennis Championships.
The name “U.S. Open” can be confusing to some as there is another sporting event with the same name in golf – The United States Open Championship (golf).
Do not mix these two up as the US Open Tennis Championships is a tennis tournament while the later is a national championship in golf.
The tournament is played on acrylic hard courts in Flushing Meadows, New York City. The United States Tennis Association (USTA) is a Non Profit Organization and organizes the US Open.
The US Open is currently played on the Laykold hard courts. Laykold is the same brand of courts which is used in the Miami Open Masters 1000 tournament.
History of the US Open
This is one of the oldest tournaments in the world probably after Wimbledon. The US Open was first played in the year 1881.
The tournament was played on grass courts initially (like Wimbledon) and then it switched to clay courts. In the year 1978, the US Open was moved to the USTA’s National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows and the surface was moved to hard courts.
The US Open is the only Grand Slam tournament to have been played on 3 different surfaces – 1) Grass 2) Clay & 3) Hard Courts.
Quick Facts about the US Open
Prize Money and Trophies
Now you know what Grand Slams are and how some players have learnt to dominate a specific slam.
A player winning all 4 Grand Slams throughout his/her career is said to have achieved the feat of a Career Grand Slam.
Many tennis enthusiasts, players and critics consider Wimbledon to be the most prestigious Grand Slam out there.
This is probably because Wimbledon is the oldest tournament and has rich history and heritage associated to it.
But many players find Roland-Garros to be the most difficult slam to win. Many legends have even failed to win Roland-Garros at least once in their career making it the most elusive grand slam.
The Australian Open has attracted the largest set of audiences in tennis and has gained a massive following recently. It is also the first grand slam tournament of the year so the level of excitement is pretty high.
My personal favorite is Roland-Garros as I like clay court tennis. What’s your favourite grand slam? Let me know in the comments below!