What Are The Four Tennis Grand Slams?
There are four grand slam tournaments that take place annually. These tournaments include the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open. The Summer Olympic Games are often considered a “fifth” Grand Slam tournament, but tennis players need only win the main four in a year to achieve a Grand Slam.
The Australian Open
The Australian Open occurs at the end of January each year, and is the first of the four yearly Grand Slam tournaments. This tournament is played in Melbourne, Australia, at Melbourne Park. The Australian Open dates back to 1905 (when it was called the Australasian Championship), and its current form was established in 1968. The individual winners of the 2020 Australian Open were Novak Djokovic (men’s) and Sofia Kenin (women’s).
The French Open
The French Open (also called the Roland-Garros) is played at Stade Roland-Garros in Paris, France. It begins in late May each year and extends into early June. Stade Roland-Garros is most famous for its clay court, which is bright orange and causes balls to bounce higher than the more-commonly used grass and hardcourt surfaces of today. The French Open was first established in 1891 as a tournament exclusive to members of French tennis clubs, but was expanded in 1925 to include all amateur players, at which point it was considered a major international tournament.
On July 9th, 1877, 22 men showed up at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club to play in a tennis tournament advertised as “open to all amateurs,” who were encouraged to bring their own rackets and pay an “eleven-shilling entrance fee.” Today, each individual tournament during Wimbledon has 128 players, and the tournament’s winner is awarded over 2 million euros. Wimbledon takes place in London, England at the very end of June each year and concludes one to two weeks into the month of July.
The US Open
The US Open is the final Grand Slam in the calendar year, taking place from the last Monday of August to the middle of September. This tournament was first held in 1881 in Newport, Rhode Island. Like the French Open, only club members were allowed to enter into the first years of the US Open. The US Open became open to all amateurs by the end of the 1880s.
Today, the tournament takes place at the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing, Queens. The 2019 individual winners were Rafael Nadal (men’s winner) and Bianca Andreescu (women’s champion). For Andreescu, it was the first Slam title of her career!
The Summer Olympic Games
Although there are only four annual grand slams, the tournament that takes place during the Summer Olympic Games is often called the “fifth” slam. Tennis was part of the Olympic games from 1896 until 1924, when it was dropped. However, the Games picked tennis back up in 1988. These days, there are five grand slams every four years. If a player wins all four slams and Olympic Gold in the same calendar year, they complete the “Golden Grand Slam”.