Serena Williams is looking to become one of the most successful tennis players in history (like she already isn’t) by becoming the first player since Steffi Graf to win a calendar Grand Slam.
Which got me wondering: What percentage of tennis players choke in the US Open when they’re going for a calendar Slam?
And in the Open Era, the answer is…
In 1969, Rod Laver won the Australian Open, Roland Garros, and Wimbledon, before cruising to a US Open victory. The very next year, Margaret Court achieved the same thing in women’s competition, where she was followed by Steffi Graf. No-one else has been able to win the first three since then, for a few reasons:
- In the women’s competition, it’s been extremely even. Excluding Williams, the last person to win two Grand Slams in one year was Justine Henin in 2007.
- In the men’s competition, first Roger Federer, then Novak Djokovic weren’t able to win Roland Garros, and Rafael Nadal hasn’t been able to win the Australian Open.
However, if we do include the amateur era, there are two people losing the US Open, but not the other three:
- 1933 men’s: Jack Crawford (Australia) loses in the final to Fred Perry (Great Britain)
- 1956 men’s: Lew Hoad (Australia) loses in the final to Kent Rosewall (Australia)
So, this means that every time you win the first three Grand Slams, you will at least make the final, and most of the time you’ll win it.
Knock ’em dead, Serena.