Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic and Other Players Who Missed a Chance to Win Calendar Grand Slam

Published 09/13/2021, 8:29 AM EDT
MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA – MARCH 20: (L-R) Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Serena Williams of the United States talk during the ribbon cutting ceremony on the new Stadium Court at the Hard Rock Stadium, before the first match of the Miami Open on March 20, 2019 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by TPN/Getty Images)


Over the centuries-old tennis history, a handful of players have achieved the rare feat of winning a Calendar Grand Slam. Many legendary athletes like Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic, and the iconic doubles team of Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan have come to a touching distance of completing the elusive feat. However, none of them succeeded.

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The Calendar Slam Grand is an achievement of winning all the four major tournaments — Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open in a single year.

Novak Djokovic (2021 season)

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Djokovic started the 2021 season by winning a record 9th Australian Open title. Then at the French Open, the Serbian achieved the impossible task of defeating the 13-time champion, Rafael Nadal, in the semifinals and subsequently overpowered Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final despite losing the first two sets to lift his second French Open title.

Sep 10, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Novak Djokovic of Serbia hits a forehand against Alexander Zverev of Germany (not pictured) on day twelve of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

Carrying on the momentum, Djokovic followed it up by winning a record-equaling 20th Grand Slam title at Wimbledon Championships, bagging the third consecutive Grand Slam of the year. With the Calendar Grand Slam in sight, the 34-year-old made a heroic effort to reach the US Open final and found himself just a win away from achieving the elusive feat.

“I’m going to treat my next match like it is the last match of my career,” said Djokovic, after booking his place in the final. Overwhelmed by enormous pressure and emotion, Djokovic suffered a heart-breaking straight-sets defeat at the hands of Daniil Medvedev in the final, which shattered his dream of achieving the Calendar Grand Slam.

Serena Williams (2015 season)

Williams, the 23-time Grand Slam champion, had an outstanding 2015 season. The American won the first three Grand Slam events of the year, defeating Maria Sharapova at the Australian Open, Lucie Safarova at the French Open, and Garbiñe Muguruza at Wimbledon.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 17: Serena Williams of the United States plays a shot in her first round match against Belinda Bencic of Switzerland on day two of the 2017 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 17, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

However, at the 2015 US Open, Italy’s Roberta Vinci knocked out the then World No.1 Williams in the semifinals, ending her opponent’s bid to win the Calendar-year Grand Slam.

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Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan (2013 season)

The Bryan brothers have been the most successful doubles team in tennis history. The duo of Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan came close to achieving the Calendar Grand Slam during the 2013 season.

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After lifting three consecutive doubles titles at Melbourne, Paris, and London, the pair lost to the team of Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek in the semifinals of the US Open, losing out on the chance to win the Calendar Grand Slam.

In fact, only five players have achieved the Calendar Grand Slam in tennis history. In 1937, Don Budge became the first-ever tennis player to win a Calendar Slam. The other four were Maureen Connolly Brinker in 1953, Rod Laver in 1962 and 1969, Margaret Court in 1970, and Steffi Graf in 1988.

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Kshitij Tayal

472 articles

Kshitij Tayal is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having played district-level tennis competitions, Kshitij is also a tenured journalist of the sport with over four years of experience. At EssentiallySports, he pens down some thought-provoking pieces on players and tournaments across the ATP and WTA.

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