In Tennis, winning all four Grand Slams is a massive achievement. If they achieve all four Grand Slam titles in the same year, it is a monumental feat. However, in that same year, if they win the Olympic Gold medal as well, then it redefines the boundaries of freakish performance. The feat of winning all four Grand Slams plus the Olympic gold in the same year is called the Golden Grand Slam. When this question is asked as to who has achieved the Golden Grand Slam in Tennis, everyone will say Steffi Graf.
Graf achieved the Golden Grand Slam when she won the Australian, French, Wimbledon, and US Open titles in 1988. She added the Olympic gold medal to her kitty as she redefined the very nature of dominance. Novak Djokovic was attempting to win the Golden Grand Slam in 2021 having won the Australian, French, and Wimbledon titles. But, he lost in Tokyo Olympics and in the final of the US Open, thus denying him the chance to create history.
However, is Graf the only player to have achieved the Golden Grand Slam? The answer is NO. There are two other players who achieved the Golden Grand Slam and that too in the same year. They are Diede de Groot and Dylan Alcott. Their achievements do not gain much traction as they are specially-abled Tennis players.
When one looks at the achievements of Diede de Groot, she has achieved legendary numbers just at the age of 24. At such a young age, she has already won 12 Grand Slam singles titles and the same number of doubles titles. De Groot, born on 19 December 1996, was born with unequal lengths on her legs. This resulted in her being confined to a wheelchair from a young age. At the age of seven, she started her journey in wheelchair Tennis.
In 2009, at the age of 13, De Groot was in the ITF Wheelchair Tennis Tour as a Junior Player. After some success in the junior tournaments, she started her career in grand style in the senior tournaments. The year 2017 was the year De Groot launched her career in a big way. She reached the quarterfinal of the Australian and French Open but in Wimbledon, she attained glory by winning the title. De Groot reached the final of the US Open but she had started to make big waves.
During the 2018 season, de Groot won the Australian, Wimbledon, and US Open titles, missing out on the French Open. She secured a historic feat in 2019 as she won the French Open and achieved the Career Slam. After winning the US Open in a year that was impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, de Groot was in fine form heading into 2021.
De Groot started the year in grand style as she defeated Yuki Kamji, the defending Australian Open champion in a tough three-set encounter. The French Open saw a repeat, with de Groot defeating Kamji in two sets. The Japanese player was the defending champion even at the French Open. De Groot secured the hat-trick when she won the Wimbledon title in straight sets by beating Kgothatso Montijane 6-2,6-2. In the Tokyo Olympics, she once again got the better of Kamji as she won the gold medal match in two sets.
Having secured the Australian, French, Wimbledon, and Olympic gold, de Groot set her sights on the US Open. She made it four out of four against Kamji as she won the match in straight sets to achieve the Golden Grand Slam. The year 2021 was golden in many ways, with de Groot winning the doubles title at the Australian, French, and US Open titles. In fact, she secured the Grand Slam even in doubles in 2021, with Wimbledon’s doubles event not being held.
If De Groot was dominating the women’s section of the draw, then Dylan Alcott was dominating the men’s circuit. At a young age, Alcott was diagnosed with a tumor wrapped around his spinal cord. After the operation, the tumor was cut out but he became a paraplegic. This confined him to a wheelchair from a very young age.
Like de Groot, Alcott has also achieved the career Grand Slam in Tennis in both the singles and doubles. His first major titles came in the year 2015 when he won the Australian and US Open. In Australia, he dominated in grand style as he won five consecutive titles from 2016 to 2020. After winning the US Open in 2018, he added the French and Wimbledon titles in 2019. With this, he achieved the career Grand Slam. In 2019, he achieved the Grand Slam even in doubles. Alcott won the Australian, French, Wimbledon, and US Open titles.
Alcott’s streak in the Australian Open is legendary. He has won seven consecutive singles titles and four doubles titles on the trot from 2015 onwards. Having won the French and Australian Opens during a troubled 2020, Alcott set his sights for a glorious 2021.
2021 began in grand style for Alcott. The Australian won his seventh consecutive Australian Open with a 6-1,6-0 win against Sam Schroder. The French Open saw a repeat of Australia. Once again, Alcott got the better of Schroder in straight sets. Alcott achieved a hat-trick of wins against Schroder as he won the Wimbledon title 6-2,6-2 to come closer to history.
In the Paralympics, Alcott made it four out of four against Schroder. The Australian won the gold medal in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. He beat the Dutch player 7-6, 6-1 to win the gold medal for the first time. At the US Open, Alcott became the first male player to achieve the golden Grand Slam. He defeated Niels Vink in straight sets to achieve history.
When one looks at the Open Era of Tennis, we look at the achievements of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal. But, Alcott has shown that he is greater than all of them, winning all four Grand Slams twice as well as securing the Golden Grand Slam. The exploits of de Groot and Alcott show that their records are legendary and perhaps, might never be broken.