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hoodjem
06-09-2009, 05:30 AM
The pundits say only six men in the history of tennis have been able to accomplish this feat. Does anyone know its origin?

MEN's Singles--
Fred Perry: US 1933, 1934: Aus, Wim, US; Fren 1935
Don Budge: 1937 Wim, US; all four 1938
Rod Laver: Aus 1960; Wim 1961; all four 1962, 1969
Roy Emerson: Aus, Fren 1963; Aus, Wim, US 1964
Andre Agassi: Wim 1992; US 1994; Aus 1995; Fren 1999
Roger Federer: Wim 2003; Aus, Wim, US 2004; Fren 2009

How meaningful is a career slam? What do you think?

lambielspins
06-09-2009, 05:34 AM
Not that meaingful. It is overrated IMO. The 4 slams have only been fully valued by players as they are today since the mid 1980s. Nadal has a good shot to become the 3rd man since then to do the career slam. Lendl, Sampras, Becker, Edberg, would have all managed 3 out of 4. It isnt nearly as big a deal as made out to be or as the Calender Slam or even non Calender Slam IMO.

It was hyped up because of Agassi who was always hyped up by the American media. Comparing Sampras to Federer I think now that they are tied Federer has the edge as his record is far more balanced. A FO title with many other finals, better record in Australia already. However I dont buy into the mystique of the carer Slam as some do.

urban
06-09-2009, 06:04 AM
As lambielspins said, the term was invented to promote Agassi's feat in 1999. Originally since the 30s and Crawford in 1933, the Grand Slam was only the calendar GS. In the 80s they talked about Grand Slam tournaments, to promote the ITF controlled events. In 1990 the ITF invented even a Grand Slam Cup, played at Munich, and consisting of the leading majors players of the year. In the late 70s they ran a Pepsi Grand Slam at Boca Raton, a 4 or 8 man event.

Agassi was hailed, because all great players of the 70s and 80s, had a hole in their majors resume, most at RG, but some as Lendl at Wimbledon. But lets not forget, that in the 80s and 90s there were really different surfaces at RG and Wimbledon for example, which required different styles of play. The last 8 at RG were mostly completely different people than the last 8 at Wimbledon. I would say, that due to the homogenization of surfaces (Paris this year could be playing faster than Wimbledon) and - as a consequence - the standardisation of a baseline-orientated style, we could well see more career-foursomes in the near future. A barometer for this development was imo Djokovics instant success across all surfaces in 2007.

Rabbit
06-09-2009, 07:55 AM
^^^
Great post and I agree. The novelty of Agassi's accomplishment given the dearth of same in the Open era prompted the lauding. And, truth be told, it is something that Agassi can be proud of as it is one thing his chief rival was never able to accomplish. I think Agassi's ability to do this is further deified by Federer's recent accomplishment of same. It puts Agassi in another class of player.

With regard to Federer, it can only help his quest for history. In his post-match interview after winning RG, Federer himself opined that he may now indeed be the GOAT. Given the status of his career, which is still very viable, he can win another 2 - 3 majors and put himself on a plateau above everyone else save Laver.

IMO, of all Federer's accomplishments, the one most overlooked is his US Open run. The Open used to be the most equitable of the majors and now is probably the least fair given its court speed. But, Federer has prevailed in arguably the most distracting tournament on the tour 5 times in a row and his prospects for a 6th straight are now even better given Nadal's latest medical problem.

urban
06-09-2009, 08:09 AM
On the basis of his game, Agassis biggest problem wasn't RG, but Wimbledon. He did very well at RG even in the late 80s at the outset of his career. I remember him playing Wilander in the sf in 1988, when Wilander outlasted him, so that he couldn't barely walk in the fifth set. He lost close finals to Gomez and Courier, who had his (Bollettieri-) number then, and looked like a lock-in for the French title. The Wim title was much more surprising, considering the fact, that grass was then dominated by serve and volleyers. Remember: Andre didn't even play Wimbledon at the outset. Most people thought: How could grass-novice Agassi do that, what Lendl, a Wim junior champion, never could win in a long career. Andre took his opportunity well. He beat two of the best grass courters all time (Becker and Mac) and a very good one (Goran). But Becker was overweight and not fit then, and Mac was past his prime. Goran was a nervous wreck in the final. And Sampras hadn't yet arrived at his grass peak.

Rabbit
06-09-2009, 08:13 AM
I agree. Agassi was picked as a favorite in each of his RG finals.

His Wimledon prepartion in 92 consisted of hitting on a green hardcourt before going to England. He said in an interview that "he been hitting on the green stuff" and then winked at NB.

Agassi's excuse for skipping Wimbledon was always delivered by Nick "he needs to get stronger".

hoodjem
06-09-2009, 11:32 AM
So, have we established the term and concept of a career slam was invented for Agassi, circa 1999-2000?

