Tennis’ four Grand Slam tournaments—the Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open—are recognized as the premier events in the sport. Though each tournament is unique in its own way, each serves to showcase the best of tennis and its myriad professional stars to a world-wide audience while also generating revenue to promote the growth of the sport at home and around the world. These four events represent the major mileposts of each year on the tennis calendar, and together, they represent a significant part of the history of the sport and its remarkable growth on a global scale.
The Grand Slam Board (“GSB”) is responsible for the coordination and management of activities of mutual interest to the four Grand Slam tournaments. These activities include: Grand Slam Tournament Rules, Regulations and Code of Conduct, Officiating, Tournament Calendars and relationships with governing bodies and third parties. Through the Grand Slam Board, each Grand Slam is able to focus on ensuring the success of their individual tournament while at the same time collectively recognizing the importance of the need to promote the health and growth of tennis throughout the world.
This investment in tennis, and in particular professional tennis, is a fundamental part of the Grand Slam tournament ethic. As not-for-profit organizations, all profits from the commercial success of the four tournaments are reinvested into the sport – through improvements to facilities, national and international player development, and through funding hundreds of other professional tournaments worldwide.
In 2013 alone, more than 200 additional professional tennis tournaments for internationally-ranked players were organized, subsidized and/or invested in by the Grand Slam tournaments within their own territories. In addition, the Grand Slam tournaments have invested more than $40 million in the Grand Slam Development Fund since it was set up for the benefit of less developed tennis regions.
The Grand Slam Board and the Grand Slam tournaments are committed to promoting the highest standards of sporting excellence and integrity in tennis. From its inception, the Grand Slam Board has promoted the principle of independent officiating and enforced a consistent set of Rules and Code of Conduct for Players to maintain the integrity of the individual competitions and the sport.
As part of the individual and collective commitment to the continued growth and well-being of the game, each Grand Slam tournament recently significantly increased prize money associated with its tournament for lower-ranked players to help sustain and advance their careers.
The Grand Slam tournaments are represented and participate on the Anti-Doping Working Group which oversees the Tennis Anti-Doping Program administered by the ITF and also are represented as a constituency on the Tennis Integrity Board which is responsible for the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program.
The Grand Slam tournaments offer an unparalleled, world-class sporting experience for tennis fans and athletes alike. The Grand Slam Board is committed to helping preserve the history and heritage of the sport and to build on the heritage to ensure a positive, dynamic future for international tennis.
The members of the Grand Slam Board are the Chairmen and Executives of the four Grand Slam tournaments as well as the ITF President.
The Grand Slam tournaments fund the Grand Slam Development Fund (“GSDF”). Its mission is to encourage and increase competitive opportunities for aspiring juniors in less-developed tennis regions worldwide and to ensure the future growth of tennis globally by giving players access to competitive tennis in nations outside their own. The ultimate aim is to increase the number of nations represented in mainstream international tennis competition. In 2013, the Fund allocated $1.8 million to development projects worldwide.
Since its inception, the Grand Slam tournaments have collectively donated more than $40 million to the Grand Slam Development Fund. The funding provides training, facilities, tournament and travel grants and a range of other forms of support for young players in less- developed tennis nations worldwide.
By way of example, two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka of Belarus is the most recent champion to have benefited from the Fund. Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur and China’s Li Na, winners of the 2011 Roland Garros girls’ and women’s singles titles, also received support from the GSDF. Other players who have been supported by the GSDF include three-time Roland Garros champion Gustavo Kuerten (BRA), Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) and four-time ITF World Champion Cara Black (ZIM).
The Grand Slam Development Fund is contributed to equally by all four Grand Slam tournaments and is administered by the ITF although the Fund itself is independent from the separate development activities funded by the ITF.