TENNIS GREAT Rod Laver expects the ‘Grand Slam’ of majors to happen again – 50 years after his historic achievement.
The Australian great won all four majors in the same calendar year in 1962 and then in 1969, the season after tennis went fully professional.
Over the past 15 years, the Big Three in tennis have gone close to matching the achievements of Laver and also the American Don Budge, who was unbeatable in 1938.
In 2016, Novak Djokovic won the French Open for the first time and for a month or so, held all four majors at the same time – albeit not in the same calendar year.
On three occasions, Swiss genius Roger Federer has ended a year having won three of the four majors in the same 12-month period, missing out on the French Open for the clean sweep.
Rafa Nadal, in 2010, won the French, Wimbledon and US Open in succession, having fallen short at the Australian Open.
Asked if he felt the ‘Grand Slam’ was possible, the 80-year-old said: “Well, it’s got to happen again.
“You know, you’re going to see some of the…today’s players, you’re looking at height.
“I see it happening again. I played on grass, so three of the grass-court tournaments – the Australian, US Open, and Wimbledon – and so maybe that gave me a better chance because I’m a grass court player. And the Europeans don’t really play much on grass.
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“You don’t say, I’m going to win the Grand Slam. It’’s a nine-month title, you know. So I guess I came down here in ’69. This is the first time that all of them were going to be open.
“It was the pride of being an Australian is how I would put it. I just wanted to be down here – I told my wife, I want to enter all four of them. And she says: ‘Well, go ahead. It’s your life with tennis.’
“And so I arrived down here, and she called me up and said she was pregnant. The due date was the exact date of the US Open final. You know, it may be a thing that was, everything was on my side to make this happen.
“I’m thinking how many times some of the great champions that have passed through here, you know, in this time frame, and they haven’t been able to win all four.
“To me, it seems strange that that has happened. You know, you don’t own this title.
“But for some reason — I know Djokovic got close, he had three legs in but not in the same year but in a row.
“I think Nadal and Djokovic have got to be in a position to win them all. They’re all going for it. But guess who you have got to beat? You got to beat Nadal in France. And he’s won 11 titles.
“So, you can win all the others, but you’re not going to win the French. That’s some of the things that happen in this world now.”
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