What was the motive behind its invention? Was it invented to spark interest in watching him play, or to give him an honor that his main rival (Sampras) had not achieved? Or some other reason?

urban
06-09-2009, 11:58 AM
I think, the press lowered the bar a bit, in dealing with the real Grand Slam, of course all 4 in a single season. When Becker came on the scene, they said, he could win the real Grand Slam. He didn't. The same with Sampras. Around the early 90s the talk was about the real Grand Slam, not a career foursome or the number of majors. Who knew Emerson at the time? Not Sampras, but resurgent Agassi did his foursome, he waited long enough for his openings and had a bit luck, not to face Sampras at Wim and Kuerten at RG. Not his fault, he used the windows of opportunity.

The real Grand Slam is the real deal. As Chris Clarey wrote: the Everest without oxygen. Its now or never, do or die. Not waiting for another year, until someone is taken out. This mano a mano aspect is essential for tennis. Tennis is not golf. It is substantially a duel on distance, as the German poet Kaestner wrote. Nadal won Wimbledon by beating the champion. But what got him in 2009, was the thought of the possibility of the real Grand Slam.

bluetrain4
06-09-2009, 12:04 PM
Good discussion. I agree with many of the points that in some senses (not all), the "Career Slam" is overrated. But, I don't want to take anything away from Agassi (or any other career Slam winner). He did go out and achieve victory at each of the Slams, and that, in itself, is laudable, and a helluva achievement given that there really was a bigger gap in surfaces when he did it.

But, I don't agree when people reflexively dismiss someone from earlier eras who did not accomplish a career Slam. As others have stated, it only became a big deal rather recently.

Also, I think it is shortsighted for people to automatically put a career Slam winner ahead of another player in "greatness" discussions (as subjective as those may be) just because one player achieved the Career Slam.

For example, if someone asked "who is greater, Lendl or Agassi?", there would be a fair share of posters who would, without any discussion, say "Agassi" because of the Career Slam. I'm not saying, by any means, that the Career Slam shouldn't be used as a point of argument, I just don't think that it automatically sets someone apart. It should be part of a more nuanced discussion, and in the end, it very well may be factor that puts one player over the other.

For example, now that Fed has tied Sampras with 14, many want to automatically put Fed above Pete because of his career Slam. But, it could have been argued that even before this win, Fed's overall clay court consistency (multiple Masters shields, deep runs in Masters, 3 FO runner ups and another SF), could be a point to set him apart from Sampras, regardless of his recent FO win.

I'm not one to bang my head too much in "greatness" discussions. Every player in the pool of candidates, whether for GOAT, or simply in a one on one comparison as to who is greater (e.g., Agassi-Lendl, Becker-McEnroe) have their supporters and detractors. I just try to enjoy the debates.

krosero
06-09-2009, 12:08 PM
So, have we established the term and concept of a career slam was invented for Agassi, circa 1999-2000?The term, maybe. I don't remember hearing it before that time. The concept, though, is old.

I don't know where I first found the concept but it's one of my first memories from when I discovered tennis in 1985. One of the first things I learned was the Grand Slam: a sweep of the four majors in one year. Almost the next question I had -- or the next thing I read, can't remember which -- was whether anyone had won all four majors without winning a Grand Slam. Perry and Emerson.

So I started my first notes on the sport, with the Grand Slammers listed at the top (Budge, Laver, Connolly, Court). Right beneath them -- and they're still there -- I listed all the people who had won all four majors. I didn't call it the "Career Slam"; I just referred to it as "Winners of all four tournaments."

Personally I don't mind now that there's a term for it. I'm also not sure why it gets confused so often with the Grand Slam. The two concepts are related but very different, and clearly so.

The term may have come about for Agassi, I don't know. But it may have been borrowed from golf. Just now I typed "career Slam" into Google and got this:

INKSTER TIED FOR LEAD IN HER QUEST FOR CAREER SLAM
Pay-Per-View - Chicago Tribune - ProQuest Archiver - Jun 27, 1999
Author:. Juli Inkster's 16-year pursuit of the career Grand Slam has come down to an 18-hole sprint in the LPGA Championship. ...

And for Agassi:

Shoots For A Career Grand Slam .
Daily Courier - Google News Archive - May 28, 1995
The Associated Press .PARIS Andre Agassi has it all.— He's got millions of dollars in the bank, a fleet of cars, his own airplane, a glamorous girlfriend ...

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=rCQPAAAAIBAJ&sjid=BIUDAAAAIBAJ&pg=3501,3511799&dq=career-grand-slam

That one talks about both Agassi and Sampras shooting for a "career Grand Slam" at Roland Garros.

hoodjem
06-09-2009, 12:41 PM
Most interesting. Thanks Krosero.

So the term seems to go back to 1999-200, but the concept at least to 1995. Is there a similar concept in golf?

I do not dispute that the Grand Slam has been around and considered extremely significant since 1933 or so. (I can vaguely recall its mention in the middle 1960s when I started playing.)

