The Grand Slam tournaments, also called Majors, are the four most important annual tennis events. The Grand Slam itinerary consists of the Australian Open in mid January, the French Open in May / June, Wimbledon in June / July, and the US Open in August / September. Each tournament is played over a period of two weeks. The Australian and US tournaments are played on hard courts, the French on clay, and Wimbledon on grass. Wimbledon is the oldest, founded in 1877, followed by the US in 1881, the French in 1891, and the Australian in 1905. However, of these four, only Wimbledon was a major before 1924/25, the time when all four became designated Grand Slam tournaments.
The term Grand Slam also, and originally, refers to the achievement of winning all four major championships in a single calendar year within one of the five events: men’s and women’s singles; men’s, women’s, and mixed doubles. In doubles, one team may accomplish a Grand Slam playing together or one player may achieve it with different partners. The term “Grand Slam” without qualification refers to winning the four majors in a single calendar year.
The first definitive Grand Slam, of the current four majors, was accomplished when Don Budge won all four men’s singles Majors in 1938. To date, 17 players have completed a Grand Slam. Of these players, three have won multiple Grand Slams: Rod Laver accomplished the feat twice in men’s singles; Margaret Court accomplished the feat three times, in two different disciplines – once in women’s singles and twice in mixed doubles; and Esther Vergeer completed a grand slam twice in Women’s wheelchair doubles.
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