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Grand Slams
June 2003

Four major tournaments make up the Grand Slam of tennis: the Australian Open, the French Open (Roland Garros), Wimbledon, and the U.S. Open. The events are the most cherished prizes in the sport. Winning one of these titles puts a player in a special class; winning all four grand slams in the same year earns a competitor the ultimate Grand Slam title.

The Australian Open takes place in Melbourne, Australia, and is the first grand slam event of the tennis season. The tournament is played on a surface called rebound ace, which is a soft variety of a hard court. Because the competition is held in the southern hemisphere during the month of January, players are subject to the blistering-hot temperatures of the Australian summer.

The French Open is played in Paris, France, and is the second grand slam tournament of the year. It takes place in May on the red clay courts of Roland Garros Stadium, a surface that slows the ball down and makes the points last longer than points played on faster court surfaces such as grass or hard courts.

Wimbledon is held at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon, England. This tournament takes place in July and is the only grand slam event that is played on grass. Unlike clay, grass is very fast and the surface starts to die as the tournament progresses, making it even more difficult to play on and creating short points. Players also have to combat frequent rain, which often suspends matches.

The U.S. Open is held every September at the United States Tennis Association (USTA) National Tennis Center in Flushing, New York. This tournament is unique because players are subjected to raucous crowds and noise from planes that fly overhead from nearby airports. The U.S. Open is played on acrylic cement, which, like the Australian Open courts, is a hard tennis court that is very fast.


 
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