Winning all four majors in a single year, and doing so twice, is a wondrous feat worthy of the verdict: ‘The best of the best’
Rod Laver recognises the apples/oranges element inherent in comparing records across eras, but the player acknowledged as the finest of his generation and voted as the best of the 20th century did something no other tennis great ever has: win the grand slam, twice. Repeat: all four majors in the same year. Twice.
The first, in 1962, was from a so-called amateur field already weakened by the defection to the professional ranks of the likes of Lew Hoad, Ken Rosewall and Pancho Gonzales. The second – and most significant – followed Laver’s own 21-slam exile while touring with the pros. The year, 1969, was the first full season of Open tennis. A towering achievement. With chronic elbow soreness. Without asterisks. A sporting Everest climbed.
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