The Grand Slam of tennis is so rare that only five players can claim one, and no player has achieved the feat since 1988. The Golden Slam, winning all four majors and a gold medal in the same year, is almost impossible. Only Steffi Graf had already done it.
Until Sunday, when it was performed twice.
First, Diede de Groot of the Netherlands, who won wheelchair competition at the US Open to complete a sweep of the four Grand Slam tournaments of the year to go along with his Paralympic gold medal.
Later in the day, Australian Dylan Alcott achieved the same feat in the men’s quad event. (Unlike those in the wheelchair division like de Groot, quad players also have significant loss of function in at least one upper limb.)
De Groot beat Yui Kamiji of Japan, the same woman she beat in Australia, France and the Paralympics, 6-3, 6-2. Her Golden Slam hardly started this year: She needed a third set tiebreaker to beat Kamiji at the Australian Open.
Despite the accomplishment, De Groot, 24, said she felt a bit disappointed with her game: “After such a long time traveling and being all over the world, I also think we are all two a little tired, I think you could see it in the game, unfortunately.
Sunday’s Open championship was the 12th in a Grand Slam singles event for De Groot, still behind the record of 21 set by compatriot Esther Vergeer earlier this century.
Alcott beat Dutch Niels Vink, 18, 7-5, 6-2, to complete his own Golden Slam. It was Alcott’s 15th Grand Slam singles title. Because the quad event is only three years old at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, it was the first chance for any quad athlete to win a Golden Slam.
“Everyone in this room asked me, ‘Do you think about the Golden Slam?’ Said Alcott, 30. “I said, ‘No, I don’t care’ all year round. Of course I cared. It’s good not to pretend anymore.
In 1988, Graf said after finishing his Golden Slam at the Seoul Olympics: “I’m very excited. This is something that few people will achieve after me.
It took 33 years. And then it only took a few hours.