Qualifying begins: 20 June
The Draw: 24 June
Pre-event Press Conferences: 25 & 26 June
Order of Play: 26 June
Championships begin: 27 June
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With the world’s leading players descending on Roland Garros for the French Open, could anyone possibly emulate the Swede, the Spaniard and the Swiss?
The introduction last year of a three-week gap between Roland Garros and The Championships might have made the task a little less daunting, but apart from Nadal and Federer there are no current men who have won singles titles on both Court Philippe Chatrier and Centre Court, even in different years. With Federer missing his first Grand Slam tournament since 1999 because of a back injury, Nadal will be the only man in Paris who has won the two titles.
The only other current players who have won at either Roland Garros or Wimbledon are Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka. Djokovic, who needs to win the French Open to complete a “career Grand Slam” of the four major titles, won at The Championships in 2011, 2014 and 2015, while Murray ended Britain’s 77-year wait for a home champion in the gentlemen’s singles in 2013. Wawrinka is the defending French Open champion.
Remarkably, Borg and Nadal did the Paris-Wimbledon double three times and twice respectively. Borg had already claimed the French Open twice (1974 and 1975) and Wimbledon twice (1976 and 1977) when he won both in the same year for the first time in 1978.
Borg found a routine between Roland Garros and Wimbledon that clearly suited him. He would take three days of complete rest after winning the French Open and then stay in the north London suburb of Hampstead, just two minutes from the Cumberland club, where he would practise on grass for four hours a day.
The Swede won the 1978 French Open without dropping a set, but was soon in trouble at The Championships. Victor Amaya, a giant left-handed American, led Borg by two sets to one in the first round before succumbing. Borg dropped only one more set, against Jaime Fillol in the third round, before beating Jimmy Connors 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 in the final.
As Borg attempted to repeat his double triumph 12 months later he was again stretched in the early stages at The Championships. The elegant Indian player, Vijay Amritraj, won two of his first three sets against Borg before losing in five. In winning the title Borg beat five Americans, including Connors in straight sets in the semi-finals and Roscoe Tanner in a see-saw final, which the Swede won 6-7, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
In 1980 Borg again arrived at the All England Club having not dropped a set in winning the French Open. At The Championships Rod Frawley and Brian Gottfried each won a set against the Swede, who met John McEnroe in the American’s first Centre Court final.
It proved one of the greatest finals in the history of The Championships, with Borg winning 1-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7, 8-6. McEnroe, at 21 the younger man by three years, won the 22-minute tie-break at the end of the fourth set 18-16 – there has never been a longer tie-break in a Wimbledon final – but Borg rarely looked like losing the fifth set. It was a remarkable way to complete his third successive Roland Garros-Wimbledon double.
Nadal went into The Championships in 2008 having gone within one victory of completing the French Open-Wimbledon double in both the previous years, Federer denying him in the Centre Court final on each occasion. He had won the 2008 French Open without losing a set and had crushed Federer 6-1, 6-3, 6-0 in the final.
The Spaniard’s passage to the final at The Championships was almost as clear-cut, with Ernests Gulbis the only player to take a set off him. Federer once again stood between Nadal and his first All England Club title and this time the Majorcan was not to be denied. In perhaps the greatest of all Wimbledon finals, Nadal won 6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 9-7. The last final before the construction of Centre Court’s retractable roof ended in near darkness at 9.15pm.
Two years later Nadal again won the French Open without losing a set, but this time he struggled through the early rounds at The Championships, with Robin Haase and Philipp Petzschner both taking him the distance. Tomas Berdych removed Federer from the top half of the draw but lost to Nadal in straight sets in the final to give the Spaniard has second Paris-Wimbledon double.
In between Nadal’s two doubles, Federer also achieved the feat, helped in part by the absence of his great rival. In Paris he won the final against Robin Soderling, who had beaten Nadal in the fourth round.
At The Championships it was Federer’s turn to meet the Swede in the fourth round and he won in straight sets. The draw was reasonably kind to the Swiss that year, with Ivo Karlovic and Tommy Haas his victims in the quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively.
Andy Roddick, however, provided a huge test in the final. Federer eventually won 5-7, 7-6, 7-6, 3-6, 16-14 to secure the victory that took him past Pete Sampras’ all-time men’s record of 14 Grand Slam singles titles. In terms of the number of games played (77) it was the longest final in Grand Slam history.
Laver is the last man to have done the pure Grand Slam of all four major titles in the same year. He performed the feat twice - in 1962 as an amateur and in 1969 after tennis had gone open.
He had won the hard way in Paris in 1962 after being taken to five sets in his last three matches.
At The Championships, however, Manuel Santana was the only player to take a set off the Australian, who beat Martin Mulligan for the loss of just five games in the final.
In 1969 Laver came back from two sets down to beat Premjit Lall in the second round at The Championships, having done the same at the same stage of the French Open against Dick Crealy. Laver needed another five sets to overcome Stan Smith in the fourth round and beat John Newcombe 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 in the final.
Between 1925, when Roland Garros opened its championships to overseas competitors for the first time, and Laver’s Grand Slam of 1962, seven players did the French-Wimbledon double: Rene Lacoste (1925), Jack Crawford (1933), Fred Perry (1935), Donald Budge (1938), Budge Patty (1950), Tony Trabert (1955) and Lew Hoad (1956).
Perry was the first Briton to win in Paris. In his 1984 autobiography he admitted that his 1935 victory, secured with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 win over Baron Gottfried von Cramm, had been “a little to my surprise”. He explained: “I had never previously seemed able to string good tennis together for long enough on the slow clay of Roland Garros Stadium, but this time it worked.”
The same two players contested the final at The Championships a month later, with Perry winning 6-2, 6-4, 6-4. Eighty-one years on, how home supporters would love Murray to match another of the many achievements of his celebrated British predecessor.