50 Years of Margaret Court’s Calendar Grand Slam


In 1970 as the Open Era had just begun Australia’s Margaret Court achieved a rare honor in tennis. She won all 4 majors back to back in the same season. The illustrious record is known as the Calendar Grand Slam in tennis. Very few players have been able to achieve this great feat. A year before that in 1969, Court’s great compatriot Rod Laver had done so in Men’s tennis. Court retired in 1977 with 24 Grand slams. She continues to hold the record for most slams among female players. We rewind in history to look at her glorious achievement. 

The Dream Start

50 Years of Margaret Court’s Calendar Grand Slam
50 Years of Margaret Court’s Calendar Grand Slam

In Margaret Court’s time 3 of the 4 slams were played on grass courts. She was the top-seeded player in 1970 Australian Open and raced through the draw. Court then beat her fellow countrywoman Evonne Goolagong in the quarterfinals. She won the match in straight sets in a convincing fashion.  Her semi-final match with another fellow Aussie Karen Kranzcke again had the same result. Court beat another Australian Kerry Melville in the tournament decider. She thus took the first step towards it.

Margaret Court then continued her march to the Calendar Grand Slam on the clay of Paris. She powered through the initial matches with relative ease losing just one set. In the quarterfinal Margaret Court met Rosemary Casals of Germany, winning the match in straight sets. She then went on to beat America’s Julie Heldman in the semis in dominant fashion. Another straight sets win in the final against Germany’s Helga Niessen gave Margaret Court the French Open title. She was thus just two majors away from the Calendar Grand Slam. 

Completing The Calendar Grand Slam

50 Years of Margaret Court’s Calendar Grand Slam
50 Years of Margaret Court’s Calendar Grand Slam

Margaret Court again went to the grass of Wimbledon in dominant touch. After the early round byes she again clashed with German star Helga Niessen in the quarterfinals. The Aussie starlet lost the first set but came roaring back to win the other two. She handed her rival a double bagel (6-0) to book a place in the semis. Margaret Court then beat Rosie Casals of America in straight sets. She set a dream final date with long-time rival Billie Jean King of the United States. The tournament decider proved to be a nail-biting contest. Margaret Court won it in 2 very tight sets. She was now just one trophy away from the dream Calendar Grand Slam. 

The US Open was the final frontier for Margaret Court’s search for the Calendar Grand Slam. She was the top seed and defending champion in the tournament. Court raced through the earlier draw matches without even losing a single set. In the quarterfinal match she met fellow Australian Helen Gourlay. The top seed won the match in straight sets with a dominant score of 6-2, 6-2. In the semis she beat Nancy Richey of America and thus entered into her 4th major final of the season. 

In the final match Margaret Court decided another local favourite Rosie Casals. The match swung back and forth lasting 3 sets. The Aussie great had now made history in the sport by winning the Calendar Grand Slam. Her achievement has only once been repeated since then in 50 years.

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