Photo: German tennis player Steffi Graf playing in the Wimbledon women’s tournament in 1988.
If an athlete claims victory in all four Grand Slam tournaments, also known as major tennis tournaments – the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open – and also wins the or at the Olympic or Paralympic Games of the same year, all at the same event, that person obtains a Golden Slam or a Golden Grand Slam. It’s about as rare as Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket.
Players who have won, or nearly won, a Golden Slam
German player Steffi Graf won all four majors and gold at the Olympic Games in women’s singles in 1988. In fact, she is the first player to win a gold slam. However, US twins Bob and Mike Bryan won a Golden Slam out of calendar year in men’s doubles by winning the Olympics and US Open in 2012, then the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon in 2013. It has been nicknamed the “Bryan Golden Slam.”
Graf’s 30-plus-year reign as the only person on the Golden Slam’s true list ended on September 12. Dutch player Diede de Groot became the first wheelchair tennis athlete to win a Golden Slam with her victory at the 2021 US Open. Wheelchair singles final. Earlier this year, she had singles victories at the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and Paralympic Games. Her golden victory made her the second woman in tennis to achieve this honor.
On the men’s side, Australian Dylan Alcott’s victory in quad singles at the US Open this year made him the first man in all disciplines of tennis to win a Golden Slam. Like de Groot, Alcott won the Paralympics and then won titles in all four major singles tournaments in 2021, but he competes in the quad division as opposed to the men’s wheelchair category (players with a lower disability). of the body compete in the “open” division, ie divided into female and male draws, and those with the lower body and upper body disabilities compete in the mixed quad division).
Novak Djokovic, representing Serbia, was aiming for a Golden Slam schedule in men’s tennis, but a loss at the Tokyo Olympics kept him from reaching that goal. As for the doubles, British men’s wheelchair tennis duo Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid were also aiming for a Golden Slam on the schedule this year, but they did not reach the gold medal match at the Paralympic Games.
What is a career Golden Slam?
A career gold slam occurs when an athlete wins each of the four Grand Slam tournaments and a Paralympic or Olympic gold medal during their career. Andre Agassi of the United States and Rafael Nadal of Spain have won career Golden Slams in men’s singles.
Serena and Venus Williams managed to win a career Golden Slam in women’s doubles with their titles at Roland Garros 1999, US Open 1999, Wimbledon 2000 and Australian Open 2001 and their gold medal at the 2000 Olympics. Serena went on to win a Golden Slam in singles between 1999 and 2012, winning it at the London Olympics. She became the first tennis player to win Golden Slams in both singles and doubles. Meanwhile, Alcott won a career Golden Slam in wheelchair singles and doubles in 2019.
We can’t wait to see what more gold potential awaits on the courts in the years to come.