A Grand Slam of engraved trophiesClive
The four most important dates in the tennis world calendar are known as the Grand Slam tournaments. A Grand Slam is achieved when all four tournaments are won in the same calendar year, and this can be in any of the five events, singles or doubles. Hotly competed for by the world’s best tennis players, they play for ranking points, prize money and some of the most sought after trophies in the sporting world.
The Australian Open
Played in January, the Australian Open is the first major to be contested. The winner of the men’s singles can expect to lift the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup. It stands 17 inches tall and was designed in the style of the Warwick Vase. Large figures are etched onto the cup itself, but it has been described as ‘gaudy’ and ‘outlandish’ by some tennis fans. The winner’s name is added to those already engraved on the plinth.
Winners of the ladies’ singles are presented with the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup, named after the famous tennis player who tragically died aged 29 in 1933. The trophy itself is tall and elegant and adorned with crossed rackets on the plinth and lid. The winners names are engraved on the cup.
The French Open
Played in May and June, the French Open is next on the Grand Slam itinerary. Here, the Musketeers’ Cup is fiercely competed for. Named after the four Frenchmen who took victory in the 1928 Davis Cup, the Coup des Mousquetaires, as it is known in France, is modelled on the style of a Roman bowl. A simple, understated appearance, the wide bowl is trimmed with a floral decoration on the top and the bottom. It is seated on a black marble plinth where the winners’ names are engraved.
The ladies’ singles champion receives the Suzanne Lenglen Cup, or the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen, named after the French champion who may be regarded by some as the sport’s greatest female tennis player.
The oldest and most prestigious tournament in the Grand Slam is played on the famous grass courts of the All England Club in Wimbledon during June and July. The winner of the men’s singles is presented with an 18.5 inches tall and 7.5 inches wide trophy. The silver gilt cup is engraved ‘All England Lawn Tennis Club Single Handed Champion of the World’.
The ladies’ champion is presented with the Venus Rosewater Dish, a wide sterling silver salver decorated with ornate mythical figures. Both the original trophies remain the property of the club, with the winners being given three-quarter sized replicas to take home with them.
The U.S. Open
The final tournament to be contested is played at Flushing Meadows, New York and is considered the most fan friendly, as players often give courtside interviews. The trophies for both men’s and ladies’ singles are unnamed, but are still imposing and impressive trophies, engraved with past and present winners’ names. A recent tradition among U.S. Open winners is to take the trophy up to the viewing platform of the Empire State Building for a rather unique ‘selfie’.
Past, present and future winners of the Grand Slam would no doubt agree that tennis boasts some of the finest trophies to be won in the sporting arena.