Has the meaning of \”grand slam\” changed in tennis?

Fairytale of New York: Murray beats Djokovic to taste grand slam glory
The Scot wins his first grand slam at the fifth attempt,

Guardian front page.

Well done to the lad and all that. I\’m talking though purely about words here.

I was always under the impression that the Big Four were the slams (US, French, Oz Opens plus Wimbledon).

A career slam was to have won each of these events once (or more) in a career.

A Grand Slam was holding all four titles at the same time: a much, much, rarer event, obviously.

Could be that I\’m entirely mistaken of course but that\’s how I remember it. Meaning that Murray has won his first slam event (Hurrah! Congrats etc.) but is nowhere near anything like a grand slam.

Which leaves me with my question(s).

Am I right and The Guardian simply wrong here? Am I wrong? Or have the words/phrases been changing meanings over the years?

9 thoughts on “Has the meaning of \”grand slam\” changed in tennis?”

  1. According to Wikipedia, you’re both right and wrong:

    “The term Grand Slam also, and originally, refers to the achievement of winning all four major championships in a single calendar year within one of the five disciplines… The term “Grand Slam” without qualification refers to winning the four majors in a single calendar year. However, the term “Grand Slam” when used with an indefinite article is widely accepted as referring to any one of the Majors(e.g. “Bruce won a grand slam title this year”).”

  2. Funny, the Wikipedia example sentence doesn’t actually illustrate the point it claims to be making, because it says ‘a grand slam title’, not ‘a grand slam’.

  3. I always thought that a ‘Grand Slam’ came from baseball .
    Hitting a Home Run with all bases loaded , thus scoring 4 runs.
    Quite how it transferred to tennis no idea, but I would think that you would need to win all 4 in the same year for it to qualify as a Grand Slam

  4. Slam in this sense comes originally from card games, meaning winning all the tricks. Whist developed a distinction between “Small Slam” 12 out of 13 tricks, and “Grand Slam” – all 13.

    To answer the original question: the meaning of the words in tennis circles has changed.

  5. Just ordinary grade inflation. Once a grand slam was winning all four, now it’s used to mean winning any one of the four.

  6. If truth and accuracy was part of a journalists job description there would not be many left in their job or politicians come to that.

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