Roger Federer entered an exclusive list that consists of only 7 players – Fred Perry, Don Budge, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson and Andre Agassi and Rafael Nadal (after Fed). Not Sampras, not Borg, not anyone else. These are the only men to win all four grand slam titles, in the Pre Open and Open era of tennis – The Australian Open, the French Open (Roland Garros), Wimbledon and the US Open.
Fred Perry, United Kingdom
The man who casts a shadow over every British player who has even a remote chance of winning a Grand Slam and especially Wimbledon, the first man to win all four majors. Of course, he did it during the years when they were Amateur tournaments, also known as the pre-open era, but still he is the first. He is also the last British men’s tennis player to win a singles title in any of the four grand slams.
The US Open, which was called the U.S. Championship back then, was his first, back in 1933. In 1934 Perry won the Australian Championship, Wimbledon and the U.S. again. In 1935 he finally completed the fantastic four with a win in France along another Wimbledon title and in 1936 he won both Wimbledon and the U.S. title.
In 1937 Perry turned pro and competed in tours playing mostly against American Player Elly Vines and the man to succeed him as the world number one, Don Budge.
Fred Perry died in 1995 at the age of 86. He won 8 grand slams and finished on top of the rankings for 4 straight years, five in all.
Don Budge, United States
John Donald Budge, the first man to achieve a yearly grand slam – winning all four majors in one year. Budge emerged in 1937, sweeping the Wimbledon tournament – winning the singles, doubles and mixed doubles. He won the US championships that year and added the mixed doubles as well.
1938 was the year that put Budge in history, winning the Tennis Grand Slam with his win in Wimbledon coming without losing a set. He turned pro the next year, beating Fred Perry and Elly Vines numerous times to hold his no.1 status and ranking.
Budge joined the military during World War II and returned to Pro tennis after the war ended, extending his career into the mid-1950’s.
Budge is considered the best player of his generation and one the all-time greats, and considered to have the best backhand in the history of tennis, although that is arguable. He died in 2000 at the age of 85. Budge won 6 grand slams and was world no.1 as an amateur and pro for 5 years.
Rod Laver, Australia
Rocket Rod, the man who brought Roger Federer to tears, the first one. He is also considered by many of still being the greatest tennis player of all time, despite being off the courts for more than 30 years. Apparently his acheivments haven’t faded with time. And why should they?
Laver started winning Slams in 1960, winning the Australian Open, still in the pre open era. In 1961 he won Wimbledon, and 1962 was the year he became the third player to achieve a career grand slam and the second to achieve a tennis grand slam, winning all four majors in 1962. He turned to the Pro circuit after 1962 and remained there until the Open era began in 1968.
Laver was the first Wimbledon Open era champion and followed that achievement in 1969 with completing his second tennis grand slam, winning all four majors again and is still the only Open era player to complete a tennis grand slam.
Laver finished his career 11 grand slams and his win-loss percentage during his Open era career is the fifth best of all-time, better than Pete Sampras and Roger Federer who surpassed him in Grand Slam title wins.
Roy Emerson, Australia
Roy Emerson, like Andre Agassi, was probably the second best player of his time. He won all his Grand Slams, 12 in all as an amateur, during the pre open era. He enjoyed the fact the Rod Laver turned pro in 1962 and was able to dominate the amateur circuit during the 1960’s, until the Pro’s were allowed to take part in the Grand Slams.
However, Emerson is the only player to win the singles and doubles title in all four grand slam tournaments and his 28 Grand Slam titles are an all-time record for a male player.
Emerson won the Australian and US Championship in 1961, the Australian and the French in 1963 and achieved his career grand slam in 1964 with winning Wimbledon along with wins in Australia and the US.
Despite Emerson winning more slams than Laver his place in the history rankings is considered lower by most, and Because of the conditions of tennis at the time, it has been a point of debate concerning the levels that Emerson actually achieved.
Andre Agassi, United States
Andre Agassi always had a problem. It was called Pete Sampras, the man responsible for Agassi owning 8 grand slams and not some double digit number. Agassi wasn’t the best player of his era but he still is one of the best of all time.
He won Wimbledon in 1992, his first grand slam and in 1994 he won the US Open. In 1995 he won the Australian Open and 1999, after a few down years, Agassi began his comeback to the top of tennis, winning the US Open again but more importantly, the French Open, his only Roland Garros title but it was enough to complete his career grand slam and the first player to reach that mark since the 1960’s.Agassi added three more slam titles in Australia in 2000, 2001 and 2003.
Agassi is the only man on this list married to a women’s Tennis Grand Slam winner, Steffi Graf, who won everything in 1988. Agassi has also 17 ATP Masters titles, more than anyone else but Nadal and Federer are right behind him. He’s also no.3 on the career earnings list, trailing Pete Sampras and Roger Federer.
Roger Federer, Switzerland
Funny thing about Roger Federer. It’s pretty much an accepted fact that he’s not as good as he was in the 2003-2007 period. Most people would agree that Rafael Nadal is a better player than him now. Some would even say that Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray are better players now. But Roger Federer dominated tennis without any competition, except on clay between 03′-07′ and today in Paris he finally took the 20 ton Gorilla of his back. He has no. 14 which many thought he’d already have by the end of 2008, he has his first French Open title and he has his career grand slam. For a man that deserves to be remembered as the greatest ever, that was a must. Now, it’s only a question of how high will he set the record, and who’ll be able to beat it. Nadal? will wait for the MRI and see how his career evolves. After a lot of tears and anger for the first 6 months of 2009, Federer can cry comfortably as most of the tennis world shed tears of joy with him.
Rafael Nadal, Spain
2010 Was the year of Nadal, winning three grand slam titles and including that elusive US Open title, joining the club. The greatest clay player ever is already with 10 slam titles in his cabinet. I wonder where will he stop.