With Novak Djokovic winning in Australia, most of the coverage has focused on Andy Murray coming up short in his 3rd slam final (a damning stat – 3 finals, 0 sets won).
I thought I would concentrate on Djokovic instead. Djokovic has now won 2 of his 4 slam finals, which is not bad in the scheme of things. Amongst current players, only Federer (16-6), Nadal (9-2) and Del Potro (1-0) are in better shape. Hewitt is the same (2-2), there’s Ferrero on 1-1, while Roddick (1-4) had the misfortune of coming up against Federer in his prime 4 times.
For Murray, the only other multiple slam loser currently is Soderling with 0-2. The 1-time finalists I won’t list here.
However – one facet of Djokovic’s win is that it moves him from the one-time winner list to multiple winners, and does the Australian Open a favour at the same time.
The mark of a great player is winning more than one slam, ideally at more than one venue. Single slam winners are one-offs. They devalue the currency of the slam win, and don’t foster the key element to tennis’ popularity – rivalries.
Of course, Federer and Nadal were one-slam winners for a while. As you get generation shifts – Sampras and Agassi retire, Federer and Nadal emerge – you will expect to see a few one-off winners. But with Djokovic going from one to two, it seems a good moment to look at the list. Which slam has had the most one-off winners since the Open era began?
The answer is…. The French. By a long way. NOTE: I’ve updated this with figures for men and women.
Australian Open: 6
French Open: 10
US Open: 3
Australian Open: 3
French Open: 7
US Open: 1
I’ve also looked at single-venue slam winners. Djokovic falls into this category.
Australian Open: 8
French Open: 12
US Open: 4
Australian Open: 4
French Open: 7
US Open: 2
For men, Interestingly, if you win Wimbledon, either that’s your lot (Cash, Krajicek, Ivanisevic, Stich) or you go on to win at other slam venues as well (although 3 of those 4 were multiple finalists).
The French has winners that have never even appeared in a final again – Gaudio, Muster, Gomez. It also has the only player with 3 slams at one venue: Kuerten.
For the women, it’s a lot fewer – but the French still stands out, with fairly mediocre players such as Iva Majoli and Anastasia Myskina standing out as utter one-offs.
Here are the combined figures – The French is simply the worst of the grand slams in terms of big-name winners. The US is the best.
Australian Open: 9
French Open: 17
US Open: 4
Australian Open: 12
French Open: 19
US Open: 6
Here’s the data where I worked it all out.