I do dispute the notion that a career slam is comparable, and even almost as good. I do this for at least two reasons:
1) has to do with pedigree and tradition: the true Grand Slam has the historical approbriation of being the Everest of the game for approximately 75 years
2) has to do with logic and degree of difficulty: with a career slam one may have 40-60 chances to win each of the four tournaments in a 10-15 year career; with a true Grand Slam one has the single chance to win all four out of exactly four chances. (A single match failure or stumble and one must start all over again the following year.)

It is for this second reason that a career slam has been achieved more often, and rightly should be regarded lower.

Moose Malloy
06-09-2009, 01:31 PM
What did the media say during Lendl's matches at Wimbledon from '89 on?

Or during Edberg & Becker's matches at the French from '91 on?

Wouldn't be surprised if someone(maybe even Lendl himself, since he was known to refer to majors as 'grand slams' during his time) used the term 'career grand slam' during that time, its a lot easier to say than constantly saying "Edberg/Becker/Lendl is trying to win the only major they haven't won" Regardless, those players trying to complete this task was not under the radar at all, the media talked about it constantly.

And going back to the calendar Grand Slam being the only true Grand Slam - the definition got a little hazy in the mid 80s. Remember the ITF 'officially' called Martina winning 4 straight majors(from '83 W ending with the '84 FO) as being a Grand Slam. And they gave her a bonus for doing so. You can find tennis magazines, record books of the time that list her with Court, Laver, Budge, etc as being a 'Grand Slam winner.'

So let's not pretend it was always clear what the definition was(& I feel a little sorry that all the attention that Martina received in '84 for this is now forgotten)

I have a Wilander match from 1985 Wimbledon in which Dan Maskell says Wilander 'has won the first 2 legs of the Grand Slam.' the Australian Open title that Wilander was currently holding had was from Dec '84 so, this shows even a veteran like Maskell embraced this new concept, that 4 straight was the same as 4 in a calendar year.

Of course once Graf did it all in a calendar year, they went back to the old definition.

hoodjem
06-09-2009, 01:43 PM
Grand Slam.
Career slam?
Four-in-a-Row Slam?
Serena slam?

What is a Serena slam? (Everyone wants in on the act.)

BTURNER
06-09-2009, 01:52 PM
What annoys the hell out of me, is the bizarre notion that 4 slams in a row that correlate with our calender year, is more impressive than Martina's six in a row between two calender years. Completely irrationally arbitrary. I could care less whether the streak started in January or June.

thalivest
06-09-2009, 02:03 PM
Grand Slam.
Career slam?
Four-in-a-Row Slam?
Serena slam?

What is a Serena slam? (Everyone wants in on the act.)

While the career slam was something invented to boost Agassi's marketability and hype, the Serena slam was something she invented herself to boost her own inflated ego as a mere casual "non calender slam" (something she still would have been 1 of only 5 women in history to achieve) wasnt enough for her. :)

Cesc Fabregas
06-09-2009, 02:04 PM
Depends for example Andre has the career slam and Pete doesn't but only an idiot would claim Andre had a better career than Pete.

thalivest
06-09-2009, 02:06 PM
Depends for example Andre has the career slam and Pete doesn't but only an idiot would claim Andre had a better career than Pete.

True but there is 6 slams difference between them (amongst many other things). If Agassi had even say 12 slams but the career slam to Sampras's 14 and 0 French Open finals, then it might be more of a difference.

CEvertFan
06-09-2009, 02:46 PM
Depends for example Andre has the career slam and Pete doesn't but only an idiot would claim Andre had a better career than Pete.

No it doesn't mean that Agassi is better, but he is more versatile. It's almost as rare on the women's side as on the men's side so only the truly most versatile players, especially now, have any hope of winning a Career Slam and for this generation it's Federer.


I don't think it's overhyped at all because it is a rare thing for any player to achieve. No, the Career Slam is not the traditional Calander Grand Slam, which is widely considered to be the greatest achievement in tennis, but it's just a notch below that, precisely because it is almost as rare as the Calendar Grand Slam is, especially among the men.

clymb420
06-09-2009, 02:55 PM
Good discussion. I agree with many of the points that in some senses (not all), the "Career Slam" is overrated. But, I don't want to take anything away from Agassi (or any other career Slam winner). He did go out and achieve victory at each of the Slams, and that, in itself, is laudable, and a helluva achievement given that there really was a bigger gap in surfaces when he did it.

Who wouldn't agree that a calendar slam is much more significant than a career slam. This question comes up here and about Federer only to now switch the discussion of GOAT from # of majors won to which type of slam is better.

To win all 4 no matter the era or time frame...and just the fact that there are only now six men in history (a history that chronologically parallels most other professional sports, like say...baseball) to accomplish either feat is IMO, still a great achievement. Of course "grand slam" is cooler than "career slam" but when put it into the context of an entire career, they are both pretty cool. Laver is obviously cooler than Budge 'cause he did it twice (and I feel like if Fed was playing in the early sixties neither Laver nor Emerson would have their "calendar slams").

Any category of great achievement in any other sport where the club includes only six athletes, is an impressive club. Only 11 guys have batted over .342 for their career and this would be considered a phenomenal club in which to be included. This .342 club spans approximately the same period of time where talking about in tennis and it is almost twice the size of the "career slam" club...which you'd have to agree is not as exclusive as a club of only six.

