A Grand Slam or a Major tournament is the event of the highest tier in Tennis. Four Grand Slam tournaments are held during one season, starting from the Australian Open, then the French Open, Wimbledon, and finally the US Open. The sequence remains the same for these events.
The Australian Open is usually held in the second fortnight of January. The French Open is scheduled mainly in the last week of May followed by Wimbledon in the last week of June or the first week of July. The US Open also has a set period of being organized either in the last week of August or the first week of September.
While both the ATP and WTA Tour have events spread out throughout the season, the Majors are actually organized by the ITF. The Grand Slams have a draw of 128 singles players on both men’s and women’s sides. While the maximum points offered at a Tour event are 1000, the Majors offer 2000 ranking points to the winner.
For the women, the basic format for winning remains the same, winning two of the possible three sets. However, the match is contested in a best-of-five format in men’s singles. So far, 152 different men have won at least one Grand Slam singles title. In women’s, there have been 128 different champions to win a Major title.
List of Women with the most Grand Slam singles titles
The Grand Slam tournaments for women began back in 1884 with the Wimbledon being the first-ever event. The US Open was created in 1887 while the French Open arrived a decade later in 1897. The Australian Open was introduced only in 1922 marking the first year when all four Grand Slam tournaments were held for women.
The World War 2 years saw the suspension of tournaments. Normalcy resumed in 1946 with another big change on the way in 1967 with the creation of the Open Era. Hitherto, amateurs and professional players did not compete in the same draw but that changed in the Open Era.
Margaret Court with her 24 titles across the Amateur and Open Era leads the tally for most singles titles at the Grand Slam level. If only the Open Era is considered, American great Serena Williams leads the charts with 23 titles of her own. The dispute to decide whether Williams or Court is the player with most Majors continues to be debated in tennis circles. Many believe Williams should be the one given the title as she did entirely in the more competitive Open Era.
Others however believe if an all-time list is being created, Court cannot be overlooked. In the Open Era specifically, following Williams at 23 titles, Steffi Graf makes her way with 22 titles followed by a two-way tie between Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova on 18 Majors each. Court won 11 of her 24 titles in the Open Era and closes the Top-5 of players with the most Majors and more than 10 Majors.
Women with the most singles titles in Grand Slam events:
Margaret Court – 24 (Amateur + Open Era)
Serena Williams – 23 (Open Era only)
Steffi Graf – 22 (Open Era only)
Helen Wills Moody – 19 (Amateur Era only)
Martina Navratilova – 18 (Open Era only)
Chris Evert – 18 (Open Era only)
Billie Jean King – 12 (Amateur + Open Era)
List of Men with the most Grand Slam singles titles
As debatable the argument is on the women’s side about who is the outright leader, the men have had things quite easier. While the GOAT debate between Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic, looks never-ending, the argument on who leads the charts has already been settled.
Following the conclusion of the 2023 Australian Open, Djokovic tied Nadal on 22 Majors. Djokovic took the lead finally at the 2023 French Open at finally won his 24th major title at the 2023 US Open. Federer drops to the third spot while Nadal now sits on the second.
Pete Sampras is fourth on the list with 14 titles of his own. Roy Emerson won 12 all of those that came in the Amateur Era. If only the Open Era is considered, following Sampras, it is Bjorn Borg with his 11 titles. Aussie great Rod Laver also clinched Grand Slam singles on 11 occasions of which six came in the Amateur Era while the rest came in the Open Era.
Men with the most singles titles in Grand Slam events:
Novak Djokovic – 24 (Open Era only)
Rafael Nadal – 22 (Open Era only)
Roger Federer – 20 (Open Era only)
Pete Sampras – 14 (Open Era only)
Roy Emerson – 12 (Amateur Era only)
Bjorn Borg – 11 (Open Era only)
Rod Laver – 11 (Amateur + Open Era only)
List of players to win the ‘Grand Slam’
The term Grand Slam is often mistakenly denoted to the Grand Slam tournament disregarding its original meaning. The term in the literal sense is used to mark the event when one player managed to win all four Grand Slam events in a single calendar year, a very rare and difficult feat. So far, only three men and three women have managed to do so, of which only three achieved it in the Open Era.
Women to win the Grand Slam in their career:
Maureen Connoly – 1953 (*Except for the French Open, all three other Major events were played on grass)
Margaret Court – 1970 (*Except for the French Open, all three other Major events were played on grass)
Steffi Graf – 1988 (Remains the only player to win all four Grand Slam events and the Olympics singles Gold in the season thus achieving the ‘Golden Slam’)
Men to win the Grand Slam in their career:
Don Budge – 1938 (*Except for the French Open, all three other Major events were played on grass)
Rod Laver – 1962 (*Except for the French Open, all three other Major events were played on grass)
Rod Laver – 1969 (*Except for the French Open, all three other Major events were played on grass)
Sarthak Shitole is a tennis writer at FirstSportz having curated more than 3000 articles over the two and a half years he has been here. Having started as an intern, he is currently the content manager for tennis. He has been following the sport for more than a decade and over the years, has developed a neutral perspective on the sport while having an unbiased liking to a lot of players for their playing style. His interest extends to other games as well with a fascination to know about the sports' history and statistics as well.
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