Six of One, Half Dozen of the Other

January 16, 2011 · Print This Article

by: Adam Wexler

Recently, there has been plenty of talk in the tennis world as to whether or not holding all 4 Grand Slam titles in the same calendar year is as prestigious as holding all 4 titles, but overlapping two years.

Commonly referred to as a “Grand Slam”, the last player to win all four major events in the same year was Rod Laver in 1969.
Since the 2010 U.S. Open ended with Rafael Nadal hoisting the winner’s trophy, conversations and ticket prices have suggested that the 2011 Australian Open contains an additional story line. After pulling out of the quarter finals against Andy Murray in the 2010 Aussie Open, Nadal went on to win the remaining 3 majors of the year.

In what many purists are calling a “Rafa Slam”, this storyline is being written before the end plays itself out.
My question is whether this all matters? Are we, as fans and journalists, just busying ourselves with labels and semantics or are we tampering with history if we deem the true definition of a Grand Slam flexible?

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6 Responses to “Six of One, Half Dozen of the Other”

  1. Isobel on January 16th, 2011 5:09 pm

    I’m getting more and more pissed off at people calling it the Rafa Slam, as if Serena hadn’t already done not too long ago. Just because he’s a guy doing it doesn’t mean it should supersede her accomplishment!

  2. Adam W on January 17th, 2011 1:35 pm

    Isobel – I think that is a great point. It would be interesting to know whether the term “Rafa Slam” originated from a reporter/member of the press, or a fan.

  3. Sammy J on January 18th, 2011 5:43 pm

    Golf experienced its own version of this back in 2000-2001 when Tiger Woods won 4 consecutive majors over two seasons. Writers dubbed it the “Tiger Slam”. So this debate is nothing new. Personally I felt in 2001, as I do now with Rafa, that the real achievement is in dominating one’s sport for a sustained period of time. Winning 4 slams in a row, regardless of whether they happen within a single calendar year, is incredible, and worthy of whatever accolades people wish to bestow.

    Ps: this Nalbandian-Hewitt match is fantastic!

  4. Adam W on January 19th, 2011 1:35 pm

    Sammy J – agreed……especially given the young age at which Nadal has accomplished this. the only thing I wonder is whether he must do it young, as I am not sure his body will hold up.

  5. Allan on January 26th, 2011 9:43 am

    Isobel – with all due respect, to win all four in the men’s division is much tougher than in the women’s side. I won’t win friends with this comment, but the lack of depth on the women’s side makes it easier for a woman to win all 4 majors. The fact that Clijsters and Henin can come back out of retirment and return to the top of the rankings is an indictment of the women’s draw. The fact that they play 2 out of 3 sets makes the ordeal less demanding. It is still a great feat, but don’t get so upset when it is suggested that winning 4 on the men’s side is the same as on the women’s. It isn’t. BTW, I love Kim Clijsters – she is great for the sport of tennis and makes a far more valuable contribution to the game than both of the Williams sisters combined.

  6. Allan on January 26th, 2011 9:44 am

    And, after today, the argument is moot.

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