If we narrowed the batting average club down to it's six top members we'd be leaving out guys like Williams, Gehrig and Ruth...that's a pretty exclusive club. Now, if you said, who hit over .342 for their career AND also won Triple Crowns, then the group gets more exclusive and prestigious, just like its does from Career Slam to Grand Slam(6 member down to 2)...but to be in the group of six career slam guys is still a really cool thing...just like it is still pretty stinking cool to have batted over .342 for your career.

Comparing eras is a silly prospect no matter what the sport. It's like putting a 350 lb current-day defensive lineman against a 225 lb offensive lineman from the '50s (or even the '70s). The tennis athlete and equipment has evolved to the point that #50 in the world right now would put a regular thumping on Tilden, Perry, Budge, Kramer, Gonzalez, or Rosewall. But, I think Federer is the only guy you could put a wood racket in his hand and his game would immediately translate to the long era of guys from Tilden to McEnroe. Rafa would have to totally relearn how to swing with a Chemold Elite in his hand...it would be miss-hit city.

Anyways, I'm getting off subject, but...what other variable are you gonna use to compare the "most complete players" from different eras other than how they competed on, and won championships on all surfaces.

Let say we're gonna try to figure out GOAT. One way is to start with the club for only guys who've won 10 or more majors. That club only consists of 6 guys: Tilden, Laver, Bjorg, Emerson, Sampras and Federer. Now how are you gonna narrow that down but to add the filter of greatest number of surfaces on which slams were won...now we are down to Laver, Emerson, and Federer... the only to have won more than 10 and on all surfaces. Now you have to decide what is more important...total number of slams won relative to if a "calendar slam" is better than a "career slam" (taking into account here my opinion that those guys wouldn't have their grand slams if Fed played with them. Sampras is NOT EVEN in this debate when structured this way. OR you could go by total number of slams won as your first variable (which is how it seems to be done lately)...two guys at 14...now how else are you gonna narrow it down but to add the filter of number of surfaces won on...now we are down to Fed.

IMO it comes down between Federer, Laver and Emerson because of all the variables and filters I spoke about above (and I haven't even applied his 20 straight major semi-finals). Either way you boil it down, Federer is the only guy in BOTH conversations and for that reason I'd fill him in as the GOAT...with pencil. When he get's his 15th slam I'll feel confident enough to write him in with pen.

Steve132
06-09-2009, 04:09 PM
The obvious reason why the career Slam matters is that it indicates versatility. Each of the four majors poses its unique challenges and requires a slightly different set of skills from the others. A player who wins all four majors has confirmed that he can win big tournaments on all surfaces.

The career Slam has established its status only since the late 80's, by which time the U.S. Open was a hard court tournament and the Australian Open was re-established as a legitimate major. It does not outweigh everything else in evaluating players (Agassi has one and Sampras doesn't, but most analysts consider Sampras the greater player) but it certainly matters.

krosero
06-09-2009, 04:50 PM
Most interesting. Thanks Krosero.

So the term seems to go back to 1999That article is from '95.

And the term may have been used earlier. In Jan. 94, Sampras got into a position to complete a career Slam, and Agassi joined him the following January. So with their hot rivalry in early '95, no wonder people talked about both of them trying for a career Slam at 95RG.

But others had been in that position a few years earlier. Becker got there in January '91, and Edberg in September of that year.

Wilander got there in September '88, Lendl in January '89.

krosero
06-09-2009, 04:56 PM
(& I feel a little sorry that all the attention that Martina received in '84 for this is now forgotten)I do, too. Four consecutive Slam victories is a noteworthy accomplishment whether or not it falls within a calendar year. Let's debate whether it's equal to a calendar Grand Slam, okay -- but even if we decide it's not equal, does that mean it should be forgotten as nothing?

BDAZ
06-09-2009, 05:27 PM
it does seem like the term came about when agassi won the french in 1999. maybe it had been used before and maybe i only heard of it as he was the only one in my cognitive lifetime to do so. i think it also mostly came about with agassi to mean "career grand slam...on different surfaces", in that in the past, at one time or another, three of the four were played on either grass or clay (or two grass and two clay?) not that agassi is more revered than anyone else on that list (federer notwithstanding), but if i'm not mistaken, he was the first to do it on three different surfaces (four if you take into account the difference in the hard courts at the aussie and u.s. opens).

krosero
06-09-2009, 05:58 PM
Back in '87 the term "career Grand Slam" was used for Lendl, and this was when he had only won the FO and USO:

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=rnwQAAAAIBAJ&sjid=cpIDAAAAIBAJ&pg=1853,339446&dq=career-grand-slam+lendl

The fact that two of the four Grand Slam events have been contested on grass, a surface for which he has no natural feel, has effectively curtailed his Grand Slam aspirations.

He has two US Opens and, after his Roland Garros victory two weeks ago, three French Opens to his credit, but it is the gaps in his record that catch the eye. No Wimbledon and no Australian Open.

