As we head into the summer months, tennis fans all over the world will be engrossed in two of the sport’s biggest tournaments — the French Open, which is currently underway and due to finish on June 13th, followed closely by the Wimbledon Championships, which will get underway in late June and conclude on July 11th.
Of course, Wimbledon will be of particular interest. The English Grand Slam was cancelled last year for the first time since World War II due to the coronavirus pandemic and tennis fans will already be scouring the Wimbledon odds and counting down the days to the prestigious lawn tournament.
Given the close proximity of the French Open and Wimbledon, it has become notoriously difficult to win both Grand Slams in the same year. In fact, in the women’s game just six professionals have managed to achieve the great feat, and it’ll come as no surprise that they are some of the biggest names in the sport.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the history makers. Read on to find more!
Margaret Court – 1970
Australian Margaret Court became the first female tennis player to win the French Open-Wimbledon double in 1970. Court had already won 16 Grand Slam titles, including two Wimbledon crowns and three Roland Garros triumphs, by the time she won the Wimbledon-French Open double in 1970. She defeated Heiga Niessen in straight sets (6-2, 6-4) in Paris before a thrilling 14-12, 11-9 victory over Billie Jean King in London. Amazingly, the Aussie won the Australian Open and the US Open in the same year!
Billie Jean King – 1972
Just two years after losing the Wimbledon final to Court, King hit back with a French Open-Wimbledon double of her own. The American got the better of defending champion Evonne Goolagong at Roland Garros, winning the French Open title for the first and only time of her trophy-laden career, before beating the Australian again in the final of Wimbledon, in what was her fourth success in London. The 12-time Grand Slam winner went on to win the US Open later in the same year.
Chris Evert – 1974
Two seems to be the magic number, as it was only two years after King’s success in ’72 that Chris Evert etched her name in the history books. The American defeated Olga Morozova 6-1, 6-2 to win her first French Open and maiden Grand Slam. She beat the USSR-native again in the final of Wimbledon (6-0, 6-4), which was also her first title at the English major. She ended her career with 18 Grand Slam titles.
With double triumphs in 1982 and 1984, Martina Navratilova became the first women to achieve the feat twice. She beat Andrea Jaeger and Evert to scoop the French Open and Wimbledon in 1982 before getting the better of Evert to win both titles two years later in 1984. The Czech professional also finished her career with 18 major titles.
Steffi Graf – 1988, 1993, 1995 and 1996
There have been few better female tennis players than Steffi Graf and that is reflected in the German’s outstanding Grand Slam record — which stands at 22 titles. She won the French Open-Wimbledon double on an impressive four occasions. Her maiden double was in 1988 when she defended her French Open trophy before defeating Navratilova at Wimbledon, winning the English title for the first time. She won all four Grand Slams that year.
Serena Williams – 2002 and 2015
It wouldn’t be a list of great achievements in the women’s game without Serena Williams making the list. The American’s French Open-Wimbledon double in 2002 marked her maiden victories at both tournaments. However, somewhat surprisingly, it was not until 2015 that she landed the rare feat again. After beating Maria Sharapova to win the Australian Open, Williams beat Lucie Šafářová and Garbiñe Muguruza to win both tournaments in 2015.