Grand Slam Tennis Championships
There are four Major tennis championships, also referred to as Slam championships: the Australian Open, French Open, US Open and Wimbledon. Grand Slam is victory in all four tournaments gained by a player or a doubles team in the same year. A Non-Calendar Year Grand Slam is four consecutive wins, but not in the same year; a Career Grand Slam is winning all four at some point of a player's career.
Wimbledon is the oldest of tennis competitions and, without doubt, the most prestigious one. It first took place in 1877 with only twenty-two players; it was won by Spencer. Despite being a national championship tournament, Wimbledon was open to foreign players. May Sutton of the United States became the first non-British champion when she won the ladies' singles title in 1905. Two years later, Norman Brookes of Australia won the men's singles. Held every June and July at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London, Wimbledon competition is often attended by royalty and celebrities who got official invitation from the Chairman of the Club.
The first Men's U.S. National Championship was held at the Newport Casino in 1881. But the Open Era started in 1968 when five different competitions were combined into one US Open Championships, held at the West Side Tennis Club in Queens. 96 men and 63 women were competing, and the prize money equaled $100,000. This is the fourth and final event of the Grand Slam tennis tournaments, held annually in August and September over a two week period.
The first French tennis tournament was held in Paris in 1899. It was a one-day national event with very poor attendance. In 1925, the Open era started when professionals from all over the world were allowed to participate. The Rolland Garros stadium was built in 1927 as an answer to a pressing need for a site to hold the Davis Cup after a win by the Four Musketeers - Jacques Brugnon, Jean Borotra, Henri Cochet and Rene Lacoste. The French Open men's trophy is the Musketeers Cup, and women compete for the Suzanne Lenglen Cup.
Australian Open is the youngest of the four Grand Slams. Its history goes back to 1905 when the first competition took place on the lawns of the Warehouseman's Cricket Club. In 1927 tennis tournament became known as Australian Championships and only in 1969 it got its official title - Australian Open. The competition moved from location to location until 1988 when the Flinders Park in Melbourne became its permanent site due to the large capacity. This is also the only venue among the tennis Grand Slam tournaments that has a retractable roof, therefore weather conditions never get on the way of the match.
The first Wimbledon final in history had an audience of two hundred people who paid a shilling apiece to watch the game; to compare,the price of usopen tickets goes as high as $5500. And the popularity of this sport is constantly growing.