Two weeks ago, Maria Sharapova pounced around the red courts of Roland Garros like a hyperactive child as she picked up her first French Open title and more importantly added her name to the prestigious list of career grand slam winners. But what does it mean to be a career grand slam winner?
Winning a career grand slam means world recognition for the winning individual. By making history, they will be cherished by droves of fans. It is more likely they will draw bigger crowds not only in grand slam matches but in the smaller tournaments for which they are competing. This, in turn, will not only raise ticket revenues across ATP matches but also hopefully raise the profile of the game.
Only seven men have won all four majors; a list which includes Roger Federer, Andre Agassi and Rafael Nadal. Maria Sharapova joins the likes of Chris Evert, Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova to have won all four grand slam tournaments. Also to note on this distinguished list, Australia’s Rod Laver, who has won a double slam and Steffi Graf, who achieved a quadruple career grand slam in her astonishing career.
There is no doubt the career grand slam winner will be fired up to retain their titles and win more and more tournaments, however they will need to show true grit for they will be pursued by a hungry pack. Simple logic suggests players want to play the best players and knock them down. For a long time Roger Federer dominated the men’s sport, however new competitors and champions have emerged to overtake him, such as Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin Del Potro.
Attaining a career grand slam will guarantee greater publicity for the player and the offer of lucrative endorsements and sponsorship deals. Roger Federer who completed his career grand slam in 2009 now endorses Gillette, Nike, Rolex and Mercedes, while Nadal (who accomplished the career grand slam in 2010) has sponsorship deals with Kia Motors and Babalat. There is a rolling debate whether sports personalities earn more from their career prize money or their sponsorship deals.