Saturday, July 07, 2012

how do you slam a problem like maria

Here's a thought that occurred to me while watching Maria Sharapova win the French Open a couple of weeks ago. No, it wasn't that, you filthy pervert. Well, all right, it was that, but there was another thing as well.

Sharapova's win gave her a full set of all the Grand Slam singles titles; she is the seventeenth person overall and the tenth woman to achieve this feat. What makes Sharapova's version of the feat interesting is that she has done it in the most efficient way possible, i.e. by winning each tournament precisely once - Wimbledon in 2004, the US Open in 2006, the Australian Open in 2008 and now the French Open in 2012. It occurred to me to wonder whether anyone else had achieved the feat that way, without wasting time and effort mucking about winning lots of multiples of individual tournaments on the way and pointless nonsense like that.

So here's a couple of lists for you - firstly the women:

PlayerTournament achievedYearWins to date
Maureen ConnollyFrench Open19535
Doris HartUS Open19545
Shirley Fry IrvinAustralian Open19574
Margaret CourtWimbledon19637
Billie Jean KingFrench Open19727
Chris EvertAustralian Open198214
Martina NavratilovaUS Open19837
Steffi GrafUS Open19885
Serena WilliamsAustralian Open20035
Maria SharapovaFrench Open20124

Then the men:

PlayerTournament achievedYearWins to date
Fred PerryFrench Open19355
Don BudgeFrench Open19384
Rod LaverUS Open19626
Roy EmersonWimbledon19646
Andre AgassiFrench Open19994
Roger FedererFrench Open200914
Rafael NadalUS Open20109

Since golf has a very similar major tournament structure, one might ask the same question there as well. Note that it's almost impossible to construct a women's list here as the tournaments which qualify as majors have fluctuated so much over the years, so we'll have to make do with just the men here.

PlayerTournament achievedYearWins to date
Gene SarazenMasters19357
Ben HoganOpen19539
Gary PlayerUS Open19654
Jack NicklausOpen19666
Tiger WoodsOpen20004

People whose feat matches Sharapova's are in bold in the tables - needless to say they also have a "4" in the "Wins" column. In case it's still not clear they are:
  • Shirley Fry Irvin (tennis)
  • Don Budge (tennis)
  • Andre Agassi (tennis)
  • Gary Player (golf)
  • Tiger Woods (golf)
You may have that factoid for free for your next dinner party. No, you're welcome.

No comments: