How difficult is the True Grand Slam?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by hoodjem, Sep 6, 2013.

  1. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    The Bryan Brothers were on a roll. It certainly looked like they were the odds-on favorites to win the US Open Men's Doubles title and thus complete the true (CY) Grand Slam. Personally, I thought they were a shoe-in.

    But alas they came up short, losing to Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek yesterday, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. And so the record of Ken McGregor and Frank Sedgman from 1951 stands.

    Even with the homogenization of slam surfaces: slowing down of Wimbledon grass and the current USO courts being referred to as "fast clay," it still appears that the (CY) Grand Slam is terrifically difficult to accomplish. The odds against it are so high--one slip up, one less than stellar match, and it's over. (Perhaps ironically, with this same homogenization of surfaces, it does appear that the Career Grand Slam has gotten easier--having been accomplished by three players between 1992 and 2010.)

    It therefore remains the "Everest of tennis"--the ultimate achievement.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2013
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  2. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    It is indeed the ultimate achievement, lots of skill and also luck needed.
     
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  3. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, absolutely--not just skill, but good luck also.

    And good health, and perseverance.
     
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  4. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    It remains an incredibly difficult feat to accomplish, of course. Any feat which has stood unmatched (in men's singles) for 44 years must be regarded as one of the greatest of all tennis records.

    The chance of even the greatest players accomplishing such a feat depends on how versatile/multi-skilled the player is, i.e. for Sampras, the chance was effectively 0%, despite him breaking all other Open Era records, as he was not strong enough on clay.

    So, first of all you have to be a "once every 25 years" type player i.e. Borg, Federer, who is a great champion able to win on all surfaces. Then you still have to be in great form constantly throughout a year, and not face another great playing at their very peak/who is extremely strong on a particular surface.

    I don't know what the odds of it happening are but it would be 0% for the vast, vast majority of players, and maybe 5% in the very best years for the Borg/Federer types.
     
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  5. robow7

    robow7 Professional

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    It's even tougher in doubs now a days, since they play best of 3 and a doubles match often hinges on a single point or two because it is more difficult to break. All this allows for upsets more frequently.
     
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  6. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    But if you are a type " once every 100 years" then, that may happen
    Ask Laver
     
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  7. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    Laver did not have to face Nadal in the FO final. If he had, chances are he would not have won the CYGS in 1969.
     
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  8. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Nadal with wood and strings like those? hahahah

    If Nadal had played Laver on true grass, he may have won a set in 10 matches
     
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  9. mattennis

    mattennis Hall of Fame

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    Even now with the homogenization of conditions and playing styles, it is an extremely difficult thing to do.

    During the RG SF fifth set (when Djokovic was leading a break up in the fifth) I thought: "if Nole defeats Nadal here and wins RG, he may do it (win the CYGS)".

    Still I think Djokovic may be the only one with a tiny chance of doing it in one of the next few years (because he always reaches at least SF of GS, and if he wins AO+RG one of these years, he may put it all to make it a reality).
     
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  10. josofo

    josofo Semi-Pro

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    certainly a lot tougher now than when lave won both his grandslams (1 vs amatuers and the 2nd when the austrailian wasnt really a major like it is today, only the 2nd year of open tennis, no nastase, no smith, no ashe.
     
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  11. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    There were also only 2 surfaces when Laver did it. Imagine the USO had also been on grass in the late 70s/early 80s - maybe Borg would've won the CYGS as well?
     
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  12. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    there were 4 different surfaces: two high bouncing and two low bouncing.

    carpet was altogether another thing and there was hard also...even wood¡¡¡
     
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  13. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    I really though Fed was going to do in his prime years...but god damn Capy Rafa (appropriate that it's a mud loving rat) had to be in the way, and on top of that a perfect nightmare foil. That's some great screenplay right there, tennis gods must have had a good laugh.

    wow. now the capy bara word is banned? seriously?
     
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  14. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    but imagine Laver vs Nadal on clay though. You either have to outlast him (sheesh) or have a day like Soderling did in 08 and basically paint the lines with 100mph forehands just to have a chance. I really, really, really hate how perfect he is built for that surface.
     
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  15. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Yes he is tailor made for that.

    But, again, the same thing could be said for Borg.

    The wood rackets and strings were very different.
     
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  16. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    Do you think if Laver played today (obvs would adapt) but played vs Nadal on clay he would be bothered by the high topspin, high bounce (basically shoulder height) balls to a one handed backhand? It's a nightmare shot to a single handed backhand.
     
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  17. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Laver had a great jump.But of course, it´d bother him albeit he was also a lefty.

    What is sure is that Nadal would see things in front of him he can´t even imagine, and of course, neither uncle Toni...:confused:
     
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  18. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    Yeah the fact he's a lefty I think would bode well for him, if he was right handed it'd be big time trouble. Really wished there was a lefty bad a$s nowadays with a one hander just to throw a curve ball at Nads..The man really has only that one strategy. That's one of the many reasons I despise him so much, it's a messed up advantage.
     
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  19. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    You would have enjoyed a live Laver match.Have you ever thought of how it could be?
     
