Guide: How Tennis Players Qualify For Grand Slams

How Tennis Players Qualify For Grand Slams

Even if you’re not well-versed in tennis, I’m pretty sure you must have heard of the “Grand Slams” and been hyped up about it. But have you ever wondered how your favorite tennis players qualify for the Grand Slams? I’ll share it with you just about now. 

The tennis players can qualify for Grand Slams by ranking among the top 104 players who signed up for the tournament or winning up to 3 rounds in the qualifying, or, receiving a wild card entry.  A total number of 128 players make it to the Grand Slams. Out of this, 104 are chosen through ranking, 16 through qualifying, and 8 through wild card entries. 

Right now, I know this all sounds pretty confusing. But that’s what I’m here for. As we go deeper into the article, all your queries will be answered. 

Ranking in the Grand Slams 

As you’ve already noticed, the greatest number of players arise out of the ranking. The 104 out of 128 spots available come from only rankings. This puts you in a tight spot since around a thousand players sign up every year. 

But, here’s the real charm, a player does not have to compete against all the tennis players in the world, only those who signed up for it. Many players even drop out of the competition owing to injuries or some personal issues, etc.

There are four main locations where Grand Slams take place. The US, Wimbledon, France, and Australia. 

Alternate Ranking Method 

Additionally, there is another way to get into the rank. This is through a protected ranking. With a sport such as the game of tennis, players are bound to get injured once in a while. This is where other players come in. 

If a player destined to play gets injured for at least 6 months, another player can automatically pitch in their place. In this way, players ask for their ranking to be “protected.”

And once they’re healthy, they can then presume with their activities in the next succeeding Grand Slams.

Laura Robson, a British tennis player who ranked 465th in the world used her protected ranking of 58 for the French Open in 2016. She dropped out of the Grand Slams in 2014 after a wrist injury that healed very slowly. 

» You can also read my post: 9 Best Babolat Tennis Racquets

Doubles Draw 

For the doubles draw, only 64 pairs get the chance to play the main show. For doubles, there’s usually no qualifying method, so ranking and wildcards are all that you have. 

Something peculiar about doubles is players can sign up using both their singles or doubles ranking — depending on which one is the best. This gives leverage to players in picking their best ranking yet. 

In the end, both the pairs have their ranking added as long as it’s within the 57 players with the lowest score. So if a number #10 pairs with #15, they’re good to go so long as their added score is below 57. 

Qualifying Round of Grand Slams 

As I said previously, only about 16 players get in through qualifying. This is done by winning multiple rounds to get picked. This is, by all means, not at all easy. 

Players work days or even months to be well prepared against others. Out of all the players qualifying for Grand Slams, they need to win all 3 rounds to get into the event. This is an even more difficult route as you’ve to play many matches before even qualifying. 

Since we’ve established that the 104 players get straight into the Grand Slam, the rest of the players that sign up compete in the qualifying round.  They all need to win all 10 rounds — In a row. 

What usually happened was no qualifiers won the Grand Slam itself. Emma Raducanu changed this once and for all in US Open 2021, where she not only made the qualifying round but also made history by winning the Grand Slam. 

» I have also written this post about: Top 20 Greatest Female Tennis Players (All-Time Rankings)

Wild Card Entry in Grand Slams

Finally, onto the last method to enter the Grand Slam; wildcards. To get a wildcard is presumed to be a lucky winner. And the 8 players that do get it undoubtedly feel the same way. 

These 8 lucky players don’t have to play any extra matches; rather, they’re given a spot directly into the event. What is even greater about this is that both their rank and prize money remains the same.

Since wildcards are something distributed by the tournament committee, they’re usually awarded to local players.

Wildcard entries can be budding stars, potential-filled players, and even those returning from an injury. It’s also pretty common for the committee to have wildcard swaps. 

How this works is the US Open player swaps with a French player, and then the French Open would choose a player from the US. Wildcards are, as the name suggests, wild and cant be predicted. In the end, it all depends on how lucky you can get.  

