Yesterday (Sunday 5 June) Novak Djokovic won the French Open and became the first player since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four majors at the same time. He also joined a small group of players who have won all four majors, but to hold all four at the same time is much rarer. As anyone who has read my blogposts about tennis knows, I am massive fan of Rod Laver, and I don’t want to take anything away from his remarkable achievement of doing the Grand Slam (winning all four majors in the same calendar year) twice, in 1962 and 1969.
But, for anyone today to win all four majors is far more difficult, and I don’t mean because there are more tennis players competing, although there are. It is because now all four majors are played on different surfaces, which was not the case in Laver’s day. When Laver won his two Grand Slams three of the four majors were on grass. The only one which wasn’t was the French Open. So, if you were an expert grass-court player, as Laver was, it was much easier to win three of the majors than it is today. This only adds to Djokovic’s remarkable achievement of being the first player since Laver to hold all four majors at the same time. Federer has never achieved it, nor Nadal, nor McEnroe, nor Sampras, nor Agassi. None of them.Andy Murray won the first set 6-3, but after that Djokovic started to cut the errors out of his game and the next three sets went to Djokovic pretty quickly, 6-1, 6-2 and 6-4. Murray just had no answer for Djokovic once the latter got his game into gear.
Djokovic has now won 12 major titles, and if he carries on like this who would bet against him surpassing Federer’s record of 17 major titles? Also, as the French Open is his second major of 2016, he is on track to do the Grand Slam, winning all four majors in the same calendar year. Again, the last person to do this was Rod Laver, in 1969.