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  20. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    I've seen some footage, but it'd be different if it was live. The fact that he is a lefty, one hander with an all court game is intriguing. Like I said, if it was possible to do a fantasy time machine match (and I only had one match to create) I want to see Fed vs Laver, the best classical player from the years way back, vs the best contemporary player. One lefty one righty. Flair, pure talent, spectacular shotmaking, I mean Just too good to be true. Greatest match ever, don't even care of the surface (they can play on all surfaces and would adapt to it)
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2013
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  21. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    The only best thing than Laver live those years may have been...Led Zepp live.

    Laver won the GS with four majors.Led Zepp did their GS with 1,2,3,4
     
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  22. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    IDK about that man, Sophia Loren looked pretty damn hot back in them days, she'd be high on the list of best things...lol

    some great movies from that era though
     
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  23. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Brigitte Bardot, Jane Fonda and Ornella Mutti
     
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  24. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    Yes that first one OMG
     
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  25. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Forget about Nastase and Smith in 1969!
     
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  26. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Forza, At least Laver would handle Nadal's shots to his forehand better than Federer was able withz his backhand. He used to answer top spin shots to his forehand with top spin forehand shots and shots to his backhand with backhand topspin shots...
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2013
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  27. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    well yeah of course. the reverse for him would have to be a righty doing what nads is doing.
     
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  28. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    None like Jackie Bisset ( remember Truffaut´s " La nuit americaine").Instant crush.I also got to know her later, for professional reasons, and she was still beautiful but, of course, age is very cruel with women that have been amongs the hottest ever.
     
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  29. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    How do you define "true" Grand Slam ?

    Today's standard is difference because all 4 slams have 128-draws and 3 different surfaces.
     
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  30. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Definition

    It is winning all 4 of the majors in one calendar year. It doesn't matter what surface or how big the draw is. That's it.

    Being the best hard court player in the world, Laver would have loved it if there were hard court slams in 1969. For him it was a more difficult proposition since there were so many grass court specialists. No matter, he still achieved it.
     
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  31. 90's Clay

    90's Clay Legend

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    Very difficult.. Considering it hasn't been done since '69 and probably will never be done again.

    Its a big reason why Laver is GOAT
     
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  32. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    Incredibly difficult, and also incredibly difficult to win the biggest tournament on 4 different surfaces in one season like Laver did in 1969; grass (Australian Open, Wimbledon, US Open), clay (Roland Garros), indoors/carpet (Philadelphia, Wembley) and hard (Wembley and Johannesburg).

    No player has been able to achieve that since then.
     
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  33. monfed

    monfed Guest

    Not difficult, just need luck.
     
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  34. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    True--up to a point. (The grass at Wimbledon was quite different from that at the USO and AO.)

    And remember that the USO was on clay (Borg's best surface) for three years (1975-77), and even then Borg could not win it. (He lost to Connors twice, and retired in the third set against Stockton in 1977.)
     
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  35. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Huh? In 1969 Nastase, Smith, and Ashe all competed in the FO, AELTA, USO; only not at AO.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2013
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  36. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    This shows why it is ridiculous to compare eras via hypothetical matchups. Everything was different. Of course, if we simply transport the older player to the future where, suddenly, they are playing with "modern" racquets, current court conditions, current training techniques, etc., and we simply assume they'd train and play the same as they did during their career, then it's easy to just boldly say something like "Rafa would kill Laver."

    But, if we're hypothesizing about matchups that can't ever actually take place, then why not transport Rafa back in time and have him play with past eras' strings and racquets and surfaces and training techniques and knowledge of fitness and diet and recovery, etc. (if he is going back in time, he only has access to what existed at the time). Equally ridiculous.

    All you can really assume is that what we know about a particular player's competitiveness and other mental skills, his work ethic, etc. might be the same no matter when they played, and even that is making a broad assumption.
     
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  37. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    True to a point, but don't forget that Laver was himself a lefty and could hit with huge topspin off both wings. So maybe to a righty he would do exactly what Nadal does to those righties (if playing to day).

    Add to that Laver's all-court game and abilities at the net (much better volleyer than Nadal).
     
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  38. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Oh yeah
    Laver won three TRUE SLAMS because of luck
    He was also very lucky at Philadelphia and Johannesburg in 1969
    I can' t think of any other sportsman so lucky
    How could a midget like him do what big guys in weak eras could not?
    Luck
     
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  39. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    Edit I meant Boston and Johannesburg for Laver's big hard court titles. The South African Open at Ellis Park was a huge event back then, definitely the biggest hard court event around, and he defended his title there in 1970. The US Pro in Boston was another big event, and in 1969 I believe Laver won that title on a slowish Laykold hard court. The other very big hard court event was the Los Angeles PSW Open, which he didn't win in 1969 (Pancho Gonzales did), but he won 1968 and 1970.

    And Philadelphia and Wembley indoors remained big events on the tennis calendar into the 70s and 80s.

    It's always funny that some people assume that grass was by far the dominant surface in tennis at the time, just by looking at the majors, when it actually wasn't (there were far more indoor events around back then than grass court events).
     
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  40. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    And too often people say Laver could not win on hard courts.
     
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