Do Tennis Players Pay to Enter a Grand Slam? 

Players might have to win 10 matches to qualify, but they do NOT have to pay to enter the Grand Slam. The Grand Slams are elevated in their ethics and don’t require payment or bribes of any sort to let players participate.

The tournament’s main aim is to unite the best players all around the world. Therefore, charging them to play would go against their interests. 

On the contrary, once players are in the tournament, they do receive free transportation and hotel service and can win a cash prize.

What Is the Prize Money For a Grand Slam? 

In 2022 Australian Open Singles winners will get $3.3 million. Wimbledon has increased to $2.9m for singles. French Open singles winners will get $2.7 million, while the US Open has a $3.8m prize money.

For the 2022 Grand Slams, the US Open has the highest prize money, and the total prize pool money stands at a whopping $55 million. 

Different locations have different amounts. The prize money has increased by 10% from the last Grand Slams in 2020. 

» I have also written this post about: Top 10 Best Wilson Tennis Racquets – The Best Guide 

How Many Points Do You Need to Win a Grand Slam? 

To win a Grand Slam, you need 10 points in either the singles or doubles. Once you get your 10 points, you are crowned the Grand Slam title. However, there are a few changes in the point scale. 

As of 2022, all four Grand Slams have decided upon transitioning into a consistent method of keeping points. This involves a final set tiebreak format. For example, if a match ties at 5-5 in the final set, a tiebreak will be performed. 

Here, the first player to reach 10 points with an advantage of two or more points will be the winner. The first Grand Slam to see this change was in 2019 Australian Open but this will now be commenced in all other tournaments, too. 

5 Tennis Players Who Have Won All Four Grand Slams (Singles)

Throughout tennis history, a handful of players have had the opportunity to win all four Grand Slams. Winning all four Grand Slams is an exalted achievement not many can achieve. 

For Grand Slams, some people have won all four tournaments for both singles and doubles. The players who won in singles are listed below; 

  1. Don Budge — USA 1938
  2. Maureen Connolly — USA 1953
  3. Rod Laver — Australia 1962/1969 (this makes him the only player to ever complete the Grand Slam twice) 
  4. Margaret Smith Court — Australia 1970 
  5. Steffi Graf — Germany 1988

Winning all four shows consistency in players and their skills overall. Plus, it’s not every year a player wins all four Grand Slams. So when it comes to listing down the players who have won all the Grand Slams, it’ll surely be a list worth jotting down. 

So, as the list shows, only 5 players have ever won the Grand Slam making a total win of only 6 times. And this isn’t even the latest win. All these wins dated back decades ago. 

» Maybe this also could be of interest to you: Tennis Racket vs. Racquetball Racket? » (5 Quick Facts)

4 Tennis Pairs Who Have Won All Four Grand Slams (Doubles) 

Moving onto doubles, there are only four teams who have annihilated a Grand Slam. These include; 

  1. Frank Sedgman and Ken McGregor — Australia 1951
  2. Martina Navratilova and Pam Shriver — USA 1984
  3. Maria Bueno and her Darlene Hard — Brazil  1960 
  4. Martina Hingis and Helena Sukova — Switzerland 1998 

These are the lists of players who have won either the Grand Slams in singles or doubles. There’s no doubt that these players were one of a kind. 

How to Qualify for Wimbledon? 

The qualifying criteria for Wimbledon are the same i.e. through ranking, qualifying round, and the wild card entry. The order to qualify for Wimbledon is not much different than any other Open though there have been a few exceptions.

For the 2019 Open, the majority of the players got in through their ranking while six of the players used their protected ranking to dive back into the game. These players were: 

  1. Tomas Berdych
  2. Vasek Pospisil
  3. Josef Kovalik – PR #85
  4. Janko Tipsarevic – PR #88
  5. Steve Darcis – PR #90
  6. Cedric – Marcel Stebe – PR #95

There were a greater number of players who also qualified by the main draw so the wildcards given were relatively low. About only 6 were given to the players below: 

  1. Marcos Baghdatis
  2. Feliciano Lopez
  3. Dominik Kopfer
  4. Jar Clarke, Paul Jubb, and James Ward – selected by the British Federation

Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam tournament that is played on grass.

