The four Grand Slams in tennis are always the eight most anticipated weeks of the year. Four tournaments, in four different countries, help determine who the best players are on the men’s and women’s side.
While winning any major can be a huge accomplishment, which Grand Slam is the most prestigious? The four are ranked below based on history, perception, coverage, and more.
4. Australian Open
The first Grand Slam of the calendar year is the Australian Open. It takes place at the end of January, and is an early showcase of which players have made improvements during the short offseason. The history of the Australian Open as a true international Grand Slam is not as long as the others, but that’s not the only reason it is generally thought of as the fourth Grand Slam.
Having a tennis tournament in the middle of the winter for the northern hemisphere is a bit puzzling for some fans. A lot of tennis fans indeed pay attention to the sport when it is nice enough to play outdoors where they live.
That is generally not the case with the Australian Open, and it also comes on at weird times for people in the United States and Europe. For people in the United States to watch the matches live, they need to change their entire sleep schedule.
Make no mistake, the Australian Open is still a huge deal. It is very well attended every year, and it is very much a Grand Slam with all the best players participating. In fact, there are a lot of fans who believe that the Australian Open can sometimes be the most competitive, because players are much more refreshed than during the middle of the summer.
With all that said, the prestige of the Australian Open is not as high as the other three. The exception to that is Australians who make a deep run at the tournament. Winning a Grand Slam in a home country is always going to be a big deal.
3. French Open
The French Open is just a little bit different than any other tournament for the mere fact that it is played on red clay. It’s often thought of as the most grueling Grand Slam event, as points are usually a little longer on the surface than the others. That’s because the ball slows down just enough to make it reachable.
There’s also a lot of history around the French Open, dating back to well over 100 years ago. It used to be a tournament that started with just French players. Then, players from Europe, and eventually the world, started showing up soon after.
The one thing that has kept the French Open from having that electric atmosphere is the lack of night matches. There’s a curfew at the French Open, and it sometimes backs up to tournaments because of it. It would be interesting to watch the French Open battled under the lights, but that doesn’t seem to be happening anytime soon.
There have also been some incidents where fans and players don’t exactly get along. The French crowd has the reputation of being a little bit rude compared to the other three majors, which has turned some incidents a little ugly. That’s not too big of an issue, but it does play a factor when comparing the four Grand Slams.
Truth be told, the French Open could easily be number two on his list. Many probably have it listed as such. It’s just a little below the U.S. Open, in our opinion, but they are still very eager to get behind a French player who could win the tournament. They haven’t had a men’s winner since the 1980s, but there are enough skilled players out there to possibly make a push.
2. US Open
Other than the most prestigious Grand Slam tournament in the world, the other three are all battling for second. This might not be the universal way of thinking about things, but the U.S. Open is the second most prestigious Grand Slam of them all. A lot of that comes down to just how gigantic the tournament has turned into, and the energy provided for the players.
During the end of summer in New York City, the U.S. Open is a little louder and crazier than the other tournaments. Matches can go deep into the night, and they usually become one of the most memorable matches of the year.
The tournament still tries to keep things relatively quiet during points, but there’s a little bit more leeway as far as crowd noise is concerned.
The U.S. Open is the final major of the year, so some view it as the final test of a long summer. It is a test of endurance and strength, since the weather is usually pretty hot as well.
It comes in at #2 on the list, and recent improvements to the facility show that they are extremely committed to making it a true standout sporting event.
People look at Wimbledon as the most prestigious tournament in tennis to this day. Even though it is played on grass courts, rarely used anywhere else, there is so much history surrounding the venue that people inevitably tune in.
Winning at Wimbledon matters a little bit more, and it helps that it is in a prime spot for television during the summer.
Another thing that helps Wimbledon stand out and truly be the best of the best is its unique clothing restrictions. For people to play, they have to wear all white during a match. Even though it kills any individuality that players can strive for, there’s something to be said for tradition reigning supreme.
All the great players have been able to hoist the trophy, but that’s not exactly the same for other tournaments.
Grass is a challenging surface that changes during the two weeks, but the best players always find a way to make it work. Winning here is just a little bit different, and can throw any player into the limelight.
Will There Ever be Another Grand Slam?
There have always been rumors swirling around as to whether or not another Grand Slam is added to the mix for tennis. Many people seem to be against it, as four Grand Slams is a pretty well-known number. It would take a lot of additional effort to fit it into the schedule and build up the tournaments that much more.
Some places would undoubtedly love to have the prestige of another Grand Slam, but picking the venue would be challenging as well. Countries like China, Spain, and even the United States (in a different location) would love to have the fifth Grand Slam.
It would instantly be the least prestigious, but no one should ever say never as far as one being added to the list. Up until the 1980s, the Australian Open was not always recognized as a fourth Grand Slam.
Why All Four Grand Slams Matter
At the end of the day, all four Grand Slams are weighted pretty much equal as far as historical rankings are concerned. Every player has their own preference as far as the surface is concerned, and one also has to factor in where a player is from individually.
All in all, tennis fans watch all four to see who is the current champion against the best. It’s common for people to have preferences, but most can agree that Wimbledon still matters a little bit more.