The four Grand Slam tournaments, also called the Majors, are the most
important tennis events of the year in terms of world ranking points, tradition,
prize-money awarded, and public attention. They are:
A singles player or doubles team that wins all four Slam tournaments in the same
year is said to have achieved the Grand Slam. If the player or team wins all
four consecutively, but not in the same calendar year, it is called a Non-Calendar
Year Grand Slam. Winning all four at some point in a career, even if not
consecutively, is referred to as a Career Grand Slam, while winning the four
majors and a gold medal in tennis at the Summer Olympics has been called a
Golden Slam since 1988, when Steffi Graf accomplished that feat in a single
The Australian Open is the first of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments
held each year. The tournament is held each January at Melbourne Park. The
tournament was held for the first time in 1905 and was contested on grass from
then up to 1987. Since 1988, the tournament has been held on hard courts at
Melbourne Park. Mats Wilander is the only male player to have won the tournament
on both grass and hard courts.
Like all other Grand Slam tournaments, there are men’s and women’s singles
competitions; men’s, women’s, and mixed doubles; and junior’s and master’s
The two main courts used in the tournament are Rod Laver Arena and Hisense Arena
and feature retractable roofs, which can be shut in case of rain or extreme heat.
The Australian Open and Wimbledon are the only Slams with indoor play.
Held in the middle of the Australian summer, the Australian Open is famous for
its notoriously hot days. An extreme-heat policy is put into play when
temperatures (and humidity) reach dangerous levels.
The Australian Open typically has very high attendance, with the 2009 Australian
Open achieving the highest ever single-day day/night attendance record for any
Grand Slam tournament of 66,018. The event is worth around £38 million to the
In 2008, the Rebound Ace surface, which had been in place for the past 20 years
at Melbourne Park, was replaced by a cushioned, medium-paced, acrylic surface
known as Plexicushion Prestige. The main benefits of the new surface are better
consistency and less retention of heat (because of a thinner top layer). This
change was accompanied by changes in the surfaces of all lead-up tournaments to
the Australian Open. The change was controversial, primarily because of the new
surface’s similarity to DecoTurf, the surface already being
used by the US Open. Back
The French Open (French: Les Internationaux de France de Roland Garros or
Tournoi de Roland-Garros) is a major tennis tournament held over two weeks
between late May and early June in Paris, France, at the Stade Roland Garros. It
is the second of the Grand Slam tournaments on the annual tennis calendar and
the premier clay court tennis tournament in the world. Roland Garros is the only
Grand Slam still held on clay and ends the spring clay court season.
It is one of the most prestigious events in tennis, and it has the widest
worldwide broadcasting and audience of all regular events in this sport. Because
of the slow playing surface and the five-set men’s singles matches without a
tiebreak in the final set, the event is widely considered to be the most
physically demanding tennis tournament in the world.
Officially named in French Les Internationaux de France de Roland Garros or
Tournoi de Roland-Garros (the “French Internationals of Roland Garros” or
“Roland Garros Tournament” in English), the tournament is often referred to as
the “French Open” and always as “Roland Garros” in French.
A French national tournament began in 1891, that was open only to tennis players
who were members of French clubs. It was known as the Championat de France
International de Tennis. The first women’s tournament was held in 1897. This
‘French club members only’ tournament was played until 1924. Another tournament,
the World Hard Court Championships held on Clay courts at Stade Francais in
Saint Cloud, which was played from 1912 to 1923 (except the war years), is often
considered as the precursor to Roland Garros as it was open to international
competitors. Winners of this tournament included world number #1’s such as Tony
Wilding (1913, 1914) and Bill Tilden (1921). In 1924 there was no World Hard
Court Championships due to the tennis being played at the Paris Olympic Games.
