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Attempts at 4 in a row since Rod Laver

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Post by break_in_the_fifth Mon 30 Apr 2012, 4:27 pm

Over the recent years there have been quite a few attempts at 4 in a row probably owed to the domination of a few players. With another attempt just over the horizon I was wondering which attempt you think was the closest or where a player had their best chance. My tennis knowledge doesn't stretch back far enough to rate anyone other than Fed or Nadal as I don't think Sampras won 3 in a year? I would say that Nadal's attempt at the AO 2011 without hindsight probably looked to be the most likely as there was no one who could beat him on any surface at the time. Even though the event panned out differently I still think more than ever there was the feeling it was Rafa's to lose. I would then rate Fed's attempt in 2006 at the French open as just below it as judging by his match in Rome against Nadal they looked to be extremely close and one felt the final could have gone either way, beforehand at least. Not to mention Fed took the first set 6-1. That leaves in 3rd place for me would be Fed's attempt the following year in 2007 at the French open as he had just prior recorded his first win over Rafa on clay.

I'm sure there are other attempts in the past that may make we want to reorder which is where I'm relying on you guys. Perhaps in less than a month we won't be talking about attempts so much anymore.


Last edited by break_in_the_fifth on Mon 30 Apr 2012, 4:42 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by JuliusHMarx Mon 30 Apr 2012, 4:34 pm

Laver's attempt in '69 was a pretty good one Wink

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Post by break_in_the_fifth Mon 30 Apr 2012, 4:44 pm

He could have tried harder Smile

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Post by newballs Mon 30 Apr 2012, 4:47 pm

The biggest problem for four in a row (either in the same calendar year or just consecutively) has always been placed at the closeness in the calendar between the French and Wimbledon on such different surfaces. Of late that doesn't appear to be such an issue with both Rafa and Roger managing to win both in the same year and with Nadal (as you point out) going into the AO in 2011 as favourite to win and complete the set of four in a row.

For Djokovic the fact that this would be the first time to win the French on clay to give him the four in a row makes it really intriguing. No need to look to Wimbledon and beyond unless you are looking at the calendar grand slam and the fact that on paper a Nadal Djokovic final looks almost a racing certainty,

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Post by lags72 Mon 30 Apr 2012, 5:14 pm

Other than the obvious answer of Laver ( Cool ), with his unique Calendar Slam and the more recent, nearly-but-not-quite efforts by Federer and Nadal, nobody has come close to four in a row, AFAIK.

Wilander took three Slams in 1988 but could only manage a QF at Wimbledon that year, so the 'run' was interrupted before it could get started really. And likewise Jimmy Connors in what was perhaps his best-ever year of 1974 (an amazing 15 titles in all ...!!!) when he won all Slams except the French. There was some sort of in-fighting going on at the time with the authorities, and Connors & some others had become famously involved with World Team Tennis. As a result he got banned from even competing at RG. Not that he ever bothered going to Paris much as I recall, not in his true 'peak' years anyway.

So apart from Fed, Rafa and Djoker, I think only Wilander and Connors have actually won three in the same year without (yet .....in the case of Djoker!) going on to make it four in a row. And only three guys (Agassi, Federer and Nadal) have managed the Career Slam of course.

And it all goes to show that even three in the same year is pretty rare. Federer stands alone as the only player in history to manage it in THREE different years. (As the legendary David Coleman used to say ...."quite remarkable" !!)

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Post by invisiblecoolers Mon 30 Apr 2012, 5:45 pm

Fed's 2006 was an unlucky miss, had he some how scrapped that out he would have won so many FO in a row too, but thats the virtuality and the current situation is reality.

I would say Fed's 2009 was a close call too, two finals he lost in the 5th set, both were intense and a bit of luck on his way he could have ended up 4 in the same year.

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Post by laverfan Mon 30 Apr 2012, 7:01 pm

Don Budge actually had six-in-a-row 1937 W - 1938 USO, pretty remarkable when compared to Laver's double 4-slams-in-a-row.

Crawford 1933, Perry 1934, Trabert 1955, Hoad 1956, Cooper 1958, Emerson 1964 are some pretty good 3-slams-a-year.

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Post by lags72 Mon 30 Apr 2012, 8:09 pm

laverfan - I'm not one to dismiss or denigrate historical records purely on the grounds that it all happened so long ago that none of us can actually remember it. The achievements you quote were no doubt all regarded as outstanding in their day.

