SEOUL, South Korea - On October 1, 1988, exactly 29 years ago, one of the all-time greats achieved one of the greatest - if not the greatest - feats in tennis history, as Steffi Graf completed the only-ever Calendar-Year Golden Grand Slam, winning all four majors and Olympic gold all in a single season.
Perhaps the most amazing thing about Graf’s Golden Slam - other than the fact that it’s the only one in existence - is that it’s not like she had much experience winning majors going into 1988. She was still a teenager and only had one major to her name before that year, at the French Open in 1987.
But nevertheless the German swept all four Grand Slam tournaments that year, winning her first Australian Open (beating Chris Evert in the final, 6-1 7-6(3)), her second French Open (beating Natasha Zvereva in the final, 6-0 6-0), her first Wimbledon (beating Martina Navratilova in the final, 5-7 6-2 6-1) and finally her first US Open (beating Gabriela Sabatini in the final, 6-3 3-6 6-1).
A few weeks after her triumph in New York, on the Olympic tennis courts of Seoul, South Korea, Graf captured her first gold medal, beating Sabatini in the gold medal match in straight sets, 6-3 6-3.
Last year, in an interview with the AFP news agency, Graf said she believes her feat can be repeated.
“There are some extraordinary athletes. Novak Djokovic, or Serena Williams, Andy Murray,” she said.
“I think someone will achieve it.”
We’ll have to wait until Tokyo in 2020 to see if one of those players - or someone else - can do it.
But for now let’s look back with some throwbacks to October 1, 1988, the day Graf made history:
~ Steffi Graf and Ivan Lendl were the World No.1s.
~ Four of the current men’s Top 10 - and eight of the current women’s Top 10 - weren’t born yet.
~ Marin Cilic was four days old.
~ NBA star Kevin Durant was three days old.
~ And this was the No.1 song in the US: