No Wimblefun: Eight standouts to win every major but the one at SW19

No Wimblefun: Eight standouts to win every major but the one at SW19

There are eight singles players in the Open Era who've triumphed on the major stage in Australia, France and United States, but missed out—some just barely—at Wimbledon. Can you name them all?

Of the 20 players who’ve won three of the four Grand Slams in the Open Era, the French Open is the most common missing piece, with 10 players only needing that one to complete a Career Slam.

But Wimbledon isn’t too far behind Roland Garros: There are eight players in the Open Era who've triumphed on the major stage in Australia, France and United States, but missed out—some just barely—at SW19. Can you name them all?

Ken Rosewall

The ageless Australian won eight majors: four Australian Opens, two French Opens and two US Opens, split evenly across the Amateur Era and Open Era. He was a win away from completing a Career Slam four times, though, finishing runner-up at The Championships to Jaroslav Drobny in 1954, Lew Hoad in 1956, John Newcombe in 1970 and Jimmy Connors in 1974.

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Guillermo Vilas

The Argentine is known as one of the best clay-courters of all time, and he won his first two majors on that surface in 1977, at Roland Garros and the US Open, which was held on clay at the time. His other two majors came on grass, at the Australian Open in 1978 and 1979, but he was never able to conquer the lawns of Wimbledon. His best results there included a pair of quarterfinals in 1975 and 1976.

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Hana Mandlikova

After winning the 1980 Australian Open and 1981 French Open, Mandlikova got the third leg of a Career Slam when she famously beat Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova back-to-back to win the 1985 US Open, before adding another Australian Open in 1987. But the Evert-Navratilova gauntlet was just too tough at Wimbledon—Mandlikova reached two finals there in 1981 (beating Navratilova in the semis then falling to Evert) and 1986 (beating Evert in the semis then falling to Navratilova).

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Mats Wilander

The Swede won his first six Grand Slam titles at the first two majors of the year, conquering the Australian Open in 1983, 1984 and 1988, and Roland Garros in 1982, 1985 and 1988. He won his seventh and last Grand Slam title at the 1988 US Open, but he was never able to complete a Career Slam, with his best results at Wimbledon being three straight quarterfinal finishes in 1987, 1988 and 1989.

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Ivan Lendl

The Czech-American is one of the greatest players of the Open Era, capturing eight Grand Slam titles between 1984 and 1990—two Australian Opens, three French Opens and three US Opens. And he came so close to completing a Career Slam, reaching the semifinals or better at Wimbledon seven times in eight years between 1983 and 1990, but he was never able to get his hands on the trophy. His best finishes were two runner-up efforts, to Boris Becker in 1986 and to Pat Cash in 1987.

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Monica Seles

The nine-time major champion had three legs of a Career Slam before she even turned 18. She had won her first major as a 16-year-old at the French Open in 1990, then won her first Australian Open and US Open titles as a 17-year-old in 1991. But she had to skip Wimbledon in 1991 due to shin splints, and though she made it through to the final in 1992, she fell to a red-hot Steffi Graf, 6-2, 6-1.

We’ll never know if Seles would have completed a Career Slam during the 27 months (and three Wimbledons) she missed in the mid-‘90s, but after her return to the tour in the summer of 1995, her best results at the All England Club were three quarterfinal finishes in 1998, 2000 and 2002.

“I love the tournament. I love the surroundings. I love the court. It just unfortunately doesn’t suit my game,” Seles said during her run to the 2000 quarterfinals. “In terms of that it’s been really frustrating from the first time I played Wimbledon in ’89. Besides that, I love everything about the tournament.

“I’ve talked to a few people who have done very well here about it, and that’s one thing, you keep trying. I could’ve given up and just decided, ‘Okay, I’m not going to play.’ But you keep trying, working hard, getting in better shape. That definitely helps on this surface. And using more my lefty serve.”

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Justine Henin

The Belgian won the first three majors of her career in a breakthrough eight-month span. Henin captured the 2003 French Open, the 2003 US Open and the 2004 Australian Open, and would eventually add four more majors to that haul at the French Open in 2005, 2006 and 2007, and the US Open in 2007.

But the Wimbledon title always eluded Henin, which is ironic given she actually reached her first major final there as a teenager in 2001, falling to Venus Williams in three sets. She made one more final at the All England Club in 2006, losing a tougher three-setter to Amelie Mauresmo, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.

And Wimbledon meant so much to Henin that she pointed to it as one of the main reasons she came out of retirement and rejoined the tour in 2010. “When I saw Roger winning the French Open last year, I thought, ‘Well, I miss Wimbledon,’” she said. “I don’t know if it will happen one day, but that remains a dream for me. It’s the only one I never won in the past, so that would be fantastic.”

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Stan Wawrinka

One of the greatest late bloomers tennis has ever seen, Wawrinka didn’t win his first major until two months before his 29th birthday at the 2014 Australian Open. He then won the French Open in 2015 and the US Open in 2016 to get within one Wimbledon title of a Career Slam. His best results there have been back-to-back quarterfinals in 2014 and 2015, but he’s struggled at the All England Club since then, falling in the first or second round the last four years in a row.

The Swiss is the only active player on this list, though, meaning he could still take his name off of it.

“I come to Wimbledon every year with the challenge to play the best that I can,” Wawrinka said in 2019. “I think for sure I’ve had some tough years by losing in the first or second round, but I had two good years by making the quarterfinals, too. And I know how tough it is to win a Grand Slam.

“Every match is difficult, but I believe if I enter the court, I can beat anybody.”

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Honorable mention

Bethanie Mattek-Sands has won nine majors across women's doubles and mixed doubles, triumphing in each discipline at the Australian Open, French Open and US Open at least once. The American was a women's doubles semifinalist in 2010 with Liezel Huber and reached the mixed doubles final four in 2015 with Mike Bryan.