In 1925, the French Championships opened itself to international competitors
with the event held on a grass surface alternately between the Racing Club de
France and the Stade Francais. After the Mousquetaires or Philadelphia Four
(René Lacoste, Jean Borotra, Henri Cochet, and Jacques Brugnon) won the Davis
Cup on American soil in 1927, the French decided to defend the cup in 1928 at a
new tennis stadium at Porte d’Auteuil. The Stade de France had offered the
tennis authorities three hectares of land with the condition that the new
stadium must be named after the World War I pilot, Roland Garros. The new Stade
de Roland Garros, and its Center Court, which was named Court Philippe Chatrier
in 1988, hosted that Davis Cup challenge.
From 1945 through 1947, the French Championships were held after Wimbledon,
making it the third Grand Slam event of the year.
In 1968, the French Championships became the first Grand Slam tournament to go
open, allowing both amateurs and professionals to compete.
Since 1981, new prizes have been presented: the Prix Orange (for the play
demonstrating the best sportsmanship and cooperative attitude with the press),
the Prix Citron (for the player with the strongest character and personality)
and the Prix Bourgeon (for the tennis player revelation of the year).
Another novelty, since 2006 the tournament has begun on a Sunday, featuring 12
singles matches played on the three main courts.
Additionally, on the eve of the tournament’s opening, the traditional Benny
Berthet exhibition day takes place, where the profits go to different charity
In March 2007, it was announced that the event will provide equal prize money
for both men and women in all rounds for the first time ever.Back
The Championships, Wimbledon, or simply Wimbledon, is the oldest tennis
tournament in the world and is generally considered the most prestigious. It has
been held at the All England Club in the London suburb of Wimbledon since 1877.
It is one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments, and the only one still
played on the game’s original surface, grass, which gave the game of lawn tennis
The tournament takes place over two weeks in late June and early July,
culminating with the ladies’ and gentlemen’s singles final, scheduled
respectively for the second Saturday and Sunday. Each year, five major events
are contested, as well as four junior events and four invitational events.
The hard court Australian Open and clay court French Open precede Wimbledon in
the calendar year. The hard court US Open follows. For men, the grass court
Queen’s Club Championships, also in London, the Gerry Weber Open in Halle,
Germany, and the Ordina Open in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands are popular warm
up tournaments for Wimbledon. For women, there are warm-up tournaments in
Birmingham and Eastbourne.
Wimbledon traditions include the eating of strawberries and cream, drinking
Pimms spritzers royal patronage, and a strict dress code for competitors. In
2009, Wimbledon’s Centre Court was fitted with a retractable roof to insure
against the possibility of rain delays interrupting Centre Court matches during
The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club is a private club founded in
1868, originally as ‘The All England Croquet Club’. Its first ground was
situated off Worple Road, Wimbledon.
In 1875, lawn tennis, a game devised by Major Walter Clopton Wingfield a year or
so earlier and originally called ‘Sphairistike’, was added to the activities of
the club. In the spring of 1877, the club was re-titled ‘The All England Croquet
and Lawn Tennis Club’ and signalled its change of name by instituting the first
Lawn Tennis Championship. A new code of laws (replacing the code until then
administered by the Marylebone Cricket Club) was drawn up for the event. Today’s
rules are similar except for details such as the height of the net and posts and
the distance of the service line from the net.
The only event held in 1877 was the Gentlemen’s Singles, which was won by
Spencer Gore, an old Harrovian rackets player, from a field of 22. About 200
spectators paid one shilling each to watch the final.
The lawns at the ground were arranged so that the principal court was located in
the middle with the others arranged around it; hence the title ‘Centre Court’,
which was retained when the cClub moved in 1922 to the present site in Church
Road, although not a true description of its location. However, in 1980 four new
courts were brought into commission on the north side of the ground, which meant
the Centre Court was once more correctly defined. The opening of the new No. 1
Court in 1997 emphasised the description.
By 1882, activity at the club was almost exclusively confined to lawn tennis and
that year the word ‘croquet’ was dropped from the title. However, for
sentimental reasons, it was restored in 1889 and since then the title has
remained The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.
In 1884, the All England Club added ladies’ singles and gentlemen’s doubles.
