Since 1988, no tennis champ has been able to dominate the game to the extent of lifting the four Grand Slams of a single season. It remains a dream but one that might never happen. Steffi Graf was brilliant in her days.
She won the Australian Open, Wimbledon, and French Open and then despite the fears she repeated the feat at the 1988 US Open to become one of the greatest tennis figures of all time.
The first to shock the tennis community with such unbridled dominance was Don Budge. Maureen Connolly, Rord Laver and Margaret Court also achieved the highly impressive feat. Laver even did it twice.
Graf had to see off Gabriela Sabatini to join the elite record. She moved a distance above her peers by winning the 1988 Olympic Gold, earning her the ‘Golden Slam’ label. Andre Agassi, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams have all Grand Slam titles and clinched the Olympic gold medal but not in one calendar year like Graf.
Graf was the world top ranked female star for a total of 377 weeks – the most of any tennis player, male or female. She lifted 22 singles and remains revered till date for her outstanding achievements. Till date, the game is still waiting for any player that can replicate her feat.
With the level of competition available today, tennis might never see another calendar grand slam. Rather more youngsters would likely keep usurping veterans while the established players try to remain relevant. The schedule is highly tasking and the game has intensified. The requirements are expanded and fitness regimes more rigorous. All these make it hard to win Grand Slam titles one after the other all year round. The idea of a calendar Grand Slam has even washed away – Serena’s feat in 2015 was close but it seems that is the end of it, in this generation.