Now the Australian title has changed to an artificial surface his chances of adding one more leg to a career Grand Slam have increased....


TIME magazine used the term in 1990 for Lendl again:

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,970523-3,00.html

Navratilova's once and future countryman Lendl is similarly closing in on Jimmy Connors' record for most tournaments won. He already holds records for prize money won in a season, $2,334,367, and in a career, $16,282,293. But the only goal he speaks of with affection is to win Wimbledon for the first time. To achieve that, he has invested ten weeks in unpaid practice on grass courts on three continents. He wants to become the fifth man ever, and the first in more than two decades, to complete a career Grand Slam. (Wimbledon and the Australian, French and U.S. Opens acquired this collective honorific when Don Budge won them all in 1938; they were the national championships of the only countries that had yet won the annual Davis Cup for team play.)

I'm not sure what the problem with the term is. Golf uses both terms, the Grand Slam and the career Grand Slam. So why not tennis?

cork_screw
06-09-2009, 06:19 PM
I agree. It is overrated and i'm surprised there's not more people have done it. Anyone who can win the french seems capable of winning wimbledon, even though not many have. I think as the more "modern" players play on you'll see more frequency of career grandslams being won. I honestly thought gugga had a very good chance, he's a multi-surface dude and had great versatility. Nadal will be the next. US Open is a very much within his sights. And that's the only one left. The thing that I don't really agree with that most people keep bringing up is that they use the same names of Budge, Laver, perry, emerson. Those guys won their grandslams when the aussie open, us open were all on grass surfaces. So those guys all won their slams on just two surfaces. Which makes fed's accomplishment, as well as andre's that much more special. They won on hard courts (two to be exact, rebound ace at aussie open - very slow hard court surface; and deco turf at US Open - very fast surface). So when people say that their accomplishments were huge; I would beg to differ, they were different. They won on two surfaces at 4 different events, different than playing on 3 surfaces in which more smaller masters tournaments were created thus making it a longer year. There were no master series events at that time, so they didn't have to play the same grueling lengthy season as players do now, and that's probably why there's a bit of a slow down on the amount of players who are winning career grandslams as opposed to "back then."

But I do appreciate their accomplishments, but people never bring up that it was quite different back then. A lot of people here probably don't even know that aussie and us open were played on grass ;) Before your time

Not that meaingful. It is overrated IMO. The 4 slams have only been fully valued by players as they are today since the mid 1980s. Nadal has a good shot to become the 3rd man since then to do the career slam. Lendl, Sampras, Becker, Edberg, would have all managed 3 out of 4. It isnt nearly as big a deal as made out to be or as the Calender Slam or even non Calender Slam IMO.

It was hyped up because of Agassi who was always hyped up by the American media. Comparing Sampras to Federer I think now that they are tied Federer has the edge as his record is far more balanced. A FO title with many other finals, better record in Australia already. However I dont buy into the mystique of the carer Slam as some do.

ClarkC
06-09-2009, 07:50 PM
As lambielspins said, the term was invented to promote Agassi's feat in 1999.

Perhaps the term was invented recently, but not the concept. Whenever a player had one slam that he had never won, a lot of attention was paid to his effort to complete his list by winning that one. This was true even when the surface was not the issue, e.g. Ken Rosewall had won on clay at Roland Garros and on grass at the U.S. Open and the Australian Open, so his quest to win Wimbledon was not quite the same as Lendl's.

Frankly, it is absurd to think that people long ago would not notice that a great player had won all majors except one and was now trying to win that one. Roy Emerson got quite a bit of acclaim for competing the career slam (before it was called that) because it proved that he was not just another Australian grass court player.

The fact that only six players have completed the career slam, when MANY great players played all four tournaments more than once, means that it is a special accomplishment. It is like all those crazy statistics they keep in baseball. How significant is it to have a certain number of RBIs, a certain number of stolen bases, and a certain batting average, all in the same season? Well, tell me how many people did it. If 200 guys did it, it is less significant than if only 3 have ever done it.

theagassiman
06-09-2009, 07:56 PM
Depends for example Andre has the career slam and Pete doesn't but only an idiot would claim Andre had a better career than Pete.

An idiot?
No, you could argue that Andre had a better career than Pete.

He enjoyed himself more, I think he enjoyed the game more at the end of his career than Pete did.

It all depends how you compare their careers. Result-wise? Or who was the lest burned out in the end?

Yes, Pete emerged the greater result-wise, but it took a huge toll on him physically and mentally; whereas Andre survived for 4 more years, had a much less draining career, and doesn't have the slouch of a 50-year old.

urban
06-09-2009, 08:21 PM
Prior to the mid and late 90s, the missing link thing centred around Wimbledon. There were often labels like the best, who never won Wimbledon, and so on. Von Cramm, Rosewall, Gonzales or later Lendl got that label, for different reasons of course. Mac always regretted his Paris loss to Lendl, but he had a real chance in 1984 to go for the Big Slam, with the AO played at last in December. I am no golf expert, but doesn't have Gary Player (alongside Nicklaus and Woods) won all four majors in his career. But not many seem to care about it.

grafrules
06-10-2009, 12:10 PM
In 50 years people will probably have a better idea how much value it really has then now. The 4 slams have not been regarded as of full value to the players long enough to really tell. 25 years or so, even in another 25 we will really have a better idea.

hoodjem
06-10-2009, 01:01 PM
So, it seems we can trace the term back to 1987 (so far), when Lendl was seeking a career slam by winning Wimbledon.

