Court Phillipe Charitier witnessed a spectacle as Novak Djokovic beat Andy Murray 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 in Sunday’s Roland Garros final. It took the Serbian’s Grand Slam count to 12 and, more importantly, topped off a career Grand Slam. He joins an elite group of players to have achieved this feat and FOX Sports Asia takes a look at these eight wonders of the tennis world.
8. Fred Perry
The first to complete this momentous accomplishment, after winning the French Championships in 1935. Perry’s influence on the sport at home and abroad was vast with Murray still cast in the Brit’s shadow. What makes his achievement more impressive was his success in an era still ruled by class warfare. A lad of Stockport stock who had first played tennis on his family’s housing estate, he rose to the heights of the sport.
7. Don Budge
The youngest to reach all four grand slams, Pennsylvanian Budge was one of the first to make significant waves in the sport. Along with Fred Perry, he was the most successful professional player at the time. A United States Air Force (USAF) training injury during the Second World War prevented Budge from ever reaching his pre-war supremacy.
6. Rod Laver
The “technically faultless” Laver is still as revered in the sport now as when he took his first grand slam in 1960. With 200 singles titles to his name, the Australian’s dominance was unprecedented. Over seven years, he won at least 10 titles per season and was equally strong across all surfaces, which included carpet and wood.
5. Roy Emerson
Another Aussie making the list, and with good reason. Emerson is the only male player to have completed a career Grand Slam in both singles and doubles. He is tied with Djokovic for the record-number of Australian Opens, five of them won on the trot (1963-1967). The six-foot Queenslander had an outstanding level of fitness and work ethic. His continued efforts after crashing into the umpire’s stand and injuring his shoulder at Wimbledon 1966 prove just that.
4. Andre Agassi
The superstar is arguably the only player on this illustrious list to transcend the sport and popular culture. His charismatic personality was only matched by his dominance on court. “The Punisher” was the first male player to win all four grand slams on three different surfaces and, in doing so, gave the sport some much needed colour in the 90s. He is also the oldest player to ever complete the career Grand Slam.
3. Rafael Nadal
La Decima eluded “The King of Clay” this year, but there’s no doubting the Spaniard will be back to wrestle Roland Garros off of Djokovic. The aggressive, athletic Nadal has arguably been the only player to come close to emulating the on and off-court impact of Agassi since the American’s retirement. His routine twitching and grunting have seen him clinch 14 grand slams. He has also been labelled as the most versatile in the sport and inspired comedic parodies the world over.
2. Novak Djokovic
In 1969, The Godfather was published, Woodstock rocked out and mankind landed on the moon. It was also the last time a player (Rod Laver) held a calendar Grand Slam. This is testament to the scale of Djokovic’s achievement on Sunday. His victory in Paris on his 12th attempt was every bit as gritty as it was back in the 2008 Australian Open when he opened his account. It took him another three years to win his second grand slam and he has never looked back since.
1. Roger Federer
17 Grand Slam titles; reached each grand slam final at least five times; a Wimbledon finalist ten times; world number one for 302 weeks. The facts speak for themselves. The Swiss Maestro’s elegance and sportsmanship are unparalleled.
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