Tennis Grand Slams, an update

Last summer, during the Wimbledon Tennis Championships here in London, I wrote this piece about the sport, focussing on the Grand Slams, the four major events in the tennis calendar: the Australian Open (January, in Melbourne), French Open (May/June in Paris), Wimbledon (usually June/July) and US Open (September in New York). It included Trivia Challenges, mainly relating to sequences of winners. It noted that 7 different women had won the previous 7 Slams and that 7 different men had won the previous 53. Since that piece was posted there have been 3 further Grand Slam tournaments. Here’s an update on those winning sequences.

In the men’s game all 3 tournaments since June 2018 (Wimbledon, US Open, Australian Open) were won by Novak Djokovic, taking him to 15 majors. This means that the last 56 Grand Slam tournaments have now been won by the same 7 men noted in that earlier piece. Here they are with their most recent Grand Slam win in brackets:

  • Novak Djokovic (Australian Open 2019)
  • Rafa Nadal (French Open 2018)
  • Roger Federer (Australian Open 2018)
  • Stan Wawrinka (US Open 2016)
  • Andy Murray (Wimbledon 2016)
  • Marin Cilic (US Open 2014)
  • Juan Martin del Potro (US Open 2009)

You have to go back 14 years, to January 2005, to find an 8th Grand Slam winner: Marat Safin at the Australian Open.

In the women’s game Angelique Kerber won Wimbledon in 2018, to maintain the run of 7 different women winning 7 consecutive Grand Slams. (She had also won the US Open in 2016.) Naomi Osaka won the US Open in 2018. That made it 8 in 8, 8 consecutive Grand Slams won by the following 8 women:

  • Naomi Osaka (US Open 2018)
  • Angelique Kerber (Wimbledon 2018)
  • Simona Halep (French Open 2018)
  • Caroline Wozniacki (Australian Open 2018)
  • Sloane Stephens (US Open 2017)
  • Garbiñe Muguruza (Wimbledon 2017)
  • Jeļena Ostapenko (French Open 2017)
  • Serena Williams (Australian Open 2017)

The 2019 Australian Open, which finished last weekend, was also won by Naomi Osaka, making her the first woman to win back-to-back Slams since Serena Williams at Wimbledon in 2015. I was hoping for a Petra Kvitova win, partly to extend the sequence to 9 different winners in 9 consecutive tournaments, but mainly because her playing career has been so badly disrupted by the injuries she received in late 2016, stabbed in the hand by an intruder in her home. She made it to the final in Melbourne, which was remarkable after all that she’s been through, but she couldn’t quite manage another win.

I assumed that a run of 8 different winners in consecutive major tournaments was worthy of note. Maybe it hadn’t happened before. Looking back over the lists of champions I can see that it has happened in both the men’s and women’s games since 2000. Here is the most recent such sequence in the men’s game:

  • Thomas Johansson (Australian Open 2002)
  • Albert Costa (French Open 2002)
  • Lleyton Hewitt (Wimbledon 2002)
  • Pete Sampras (US Open 2002)
  • Andre Agassi (Australian Open 2003
  • Juan Carlos Ferrero (French Open 2003)
  • Roger Federer (Wimbledon 2003)
  • Andy Roddick (US Open 2003)

Before 2017/18, in women’s tennis, the most recent run of 8 different  winners in consecutive Grand Slams came between 2004 and 2006, as follows:

  • Anastasia Myskina (French Open 2004)
  • Maria Sharapova (Wimbledon 2004)
  • Svetlana Kuznetsova (US Open 2004)
  • Serena Williams (Australian Open 2005)
  • Justine Henin (French Open 2005)
  • Venus Williams (Wimbledon 2005)
  • Kim Clijsters (US Open 2005)
  • Amélie Mauresmo (Australian Open 2006)

From what I can see there has never been a sequence of 9 different winners of consecutive Grand Slams, men or women. Even if such a sequence were to start now it wouldn’t be complete until January 2021. The chances of it happening in either the men’s or women’s game look very slim.



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