35ft6
06-10-2009, 01:06 PM
Well, if you think winning a Slam is a big deal, than I guess winning all the Slams is a bigger deal. Or maybe you don't think winning a Slam is a big deal, but the players on the tour seem to be under the impression it's a big deal.

Mac still says his life would have been different if he'd won the French. I bet Lendl feels the same about Wimbledon. And if Borg had won the US Open?

Winning all four means, these days, I suppose, you can play at the very highest level on all the surfaces. Except for indoor carpet.

Benhur
06-15-2009, 08:22 AM
What annoys the hell out of me, is the bizarre notion that 4 slams in a row that correlate with our calender year, is more impressive than Martina's six in a row between two calender years. Completely irrationally arbitrary. I could care less whether the streak started in January or June.

I agree with you. I remember feeling exactly the same way when Martina’s 6 in a row was vehemently dismissed by many scrupulous souls as not having anywhere near the merit of the calendar deal. Bud Collins was among them. “A remarkable achievement,” he said solemnly in his pyjama suit, but in no way a GS. How 4 in a row can be better than 6 due to the arbitrary end points of the Julian-Georgian Calendar is just one of those things. Had Caesar chosen to start the year in June, for example, one of the unforeseen effects is that it would have improved Navratilova's tennis 2000 years later.

Another thing that perplexes me in these discussions is the remarkably malleable nature of the AO and RG, especially the former, when measuring their significance. Their significance is fully intact if applied to Laver in 62 and 69, but otherwise they can be easily relegated to various degrees of unimportance, depending on the needs of the moment, especially the AO, which many posters here don’t accept as a real major until the early-mid 80s when they changed the surface. Yet the term Grand Slam was apparently coined in the 30s, and there is no doubt as to which four tournaments it included. When it comes to Wimbledon and the USO, you can go there safely any time and be certain to get excellent wine regardless of the year, so the pundits say. With the Australian and the French, you need expert guidance to determine the vintage years.

urban
06-15-2009, 10:18 AM
If four in a row and a Grand Slam would be the same, you have to rewrite tennis history. If you have no calendar concept, you can start a GS bid at every major, you play. You have suddenly 40 options to win it, not 10 (in a normal career).
Then Budge would have won not one, but indeed 3 different 'GS' in two years. Martina owns 3, Steffi owns 3 and so on. Poor old Tony Trabert, that no one told him. He skipped the Australian in 1956, to turn pro, instead of going for the 'GS'.

DMan
06-15-2009, 10:23 PM
I don't think it's overhyped at all because it is a rare thing for any player to achieve. No, the Career Slam is not the traditional Calander Grand Slam, which is widely considered to be the greatest achievement in tennis, but it's just a notch below that, precisely because it is almost as rare as the Calendar Grand Slam is, especially among the men.

Ditto.

FWIW: Grand Slam = winning all 4 majors in one season. Not 4 consecutive, but 4 majors in one calendar year.

Benhur
06-17-2009, 06:52 AM
If four in a row and a Grand Slam would be the same, you have to rewrite tennis history. If you have no calendar concept, you can start a GS bid at every major, you play. You have suddenly 40 options to win it, not 10 (in a normal career).
Then Budge would have won not one, but indeed 3 different 'GS' in two years. Martina owns 3, Steffi owns 3 and so on. Poor old Tony Trabert, that no one told him. He skipped the Australian in 1956, to turn pro, instead of going for the 'GS'.

There is no need to rewrite tennis history at all, as long as GS means what it has always meant. But there is a need to evaluate whether a GS represents a superior achievement than any 4 in a row, and if so, why. I haven’t seen it shown that it does. This discussion has to do with a confusion between superior prestige based on arbitrarily chosen end points, and superior achievement based on the same. It is a serious confusion and it deserves to be addressed.

The year is neither shorter nor longer from June to June than from January to January. Winning the same 4 tournaments over a 12 month period represents equal achievement. And winning 6 of them in a row definitely represents superior achievement than winning 4 in a row. Now, it is true that you have 4 times more chances to get 4 in a row over your career if you are not limited to any specific endpoint constraint. But this should not be confused with it being 4 times easier. It isn’t. Unless you can demonstrate that winning them in that one particular order is inherently more diffficult than in any other order. I maintain that level of difficulty of each 4 in a row, taken by itself, is exactly the same regardless of the end points.