How to Qualify for the US Open?

Australian Open Tennis Tournament Ivan Ljubicic CRO Croatia

A total of 156 players compete in qualifying for the US Open, out of which only 60 make the cut. In the 2019 US open, aside from the players who cut through their ranking, some players entered through qualifying.

The US Open is a tennis tournament that takes place every year in New York City.

6 players used their protected ranking to come back into the game. And 8 wildcards were issued. The players who used their protected ranking were the same as those in Wimbledon.

  1. Tomas Berdych
  2. Vasek Pospisil
  3. Josef Kovalik – PR #85
  4. Janko Tipsarevic – PR #88
  5. Steve Darcis – PR #90
  6. Cedric – Marcel Stebe – PR #95

For wildcards, the players who received them were: 

  1. Ernesto Escobedo, Christopher Eubanks, Bjorn Fratangelo, Marcos Giron, Jack Sock, Zachary Zvadja – selected by the US Tennis Federation
  2. Antoine Hoang – selected by the French Federation, part of the deal for the French Open WC swap
  3. Thanasi Kokkinakis – selected by the Australian Federation, part of the deal for the Australian Open WC swap

The first Open of the year is usually the US open.

This takes place in June, with their final match usually ending on Fathers day. The US Open is a four-round, 72-hole stroke play championship. That is to say; it’s a pretty big deal. 

» This could also be something for you: Here Is What Shoes Does Andy Murray Wear

How to Qualify for the French Open? 

The French Open, also known as Roland Garros, has a total of 128 men and women who compete. The open is much like every other open, where the players enter either through ranking, qualifying, or with the occasional wildcards. 

Similarly, Australian Open also consists of 128 players.

The French Open tournament is organized by the French Tennis Federation, which is the national governing body of tennis in France.

In this, the top 104 ranking players automatically get into the Grand Slam without question. In the 2019 open, 4 players used their protected ranking: 

  1. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga – PR #34
  2. Josef Kovalik – PR #85
  3. Janko Tipsarevic – PR #88
  4. Cedric – Marcel Stebe – PR #95

These are the players who revoked their protected ranking. Alongside these, about 8 players also received wild cards.

  1. Gregoire Barrere, Quentin Halys, Antoine Hoang, Maxime Janvier, Nicolas Mahut, and Corentin Moutet – selected by the French Federation
  2. Tommy Paul – selected by the US Tennis Association for a “WC swap”
  3. Alexander Popyrin – selected by the Australian Federation, part of the deal for the Australian Open WC swap

So, as you can see, the qualifying rules are more or less the same in all Opens, with a few tweaks here and there. Since a Grand Slam is made up of all 4 opens, they intend to keep the qualification criterion the same. 

» Read my blogpost about: What Tennis Racquet Novak Djokovic Uses

Wrap Up 

Grand Slams are the biggest tennis competition in the world. Fan or no fan, as an active member of society, people are bound to know all the nicknacks of the exalted sports tournament. 

The players that do partake in this event are the best of the best. They don’t have to be seasoned, but there’s no doubt of the ebbing potential they’ve in them. In the end, the whole purpose of a Grand Slam is to show the talents in the tennis world.

Hi, I'm Simon, and I am passionate about "other sports".

There are many other (and much more fun!) sports than football, soccer and hockey.

If you are looking for inspiration beyond the most popular sports in the world, then you have come to the right place.


If you’re a die heart fan of Tennis and love watching Maria Sharapova and Serena...
Athletes today rely on sophisticated gear to stay competitive in sports such as tennis...
Over time, your tennis balls will succumb to everyday wear and tear. This will inevitably...
Have you ever seen a tennis match where a player kept on winning serves? Do you want to...
As a pro Tennis player, there’s more than a good chance that you’re looking for the...
Having an expensive and high-quality tennis ball machine is helpful, no doubt. It gives...