One nice thing about Twitter is that it gives the world a window into what would formerly have been semi-private pictures. Not personal, perhaps, but not things ordinary citizens would ever get to see.
This was posted by Judy Murray, mother of Andy. She titled it "Mums. Grannies. Friends. Me and Djana Djokovic. Toasting our sons." Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic vied for the French Open title in tennis yesterday.
Judy Murray's son hasn't lacked for surpassing accomplishments—first Briton (he's Scottish) to win a grand slam tournament since 1977, first male Briton to win Wimbledon in 77 years (in 2013; Fred Perry did it in 1936*), akin at the time to the Red Sox winning the World Series; and he's the current Olympic Gold Medalist, won for the glory of Britannia when London hosted the 2012 games.
But Djana Djokovic's son set himself apart yesterday. Grand Slams in either golf or tennis are the among the most difficult achievements in all of sports—more rare than Triple Crowns in horse racing or repeat championships in pro team sports. For many tennis players, the French, which is played on clay and usually won by clay-court specialists or people with a particular talent for it, has eluded many otherwise dominant players. The list of players who won all the majors except the French is a long one. By winning yesterday, Novak Djokovic becomes only the eighth male tennis player ever to win all four majors in a career (Fred Perry, mentioned above, was the first to do it), and just the third man ever to hold all four major titles concurrently (something Tiger Woods achieved in golf)—Rod Laver, second and so far last player to win the Grand Slam, was the last man of whom that could be said, at the very dawn of the open (i.e., mixed amateur and professional) era in tennis, in 1969.
It's something I have long thought was no longer achievable.
Even so, Djokovic has two more steps to the ultimate: the so-called "calendar" or true Grand Slam, which consists of winning all four majors in the same year; and the "Golden Slam," a term that had to be invented when the incomparable German player Steffi Graf won all four majors and the Olympic Gold Medal in 1988.
I played tennis throughout my younger years (though not well) and used to follow it closely. I would just dearly love to see Novak Djokovic win the Grand Slam; it's honestly something I never thought I could see in my lifetime. Only two men have ever accomplished the feat, American Don Budge and Australian Rod Laver (who did it twice, once in the amateur era and once in the Open era). I think, in my armchair in front of the computer screen with my ignorant sportsfan opinionation, that Novak should skip the Olympics if the possibility of a Grand Slam is alive. He, however, has vowed to play for Serbia and will be making his task even harder by playing in the Olympics.
He's got the best chance of any man ever to do it, but it's a very, very tall order. If he manages it he will truly belong on Mount Olympus, with the contending lower-case gods of sport.
*Interestingly, Fred Perry for many decades had an uneasy relationship with his native country, to the extent that he emigrated to the U.S. In the amateur era, out of snobbery that we now feel was misplaced, "professional" was such a dirty word that even the amateur accomplishments of players who later turned pro were stigmatized and minimized.
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