Triple Crown Triumphs
Published Feburary 26, 2010 12:00
Tennis' Triple Crown - winning the singles, doubles and mixed doubles events at the same major in the same year - is an incredibly rare feat, as few players nowadays even compete in all three at the same Grand Slam, much less have a shot at winning all three. Therefore, the remarkable accomplishments of the Open Era's three female Triple Crown winners - Margaret Court, Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova - may never be repeated.
Court was the first to do it in the Open Era, as she captured all three events at the 1970 US Open. She lost just one set en route to the singles title - to Rosie Casals in the final. She and partner Judy Tegart-Dalton did not drop a set in the doubles competition, including in the final against Casals and Virginia Wade. Court's greatest challenge was mixed doubles, where she and partner Marty Riessen lost two sets prior to a straight set victory in the final against Frew McMillan and interestingly enough, Tegart-Dalton.
The next Triple Crown actually occurred just three years later. King dropped two sets prior to dispatching Chris Evert in straight sets in the 1973 Wimbledon singles final. In doubles, she and Casals' only set lost happened in a very tight final against Francoise Durr and Betty Stove. As for the mixed doubles, King and Owen Davidson dropped one set en route to the title, which was secured with a straight set defeat of Raúl Ramírez and Janet Newberry in the final.
Fourteen years would pass before the Triple Crown was accomplished again, but it should come as no surprise that Navratilova was the one to do it, as she had come close several times before. At the 1987 US Open, she swept through the singles draw without losing a set, including in the final against Steffi Graf, who would win the Golden Slam (all four singles Grand Slams and the singles Olympic gold medal) the following year. The only set Navratilova and partner Pam Shriver lost in the doubles was in the final versus Kathy Jordan and Elizabeth Smylie. Navratilova and Emilio Sánchez dropped two sets in the mixed doubles competition, including one in the final against Betsy Nagelsen and Paul Annacone. Navratilova actually also accomplished a Triple Crown at the 1985 Lipton International Players Championships, but that event is not a Grand Slam.
The following lists those in the Open Era who have reached the finals in all three events at a major but fell short in at least one, like in the most recent occurrence - the 1993 US Open:
Won Singles and Doubles, Mixed Final Not Played
Margaret Court - 1969 Australian Open
Notes: Some maintain Court has a legitimate claim to a second Triple Crown, as she won the singles and doubles at the '69 Australian Open, and she and Riessen did not get a chance to play for the mixed doubles title against Ann Haydon-Jones and Fred Stolle.
Won Singles and Doubles, Lost Mixed
Virginia Ruzici - 1978 Roland Garros
Martina Navratilova - 1986 Wimbledon
Martina Navratilova - 1986 US Open
Notes: Ruzici and Patrice Dominguez retired in the mixed doubles final after losing the first set in a tie-break against Renata Tomanova and Pavel Slozil ... Hana Mandlikova was Navratilova's victim in the '86 Wimbledon singles and doubles finals.
Won Singles and Mixed, Lost Doubles
Margaret Court - 1969 US Open
Martina Navratilova - 1985 Wimbledon
Notes: In the '69 US Open doubles final, Court and Wade lost a tight three-setter to Durr - who Court beat in the mixed doubles final - and Darlene Hard.
Won Doubles and Mixed, Lost Singles
Wendy Turnbull - 1979 Roland Garros
Martina Navratilova - 1985 Roland Garros
Helena Sukova - 1993 US Open
Notes: Turnbull won only two games against Evert in the '79 Roland Garrros singles final … Navratilova lost 7-5 in the third set to Evert in the '85 Roland Garros singles final.
Won Mixed, Lost Singles and Doubles
Martina Navratilova - 1985 US Open
Notes: Navratilova's losses in the finals of singles and doubles both went three sets … Navratilova's '85 US Open achievements concluded a year at the majors in which she won seven of a possible 11 events, while reaching the final of the remaining four. She missed another shot at the Triple Crown that year at the Australian Open, where she won the singles and doubles, but the mixed doubles event was not played there from 1970 through 1986.