Greatest Ever: Tennis: The Top Ten Female Players of All Time

Barney Corkhill@@BarneyCorkhillSenior Writer IJune 12, 2008

The fourth installment of my Greatest Ever series is here! In this series I will look at the greatest talents to grace various sports.

Carrying on from my Top Ten Male Tennis Players Of All Time, this time I look at the top female players of all time. Enjoy!

10. Justine Henin (BEL) - Justine Henin shocked the tennis world when she retired on the 18 May 2008. She was just 25 and was World No.1. However, in her career, she did enough to creep onto this list.

With seven Grand Slam singles titles to her name, the only thing she could be disappointed about during her career was never winning Wimbledon. She got close, coming runner-up twice, but failed to add to her two U.S Open wins, one Australian Open win and four French Open wins.

9. Evonne Goolagong Cawley (AUS) - Ninth best player, but probably the greatest name in female tennis history, Cawley also managed seven Grand Slam singles titles in her career.

Among them she won Wimbledon twice, the Australian Open four times and the French Open once. She failed to win the U.S Open, despite reaching four finals. To be World No.1 when the likes of Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Margaret Court and Billie Jean King were around is a big achievement. She was also successful in the doubles game, winning seven Grand Slam doubles titles.

8. Serena Williams (USA) - The Williams sisters were one of the most dominate forces in tennis history. Serena and Venus were huge rivals, but at the same time a very successful doubles team.

Serena won eight Grand Slam singles titles, five of which were against her sister, and eight Grand Slam doubles, six of which with with her sister this time. She also achieved a career Grand Slam, having won all four Grand Slams in her career. At one point she held all four at once.

7. Monica Seles (YUG) - Part Yugoslavian, part Hungarian and part American, she won the majority of her nine Grand Slam singles titles as a Yugoslavian citizen.

She became the youngest winner of the French Open at just 16, going on to win the tournament three times, as well as four Australian Open wins and two U.S Open wins. Perhaps would have gone on to be higher on this list had a deranged fan of rival Steffi Graf not run onto court during a Seles match and stab her in the back. She won eight Grand Slams before that horrific incident, and only one after.

6. Billie Jean King (USA) - A career Grand Slam winner, Billie Jean King is a highly decorated player. With twelve Grand Slams, her fantastic achievement are only overshadowed by the even more fantastic ones of the players above her.

A master on the grass, King won Wimbledon six times, as well as the U.S Open four times, and the Australian and French Opens once each. She was perhaps even better in the doubles arena, getting to a staggering 47 doubles finals (mixed and single-sex), winning 27 of them.

5. Helen Wills Moody (USA) - A rare occasion where a pre-Open era player gets onto one of these lists, Moody won 19 Grand Slam singles titles, as well as two Gold medals at the 1924 Olympics.

Even more of a master of grass than King, but not quite the master, Moody won a huge eight Wimbledon titles, and seven U.S Open (then the U.S Championship) titles. She also triumphed at the French Championship four times. However, she never managed victory in Australia, and never even got to the final.

4. Chris Evert (USA) - Evert was involved in a few big rivalries in her career, but perhaps the biggest, and maybe one of the biggest of all time, was against Martina Navratilova. Had it not been for her, Evert would no-doubt top this list. They met 13 times in finals, on every type of surface, with Evert only managing to win three of those duels.

Still, she managed to amass an impressive 18 Grand Slam singles titles, including three at Wimbledon (where Navratilova beat her five times in the final), six in America, two in Australia and seven in France, so she did achieve a career Grand Slam. Evert has the greatest ever win-loss record in singles matches (.900), male or female. She also held title of World No.1 for seven years.

3. Magaret Smith Court (AUS) - As a player before and after the Open era began, Court was a dominant force for a decade and a half in singles and doubles tennis. She certainly has a huge claim to be as high at No.1 on this list.

She has won more Grand Slam singles titles than any other player (24), and couple that with her 38 Grand Slam doubles wins (mixed and single-sex), and you have another record total - 62 Grand Slam titles overall.

She completed a career Grand Slam by winning Wimbledon three times, the U.S Open five times, the French Open five times, and the Australian Open a staggering eleven times! She came runner-up 23 times in Grand Slam finals as well in doubles and singles, so she reached 85 Grand Slam finals. She was also the first woman in the Open era to win all four Grand Slams in a calender year.

2. Steffi Graf (GER) - Probably the greatest all-round players the game has ever seen, Graf is the only player to have won every Grand Slam at least four times each.

She won Wimbledon seven times, the U.S Open five times, the Australian Open four times and the French Open six times en route to her 22 Grand Slam singles titles. She achieved a calender-year Grand Slam in 1988, and came close to recording another on several occasions.

She reached 13 consecutive Grand Slam finals and is the only player in history to have achieved the "Golden Slam", a term made up especially for the feat she achieved. That feat was winning a gold at the Olympics and all four Grand Slams in the same year. Many of her peers consider her the best of all-time.

1. Martina Navratilova (CZE) - She has been put at No.1 spot for her longevity and her fantastic record. She was the undisputed Queen of Wimbledon, winning the competition a record nine times.

She achieved three of the six longest winning streaks in female tennis history, and recorded the longest winning streak in tennis history, women and men's, with a run of 74 wins on the bounce. As well as her nine Wimbledon titles, she won the U.S Open four times, triumphed in the Australian Open three times and conquered French shores twice, completing a career Grand Slam.

Her last Grand Slam title win was in 2006, in a mixed double tournament, so she has been in Grand Slam finals for 32 years. In that time she has played and beaten some of the best. With epic rivalries against Chris Evert and Steffi Graff, she also has a claim to be top in a greatest tennis rivalries of all time countdown.

She reached another three Wimbledon finals, so in all reached twelve Wimbledon finals, and a total of 85 Grand Slam finals, in singles and doubles tennis.


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