Ladies’ doubles and mixed doubles were added in 1913. Until 1922, the reigning
champion had to play only in the final, against whoever had won through to
challenge him. As with the other three Grand Slam events, Wimbledon was
contested by top-ranked amateur players until the advent of the open era in
tennis in 1968. No British man has won the singles event at Wimbledon since Fred
Perry in 1936 and no British woman has won the Ladies Singles since Virginia
Wade in 1977, although Annabel Croft and Laura Robson won the girls’
championship in 1984 and 2008, respectively. The Championship was first
televised in 1937.
 21st century
Wimbledon is widely considered to be the premier tennis tournament in the world
and the priority of The All England Lawn Tennis Club, which hosts The
Championships, is to maintain its leadership into the 21st century. To that end
a long term plan was unveiled in 1993, intended to improve the quality of the
event for spectators, players, officials and neighbours.
Stage one of the plan was completed for the 1997 championships and involved
building in Aorangi Park the new No. 1 Court, a broadcast centre, two extra
grass courts and a tunnel under the hill linking Church Road and Somerset Road.
Stage two involved the removal of the old No. 1 Court complex to make way for
the new Millennium Building, providing extensive facilities for the players,
press, officials and members, and the extension of the West Stand of the Centre
Court with 728 extra seats.
Stage three has been completed with the construction of an entrance building,
housing club staff, museum, bank and ticket office.
A new retractable roof has been built in time for the 2009 championships,
marking the first time in the tournament’s history that rain will not stop play
for a lengthly time on Centre Court. The All England Club tested the new roof at
an event called A Centre Court Celebration on Sunday, 17 May 2009, which
featured exhibition matches involving Andre Agassi, Steffi Graf, Kim Clijsters
and Tim Henman. The first Championship match to take place under the roof was
the completion of the fourth round women’s singles match between Dinara Safina
and Amelie Mauresmo. The first match to be played in its entirety under the new
roof was between Andy Murray and Stanislas Wawrinka on 29 June 2009, which
Murray won 2-6, 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 6-3. The match recorded the latest ever finish at
The Championships, concluding at 10.38pm. A new 4000-seat No. 2 Court has been
built on the site of the old No. 13 Court and was ready for the 2009
Championships. A new 2000-seat No. 3 Court is being built on the site of the
old Court No. 2. Back
The US Open, formally the United States Open tennis championships, is a
tennis tournament which is the modern incarnation of one of the oldest tennis
championships in the world, with the U.S. National Championship, which for mens’
singles was first contested in 1881. Since 1987, the US Open has been
chronologically the fourth and final Grand Slam tennis tournament each year.
It is held annually in August and September over a two-week period (the weeks
before and after Labor Day weekend). The main tournament consists of five
different event championships: men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s
doubles, and mixed doubles, with additional tournaments for senior, junior, and
wheelchair players. Since 1978, the tournament has been played on acrylic hard
courts at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center at Flushing
Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, New York City.
The US Open is unique in that there are final-set tiebreaks; in the other three
Grand Slam tournaments, the deciding set (fifth for men, third for women)
continues until it is won by two games.Back
Standard types of tennis match
Singles involves two players competing against each other, usually two men or
two women, although games between a man and a woman may be played on an informal
Doubles is played by two teams of two players each, most often all-male or all-female.
It utilizes a wider court than singles matches: it includes the area in the the
alley (tramlines, in British terminology), whereas singles does not. The two
players on the receiving side change positions after each point played (one at
the net and the other near the baseline, preparing to return serve).
Mixed doubles is played the same as doubles, but with each team comprising one
man and one woman. This form of tennis is rare in the professional game, due to
the men’s and women’s tours being organised separately (by the ATP and WTA
respectively). However, all four Grand Slam tournaments hold a mixed doubles
competition, alongside the men’s and women’s doubles, and featuring many of the
same players. There is also an annual mixed tournament for national teams, the
Hopman Cup, which includes mixed doubles.Back
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