Some Tennis Grand Slam Champions
A Grand Slam is achieved when a player wins all four major titles in the same calendar year: the Australian Open, France Open, the Wimbledon, and the US Open. Six times, this has been accomplished (by five different players). The term “Grand Slam” is sometimes used to refer to any of the four major championships.
Don Budge achieved the first Grand Slam in tennis history in 1938. In the final of the US Nationals (which subsequently became the US Open), the American defeated his doubles partner Gene Mako 6–3, 6–8, 6–2, 6–1.
He was born in 1915 in California. After dabbling in various sports as a kid, he settled on tennis, where, aided by his height (6ft 1in), he developed a strong serve that would propel him to the top. Budge dropped out of Berkeley in 1933 to join the Davis Cup squad of the United States. He took some time to acclimate to the grass courts of the East Coast after growing up on California’s hard courts, but he eventually mastered them sufficiently to win Wimbledon in 1937.
Another person to win a grand slam was Maureen Connolly in 1953. She won the US National Championships for the third time in a major final, defeating Doris Hart 6–2, 6–4 in New York. With her victory, she became the first woman in tennis history to complete the calendar-year Grand Slam. A feat accomplished only once in men’s tennis history by Donald Budge in 1938.
Maureen Connolly was born in the City of San Diego, California, in the year 1934. Her initial love was horseback riding, but because her family couldn’t afford lessons, she turned to tennis instead. Even though she began playing with her left hand, she was taught to play with her right. This modification does not affect her ability to become a great player.
Connolly blasted powerful groundstrokes from the baseline with pinpoint precision, especially on her backhand side. Compared to the firepower of a US Navy ship, the USS Missouri, known as “Big Mo,” she was dubbed “Little Mo” by a San Diego sportswriter when she was 11 years old.
At the age of 14, Connolly competed in the US Championships (which would eventually become the US Open) for the first time, losing in the second round. She fell in the second round of the US Championships again in 1950, and that would be her final loss in a Grand Slam tournament. She went on to win the next six Grand Slam tournaments: the US Nationals (1951, 1952), the Australian Open (1953), the French Open (1953), and Wimbledon (1952, 1953).
The third time a grand slam was won was in 1962 by Rod Laver. Laver became the second man to win the Grand Slam in a single year in 1962, winning the Australian, French, Wimbledon, and US Open championships.
Only amateur players were permitted to compete in such Grand Slam competitions at the time. In 1968, the “open period” of tennis started, allowing professionals to compete in such competitions. Laver turned professional in late 1962, which meant he missed five years of big event play. Laver won his second Grand Slam in 1969, and no one has done it since.
On August 9, 1938, Rodney Laver was born in Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia, to Roy and Melba Laver. Roy was a butcher, and he and his family had four children.
At an early age, the youngster was a gifted tennis player who dropped out of school to pursue his passion. In Queensland, he received his training from great tennis player Harry Hopman. Laver won both the ‘Australian’ and ‘US Junior’ titles in 1957.