By Nick Harris
SJA Internet Sports Writer of the Year
6 January 2013
Andy Murray won his first title of 2013 by retaining the Brisbane International on Sunday but will need to achieve an unprecedented feat in the Open era of tennis if he is to add the Australian Open title this month.
The 25-year-old Scot won his first Grand Slam singles title at the US Open in 2012, having earlier won the Olympic singles title in his finest season to date.
But no male first-time Slam winner in the Open era has ever added a second Slam of their career in the next Slam event.
Murray can make history with a win in Melbourne but his task is put in perspective by the fact nobody has done it in the 44 years of Open tennis since 1968. John Newcombe, just before the Open era, did it at Wimbledon and the US Open in 1967.
(Before that, the last time any man followed up a first Slam win with his second in the next Slam was in 1956 when Lew Hoad won the Australian Open and then the French Open. But that was at a time when all the Australian Open competitors were Australian except four).
Up to and including Murray, there have been 49 different first-time Grand Slam winners in the Open era.
Of the 48 before Murray, 25 of them have gone on to win multiple Slam titles, and 23 have won only one title.
Of those multiple Slam winners, the average wait between the first Slam title and the second has been six Slam events.
Even Roger Federer, winner of 17 Slam titles to date, had to wait for two tournaments between his first Slam win at Wimbledon in 2003 and his second at the Australian Open of 2004.
Pete Sampras, with 14 Slams in his career, had to wait 11 Slams between his first at the US Open of 1990 and his second, at Wimbledon in 1993.
Bjorn Borg waited four tournaments between his first and second Slam, the same as Rafa Nadal. Novak Djokovic waited 12 Slams.
The longest wait for a second Slam was by Marat Safin after his 2000 US Open win; it was 17 Slams later at the 2005 Australian Open that he lifted another.
The first graphic shows all the Open era multi-Slam winners and their waits between their first and second Slams:
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The list of one-Slam wonders in the Open era below contains names as illustrious as Andy Roddick and Goran Ivanisevic, whose near misses both included three Wimbledon runners-up spots as well as their sole Slam titles, respectively at the US Open and Wimbledon.
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Newcombe aside, the small brigade of multiple Slam winners who followed a first Slam win with a second in the next Slam – at any time in the history of four Slams a year since 1905 – achieved that feat between 1925 and 1956.
The first man to do it was Rene Lacoste by winning the French Open then Wimbledon in 1925.
Fred Perry was the next man to do it, winning the US Open in 1933 and then the Australian Open of 1934.
Famously, or infamously, Perry was the last British man before Murray to win a Slam singles title – in 1936.