This is important to keep in mind in any measuring system where a GS is given additional mileage all by itself. So if player A has won 4 in a row once, and player B has won 4 in a row three times, and player C has won 6 in a row once, I find it very reasonable to disagree with those who claim that the achievement of player A is superior to the achievement of B and C, just because his streak coincided with the end points of one particular calendar currently in use in the planet. Those who live under other calendars may disagree even more vehemently.

More prestige? Sure. Whatever. I'll give you the prestige. But in what units is this prestige to measured?

urban
06-17-2009, 07:16 AM
I think its quite easy to separate the two achievements. There is of course an artithmetical difference, in the fixture or constant shifting of starting points, which gives a player many more (4 times= 40 instead of 10) options to win it. The other substantial thing is the now or never situation. Phelps won all his 9 gold medals at one Olympic Game, bettering the record of Spitz with 7. Eric Heiden won all 5 ice skating events in 1980. I think its more difficult, than to win the last 3 at one Olympics and the next 2 at the next Olympics. In Rugby there is a concept of a Grand Slam, when a team wins all matches in ONE season, the triple crown in horse racing is a similar concept. In golf only Bobby Jones managed a Grand Slam in a season, under professional conditions Tiger Woods hasn't done it yet.
Of course the GS concept is arbitrary, as are all human institutions. But it is in its simplicity a fine concept. As in those other sports it has the basis idea of a perfect season. Say in football or ball games: To win all matches in one league season has much more charm than to win the same amount of matches over two season. Many players have gone after the real Grand Slam in tennis, but very, very few set their distinct goal to win all four over two years. If someone had told Borg of the distinct record of four in row, he certainly would have played the AO, to have his chances intact. As it was, he didn't play the AO 1978-1980, because he already had lost his chances for a real GS at the USO. He and most other great players thought in terms of the calendar concept.

Benhur
06-17-2009, 09:47 AM
I think its quite easy to separate the two achievements. There is of course an artithmetical difference, in the fixture or constant shifting of starting points, which gives a player many more (4 times= 40 instead of 10) options to win it. The other substantial thing is the now or never situation. Phelps won all his 9 gold medals at one Olympic Game, bettering the record of Spitz with 7. Eric Heiden won all 5 ice skating events in 1980. I think its more difficult, than to win the last 3 at one Olympics and the next 2 at the next Olympics. In Rugby there is a concept of a Grand Slam, when a team wins all matches in ONE season, the triple crown in horse racing is a similar concept. In golf only Bobby Jones managed a Grand Slam in a season, under professional conditions Tiger Woods hasn't done it yet.
Of course the GS concept is arbitrary, as are all human institutions. But it is in its simplicity a fine concept. As in those other sports it has the basis idea of a perfect season. Say in football or ball games: To win all matches in one league season has much more charm than to win the same amount of matches over two season. Many players have gone after the real Grand Slam in tennis, but very, very few set their distinct goal to win all four over two years. If someone had told Borg of the distinct record of four in row, he certainly would have played the AO, to have his chances intact. As it was, he didn't play the AO 1978-1980, because he already had lost his chances for a real GS at the USO. He and most other great players thought in terms of the calendar concept.


The comparisons with the playing season in other sports are stretched, since that season is concentrated over a certain part of the year. Or, in the case of the Olympics, a few weeks every 48 months. So that season clearly stands out as a distinct island of activity in a sea of inactivity. If the AO did not exist, or if it was played in the Spring or early Fall, the case would be much more clear cut for a "tennis season" at least for the majors. But as things stand, with the AO in January, or previously in December, it isn’t.

On second thought, I will grant you this. You could make a case that any 4 in a row that include the French, Wimbledon and the USO in the same year represents a higher level of difficulty (concentrated domination) than any 4 in a row where those three are not in the same year. This is so because then the tennis “season” is at least reduced to about 7 months if you start counting at the French, or to about 8 months if you start with the Australian, and also because 75% of the season is concentrated over a period of 4 months -- while if you choose any other end points, the season is stretched to nearly 12 months. But notice that if the level of temporal concentration of the season is the paramount consideration, then a “season” that starts with the French and ends with the Australian is slightly more concentrated than a season that starts with the Australian and ends with the USO.

So I am forced to revise my previous assessment and say that 4 in a row, starting either at the French or at the Australian, represent (today) a slightly higher achievement than 4 in a row starting anywhere else, and that in fact starting to count at the French represents the best achievement by just a tiny fraction because the season is slightly more concentrated. If you look at the times when the AO was played in December, then the concentration of a season starting at the French is even higher (a 6 month season). Happily, that season coincides with the calendar GS, so if Laver in 62 and 69 won the AO in December (I don't know if he did) my revised assessment nods at the superiority of his achievement over any other 4 in a row at that time.

However, 6 in a row still sounds to me better than 4 regardless of the circumstances.

obanaghan
06-18-2009, 11:46 AM
It is very meaningful. It means that Andre Agassi won each tournament during the same era as Sampras, something that even Sampras can't claim in Paris.

Tennis is played on a variety of surfaces and they are highlighted at the 4 majors. Not being able to win one should bother you when another player DID.

