Players Close to The Calendar Grand Slam

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by noeledmonds, Jan 23, 2008.

  1. noeledmonds

    noeledmonds Professional

    Nov 20, 2006
    The Calendar Grand Slam is considered by many to be the pinnacle in tennis achivement. One obvious way to compare those near this achivement is to see how many match victories away from completing The Calendar Grand Slam different player are. Therefore I have complied this list of the number of wins requried to complete The Calendar Grand Slam (note that player's best performances only have been included and I have looked at open-era achivements only):

    Laver in 1969; 0 wins requried
    Federer in 2006 and 2007; 1 win required
    Lendl in 1987; 3 wins required
    Wilander in 1988; 3 wins required
    Agassi in 1999; 5 wins required
    Sampras in 1993; 5 wins required
    Vilas in 1977; 5* wins required
    Becker in 1989; 6 wins required
    Courier in 1992; 7 wins required
    Borg in 1978 and 1980; 7** wins required
    Connors in 1974; 7*** wins required
    McEnroe in 1984; 8**** wins required

    * Vilas's achivements is based upon the January Australian Open and not the one held in December of the same year
    ** Borg skipped the Australian Open (which had a 64 player draw at this time)
    ***Connors was banned from the French Open
    ****McEnroe skipped the Australian Open

    This list clearly reflects better on more recent players due to the nature of the Australian Open and the politics surrounding the French Open during some of the earlier years of the open-era.

    However it is intersting to note that both Lendl and Wilander are several matches clear of Sampras and Agassi. Lendl's consistancy is rarely given the credit it deserves while Wilander just had a one-off great year. It is suprising that Lendl's and Wilander's years were adjacent also (1987 and 1988 ).

    Vilas's high placing just shows what a strong year he had in 1977 despite failing to take the year end number one ranking. However with two Australian Opens held and Borg conspiculously absent from the French Open his position should be regarded slightly inflated.
  2. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

    Dec 27, 2005
  3. noeledmonds

    noeledmonds Professional

    Nov 20, 2006
    Interesting point. However I think you can only offer the "Small Slam" to one who wins three slams, even if the the forth is unavaliable. Likewise Connors can only be awarded the Small Slam in 1974 despite speculation that he might have complete a true Grand Slam had he been able to compete in the French Open.

    Personally I don't think we can give players the benefit of the doubt when it comes to awarding the calander Grand Slam. After all giving credit to someone who has won three slams (but not been able to compete in a forth) is giving them an advatage. Imagine if the French Open had been cancelled this year. It would seem unfair on Federer to be unable to complete the Grand Slam. However if he was to be awarded it then it would be unfair on other players who failed to complete the Grand Slam despite having a similar annual record.

    Ulimately it is an impossible problem to get around because either way (if you award the Grand Slam or you don't) someone will feel hard done by. Even if you do count the achivement as a Grand Slam it will still be regarded as a "lesser" Grand Slam by those who are aware of the circumstances surrounding it.
  4. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

    Apr 22, 2005
    I see it a bit different. I think, Borg came the closest in terms of Grand Slam after Laver, because when he lost at the USO, the Grand Slam was still really on. Federer lost only one match on two occasions, but at the second post, so the Grand Slam with all the psychological burden and media exposure, wasn't really alive. Crawford and Hoad came really close, with defeats in the very last match, Crawford after a 2-1 sets lead and after sipping a bit too much of his brandy.
  5. noeledmonds

    noeledmonds Professional

    Nov 20, 2006
    Interesting perspective and I see your logic here. However following this logic through would suggest that the people who were next closest to winning the Grand Slam were Wilander followed by Courier. These are the only other two open-era players apart from Borg (and of course Laver) to win the opening two grand slam titles of the season. However very few ever considered Wilander or Courier in the running for completing The Grand Slam. Would you conisder these players as the next closest candidates?

    I agree with what your are saying about the media pressure, which would undoutably be huge if a Calander Grand Slam was in prospect at the commencing of the US Open. However Federer has high levels of media pressure as it is, particularly as he reaches significant records such as matching Borg's 5 consecutive Wimbledon titles and becoming the first player since Tilden to win 4 consecutive US Open titles. Whether or not added media pressure makes a difference is something we can only really speculate on.

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