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.
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
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.
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.
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.