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J Donald Budge Tenni9s Hall of Famer: Don Budge Grand Slam Record Extended in 2012
Don Budge's tennis Grand Slam record set in 1938 still stands in 2012. He was the first man to win the Tennis Grand Slam. Rod Laver equaled the record by winning a Grand Slam as an amateur in 1962. But, Budge's record of being the only male U.S. Grand Slam winner still stands in 2011. No U.S. player can win a calendar year Grand Slam in 2012 because Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Andy Murray of Great Britain were the finalists. Djokovic won. The Budge record is one of the longest running major sports record in U.S. modern history. One of the great debates in tennis is who is the greatest male player. Among the names regularly touted in the U.S. are Don Budge, Pancho Gonzalez, John McEnroe, Pete Sampras, Bill Tilden, Jack Kramer, Bobby Riggs, and Andre Agassi.
Aussies have their own home-grown favorites, such as Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, Lew Hoad, Frank Sedgeman, Ken Rosewall, Pat Rafter, John Newcomb, Tony Roche, Lleyton Hewitt, Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde among others. The Spanish, like Rafa Nadal, Manolo Santana, Albert Costa, Emilio Sanchez,and Juan Carlos Ferraro, The French like their four musketeers, Yanique Noah, Guy Forget, and Henri Leconte. Swedes have Stefan Edberg, Bojorn Borg, Mats Wilander, and Jonas Bjorkman. South Americans like Gustavo Kuertin, Alex Olmedo, Marcelo Rios, Guillermo Vilas, and Juan Martin Del Potro.
Current tennis commentators consider Federer the most likely top all-time great candidate, with the possibility that Rafael Nadal might surpass Federer. Federer and Nadal have each achieved a career Grand Slam, but not a calendar as of 2012.
Budge liked to think that winning the Grand Slam and being dominant on all tennis court surfaces should be a pre-condition of being considered the best or among the top few best players. No male professional tour player has ever won a calendar Grand Slam, all four major events in the Grand Slam circuit, except Laver. Laver won Grand Slam as an amateur and one as a professional. The tour switched from an amateur Grand Slam circuit to the Open era in 1969, when amateurs and professionals could compete together on teh tour.
Prior to 1969, only amateurs could compete in a Grand Slam event. During Budge's professional tennis career, he was the dominant amateur in the world before he turned professional. Pros could not compete for the Grand Slam crown. And, unfortunately, he was injured during World War II. Though he still won pro circuit events after the war, he was not as dominant after the injury. Budge never had the opportunity to go for a Grand Slam once he turned pro. The rules prevented him from doing so. Laver was in the era when he could win the crown as an amateur, which he did in 1962, and as a professional in 1969.
Because of their Grand slam record, Budge and Laver are frequently mentioned as a possible number one all-time great players. Budge told me that he worked with Laver in 1962 just before the fourth and final Grand Slam leg at the U.S. Open, then held at Forest Hills, New York. During work outs, the two players competed in two exhibition sets, with Laver winning one and Budge the other. Budge was well past his prime at 45 at that time. At the Don Budge Grand Slam program, we think that Budge could have been very competitive had the two played in the same era as Laver.
Budge said that many top pros who wanted to be considered as an all-time great were unable to dominate on one or more surfaces. Borg never won the U.S. Open, though was one of the two best all-time players on clay and set a record for most back-to-back Roland Garros and Wimbledon tourneys. McEnroe and Sampras did not win the Roland Garros (French Open) in their careers. Andre Agassi accomplished a career Grand Slam, but he never took a calendar Grand Slam.
Also, Sampras held a 19-14 edge over Agassi in major tournaments, including three of four of the major Grand Slam events. Sampras held a dominating 53-1 Wimbledon record on grass (losing once to Federer). Federer won Roland Garros in 2009, but Federer had never beaten Nadal at Roland Garros. So unless they meet when Nadal is healthy, we will never know if Federer could beat Nadal at Roland Garros.
Roland Garros French Open remains the most challenging tournament on the pro circuit and the most difficult major tournament for U.S. players to win. Tony Trabert, Michael Chang, Jim Courier, and Andre Agassi are the only U.S. male players to have won at Roland Garros since Budge. But in recent years, even the Australian Open has posed an insurmountable hurdle for U.S. male players. The Budge record has rarely been under serious challenge in recent years because no U.S. male tennis player has copped the Australian Open. The rise of so many strong players internationally is making it difficult for a U.S. male player to accomplish a Grand Slam in the immediate future. John Issner and Ryan Harrison appear to be ones having the best chance.
Just before Don Budge died in January 2001, while in a hospital being treated for injuries sustained in an auto accident the month before, he expressed satisfaction that his record had endured into the 21st century. We, at the Don Budge Grand Slam Tennis Program, tip our tennis caps to Don Budge in 2010 for another year in which his record has survived.
To keep up with grand slam, other pro tour events, and tennis generally, check the links below. For further news about other major tournaments our Newsfax and Don Budge Grand Slam Program site contains links to other tennis tournaments, events, player profiles, interviews, educational or coaching matters, and some local links from Budge's home community in Pike County, PA, which was his home for the second half of his life. He lived in Oakland, California for the other half of his life.
We welcome comments and appreciate your interest and hope you share our passion for Don Budge and his positive influence on the game. He set a standard for modern tennis that is still being felt and his accomplishments are major challenges for North American players.
Budge's all-court game was a powerful influence on Aussie players and coaches, especially Harry Hopman, according to Laver. Hopman's influence on tennis was enormous. Many of the top male and female (i.e. Margaret Court) and male (Laver) athletes Hopman recruited to play tennis went on to be Tennis Hall of Fame players.
Hopman's mentoring of Rod Laver bore fruit when Laver won the Grand Slam once as an amateur and once as a professional. Hopman also mentored and taught John McEnroe in the United States at Hopman's Long Island academy. One of Hopman's pros there was Nick Bolletteri. Bolletteri piggy backed on Hopman's training and mentoring ideas and kicked it up several notches . Bolletteri opened a year-round indoor-outdoor training center in Florida. He parlayed the knowledge-base gleaned from Hopman, U.S. Marine Corps discipline, and Hopman's vision on how to train top athletes into one of the greatest tennis academies in history.
It is quite amazing how one player, such as Budge, could reach across the decades and continue to cast such a big shadow on tennis. We acknowledge our gratitude for our friend and neighbor Don Budge for imparting to us personally his pursuit of excellence, peerless on-court sportsmanship, and of mentoring our head pro and programs. We also acknowledge our gratitude for the fine high standards of play and sportsmanship set by Aussie players and coaches of the golden era of Aussie tennis from the late 1940's to the 1970's, who also helped influence our playing, teaching, and coaching style. Our head pro attended the U.S. Nationals (before it was the U.S. Open) when it was held on the grass courts of Forest Hills (Country Club) Stadium, in Forest Hills, Queens, NY. during the 1950s and 1960s. There, he learned by watching the artistry of future Hall of Famers during the tournament and exhibition by touring pros. His game still shows the influence of Ken Rosewall, Laver, Ashley Cooper, Neal Fraser, Cliff Richey, and Gonzales,
EPD Click ball for Eastern Pensylvania Distict EPD, the primary community tennis organization (the USTA) in Don Budge's region.
House: Long Lasting Flowers
Budge liked dropping by nearby Milford to have his morning breakfast in town.
Apple Valley Restaurant, Mount
Haven Restaurant, and the
Dimmick Inn Steakhouse in Milford PA
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Don Budge: Historical Tennis Legacy
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Don Budge Tennis Links
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Ferry Resident, Pike County, Pennsylvania, USA
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