But ...... just what do we know about those tournaments in the 1930's, and even 50's, as regards the size and depth of international field they would have attracted ....? And would the champions have definitely needed to get through seven best-of-5 rounds ....??

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Post by laverfan Mon 30 Apr 2012, 10:49 pm

Lags72, I find very it interesting to go back in history. I would highly recommend a look, if you have the inclination and time. Wink


1933 Jack Crawford

AO - 32-player draw - http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/event_guide/history/draws/1933_MS_1.html
W - 128-player draw
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1933_Wimbledon_Championships_%E2%80%93_Men%27s_Singles

FO - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1933_French_Championships_%E2%80%93_Men%27s_Singles

USO - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1933_US_National_Championships_-_Men%27s_Singles

This is just an example. There was no tie-break in those days, so in one sense playing a 5-set match could be tough. In the USO 1933 final, Crawford, asthmatic, could not play well in the last two sets. 13-11 second set, fascinating. Cool. Fred Perry himself was in line for Grand slam in 1934, if not for Giorgio De Stefani, the two forehands player.

Bud Collins's Encyclopedia is a fantastic read, IMVHO.


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Post by Tom_____ Mon 30 Apr 2012, 11:24 pm

Sampras won Wimbers 93, USO 93 and AO 94 - hence had a crack at 4 in a row.

Agassi came close to 4 in a row technically, winning FO 99, Wimbers 99 Final, USO 99 and AO '00. During this time he also held the Olympic gold.

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Post by lydian Tue 01 May 2012, 9:58 am

Indeed Tom, and I still believe what Agassi did is truly amazing...in that he won all the majors as they were...fast grass, slow clay, fast USO, slow/high bouncing AO...it wasnt coincidence that no-one had ever done that before (Laver won 3/4 majors on grass) and was 30 years after Laver had done anything similar. They slow the courts down, resulting in convergent homogeniety and lo and behold all of a sudden we have 2-3 people doing it in the space of 3-4 years!
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Post by lags72 Thu 03 May 2012, 1:15 am

Agassi's achievements are indeed hugely impressive - not least for his ability to win on four truly different surfaces, as described by lydian. Maybe never to be seen again, given the changes that have since been made.

But if the issue of surface variety is taken out of the equation, and we consider not just the closest to four in a row BUT four in the same year (ie closest to matching Laver's still-unique Calendar Slam) then it seems that Federer, as happens so often, remains the benchmark (so far, at least ....)

Fed is, after all, the only player to have taken 3 Slams in a calendar year whilst also making the final in the other. In fact he did so twice : 2006 and 2007, when winning the AO, Wimbledon and USO in each of those years, but losing both RG Finals in four sets - to Rafa of course.

These were the heady years for Federer. And over a period stretching from Wimbledon 2005 to the USO 2007, he contested a total of ten Slams, won eight of them and made the Final of the other two
notworthy

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Post by socal1976 Thu 03 May 2012, 7:12 am

I think if Djokovic wins Roland Garros he will win the grandslam barring injury. He really will be on hot streak of confidence and we all know what Novak can do when his confidence up. This is the best chance to upend Djokovic on the clay of roland garros where Nadal is so strong.

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Post by reckoner Thu 03 May 2012, 9:39 am

socal1976 wrote:This is the best chance to upend Djokovic on the clay of roland garros where Nadal is so strong.

I'm not sure upend is the word you were reaching for socal.

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Post by socal1976 Thu 03 May 2012, 7:27 pm

Well reckoner I really think RG is pivotal this year, Novak is not yet at his best but he is still winning at a very good rate. He gets RG this year I think he will flip the switch again and really run away with the season whatever you want to call it. He looked like he was rounding into shape before the family issue popped up and I am sure by the time of the french he will be settled and playing at his best.

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Post by laverfan Fri 11 May 2012, 10:23 pm

Madrid was very negative for Djokovic. Wish he gets over what ails him and makes a strong push for history. OK

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Post by Guest Sat 12 May 2012, 12:15 am

I suspect young Djo will be foiled. He is nit the favorite. His clay season is not as impressive as last 'ear (to date).

ps the last person to make four in a row was literally Steve Redgrave notworthy

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