If no one ever won them all in a career that would be a different matter. In women's tennis both Evert and King commented on winning the 4th event: Melbourne for Evert and Paris for King. Martina was gunning to win the US Open and would still be playing if she had not won in 1983, 84, 86 and 87.

Look at all the men who have a major that is missing from their trophy case:

No Aussie: McEnroe, Borg
No French: McEnroe, Connors, Sampras, Enberg, Becker
No Wimbledon: Lendl, Wilander
No US Open: Borg, Nadal

I never liked Agassi. I thought it was ridiculous that he was a fan favorite and in 1988 would sign only a single autograph at a warmup tournament after destroying his opponent in 40 minutes. That has no baring though on his results. He won them all and deserves more praise than he gets.

Federer deserves the praise and we shall see what becomes of his records in years to come.

NadalandFedererfan
06-24-2009, 04:43 PM
I think it is a meaningful achievement but still exagerrated by some.

jamesblakefan#1
06-24-2009, 04:51 PM
It is very meaningful. It means that Andre Agassi won each tournament during the same era as Sampras, something that even Sampras can't claim in Paris.

Tennis is played on a variety of surfaces and they are highlighted at the 4 majors. Not being able to win one should bother you when another player DID.

If no one ever won them all in a career that would be a different matter. In women's tennis both Evert and King commented on winning the 4th event: Melbourne for Evert and Paris for King. Martina was gunning to win the US Open and would still be playing if she had not won in 1983, 84, 86 and 87.

Look at all the men who have a major that is missing from their trophy case:

No Aussie: McEnroe, Borg
No French: McEnroe, Connors, Sampras, Enberg, Becker
No Wimbledon: Lendl, Wilander
No US Open: Borg, Nadal

I never liked Agassi. I thought it was ridiculous that he was a fan favorite and in 1988 would sign only a single autograph at a warmup tournament after destroying his opponent in 40 minutes. That has no baring though on his results. He won them all and deserves more praise than he gets.

Federer deserves the praise and we shall see what becomes of his records in years to come.

Isn't Ashe also on the no French list? That's always intrigued me, how he only won 3 slams in his career, and yet was still a French short of the career slam. I guess that puts the career slam thing into perspective, seeing how no one mentions Ashe amongst the greats of all time, and he was only a French short of the Career Slam.

NadalandFedererfan
06-24-2009, 04:57 PM
Isn't Ashe also on the no French list? That's always intrigued me, how he only won 3 slams in his career, and yet was still a French short of the career slam. I guess that puts the career slam thing into perspective, seeing how no one mentions Ashe amongst the greats of all time, and he was only a French short of the Career Slam.

He was also never remotedly close to winning the French.

It is probably surprising to realize one of the only women to complete the career slam is Shirley Fry- a player with only 4 slam titles. She won each once to complete the career slam. She is really only the 6th greatest player of her own generation behind Connolly, Du Pont, Brough, Hart, and probably even Gibson, and yet she is one of only 9 to complete this historic feat.

Doris Hart, who only has 6 slams and perhaps only the 4th greatest player of her own generation behind Connolly, Du Pont, and Brough is another who achieved the career slam.

So maybe some womens examples put into even better perspective it is maybe an overrated feat in determining greatness. Although it is easier for women to do it than men traditionally.

thalivest
06-25-2009, 04:43 PM
An idiot?
No, you could argue that Andre had a better career than Pete.

He enjoyed himself more, I think he enjoyed the game more at the end of his career than Pete did.

It all depends how you compare their careers. Result-wise? Or who was the lest burned out in the end?

Yes, Pete emerged the greater result-wise, but it took a huge toll on him physically and mentally; whereas Andre survived for 4 more years, had a much less draining career, and doesn't have the slouch of a 50-year old.

So what defines a better career is who enjoyed himself more!?!? In that case Evonne Goolagong must have had the best female career. Anyway do you really think Agassi was enjoying his career some of those years he was out of shape and losing early rounds right and lose to journeymen. I would say the only part of his career he truly enjoyed was the last 6 or 7 years before his back became too painful to even walk. Even in 1995 he seemed very stressful about it.

Guru
06-25-2009, 04:50 PM
Serena held all four Slam's at the sametime but she didn't win them in the same year.

I don't think it matters a great deal. people made a big deal about Federer winning the French
but his legacy was already solid in my opinion and that didn't make a huge difference.

Henin never won Wimbledon but i think her legacy is also solid
it's a matter of opinion of course but in my opinion career slams are overrated.

grafrules
06-25-2009, 05:50 PM
Serena held all four Slam's at the sametime but she didn't win them in the same year.

I don't think it matters a great deal. people made a big deal about Federer winning the French
but his legacy was already solid in my opinion and that didn't make a huge difference.

Henin never won Wimbledon but i think her legacy is also solid
it's a matter of opinion of course but in my opinion career slams are overrated.

Henin's legacy and career would still be seen in an even greater light if she had won Wimbledon.
In womens tennis great players are fully expected to complete the career slam, unlike the mens where it seems more remarkable to pull off.