Australian Open: The All-Time Top 10 Women's Champions

JA AllenSenior Writer IJanuary 20, 2011

Australian Open: The All-Time Top 10 Women’s Champions

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    Most of the ladies crowned as champions of the Australian Open hailed primarily from Australia back in the early days of this prestigious tennis tournament.

    Distance from European capitals and the United States kept the Australian Open a happening mainly for locals, although there were foreign winners from time to time.

    Overall Australians have won 43 Australian Open titles, 33 during the Amateur Era and 10 during the Open Era. Their first championship came in 1922 and their last in 1978. 

    The Aussies are all hoping Samantha Stosur can add to their total by winning the championship in 2011. The time is now for a native to win the trophy—it has been 33 years, after all.

    With defending champion Serena Williams not playing in 2011 because of injury, this year is wide open for the ladies as they look to crown a new champion.

    Female champions from the United States are second, having won 22 Australian Open titles, seven in the Amateur Era and 15 during the Open Era.  

    Half of the ladies in this Top 10 list are logically from Australia, and many of them represent titles won during the Amateur Era, which began back in 1922.

    But all have outstanding results in the "Happy" Slam now held annually in Melbourne.

10. Joan Hartigan Bathurst: Three Finals, Three Wins, Two Consecutively

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    10. Australian Joan Hartigan Bathurst: Won in 1933, 1934, 1936

    Australian Joan Hartigan Bathurst played her first Australian Open Championship in 1931 and her last one in 1947. She won three championships during her long career.

    Traveling outside of Australia, Bathurst also made the semifinals at Wimbledon twice. She never, however, traveled to play in the United States championships.

    During her years playing on tennis courts around the world, Bathurst won three Australian Open titles, made the semifinals twice and the quarterfinals four times.

    In 1933 Bathurst defeated Coral Buttsworth to win her first Australian Open title, 6-4, 6-3.

    The Aussie repeated as champion the following year, defeating Margaret Molesworth 6-1, 6-4 in 1934.

    Her next Australian Open Championship came in 1936 when Bathurst won over fellow Aussie Nancy Wynn Bolton 6-4, 6-4.

    Overall she played in 10 Australian Open Championships, winning three times. Her win-loss record was 48-7, giving Bathurst a winning percentage of 87.27.

9. Martina Navratilova: Six Finals, Three Wins

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    9. Martina Navratilova: Won in 1981, 1983, 1985; Runner-Up in 1975, 1982, 1987

    Former world No. 1 Martina Navratilova appeared in her very first Grand Slam final in Australia in 1975 as a teenager. 

    She played and lost to Aussie Evonne Goolagong Cawley, 6-3, 6-2. 

    It would be the first of 32 total Grand Slam singles finals appearances for the young lady from Yugoslavia.

    In all Navratilova won 18 career Grand Slam singles titles, as well as 31 doubles titles and 10 mixed doubles titles, throughout her long, illustrious career.

    Navratilova's first Australian Open Championship came in 1981 when she defeated her arch-rival Chris Evert 6-7, 6-4, 7-5. Back then the tournament was still played on grass.

    In 1982, Evert would return the favor, defeating Navratilova 6-3, 2-6, 6-3.

    The Yugoslavian would bounce back in 1983 to defeat Kathy Jordan of the United States 6-2, 7-6 to claim her second Australian Open title.

    Navratilova’s third title came in 1985 when she defeated Czech Hana Mandlikova 7-6, 6-3. In 1987 Navratilova lost to Mandlikova 7-5, 7-6.

    In all Navratilova appeared in six Australian Open finals, winning three. 

    Playing in 10 Australian Open tournaments, Navratilova's overall win-loss record was 46-7. Her winning percentage was 86.79.

8. Martina Hingis: Six Finals, Three Wins, Three Consecutively

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    30 Jan 1999:  Martina Hingis of Switzerland celebrates with the trophy after winning the Australian Open at Melbourne Park in Australia.  \ Mandatory Credit: Clive Brunskill /Allsport
    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    8. Martina Hingis: Won in 1997, 1998, 1999; Runner-Up in 2000, 2001, 2002

    The Swiss Miss, Martina Hingis enjoyed her greatest successes down under in Melbourne, appearing in six finals, winning three of them.

    Hingis won her first Grand Slam trophy at the Australian Open at age 16—making her the youngest player ever to win a Slam title since the year 1900.

    The Swiss set several “youngest ever” records in her career before injuries sidelined Hingis.

    In 1997 the Swiss defeated Mary Pierce 6-2, 6-2 to capture her first Australian Open trophy and her first career Grand Slam win.

    The following year in 1998, Hingis defeated Spaniard Conchita Martinez 6-3, 6-3 for her second Australian Open title.

    Frenchwoman Amelie Mauresmo was Hingis’ opponent in 1999 when the Swiss won her third consecutive final 6-2, 6-3. 

    In the year 2000, however, Hingis lost to American Lindsey Davenport 6-2, 7-5.

    Although Hingis made it to two more consecutive finals, she lost both times to American Jennifer Capriati, the first in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, in 2001 and the last in 2002, 7-6, 3-6, 6-4.

    Hingis appeared in six consecutive finals, winning three in a row and then losing the final three. She never again made another Australian Open final.

    In all Hingis played in 10 Australian Open Championship tournaments, compiling a 52-7 win-loss record. Hingis’ winning percentage stood at 88.135.

7. Monica Seles: Four Finals, Four Wins, Three Consecutively

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    7. Monica Seles: Won in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996

    Monica Seles burst onto the tennis scene in the early 1990s. 

    She was the first of a long line of female players whose grunting noises gave the girls' game a bad name in some people's estimation.

    The youngster from Yugoslavia won her first major title, the French Open Championship, in 1990 at age 16. She became the youngest player ever to win the French Crown.

    Seles became the world No. 1 player in 1991-1992.

    In 1993 she was stabbed at a tournament in Germany. That tragedy forever changed Seles’ game and her demeanor on court.

    In total, Seles won nine Grand Slam titles during her career, four of them in Melbourne, a place she grew to love.

    Seles won her first Australian Open Championship in 1991 by defeating Czech Jana Novotna 5-7, 6-3, 6-1.

    Seles’ next opponent in the 1992 Australian Open final was American Mary Jo Fernandez. She defeated Fernandez 6-2, 6-3.

    In Melbourne Park in 1993, the Yugoslav next met and defeated Steffi Graf, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, to win her third consecutive Australian Open title. 

    After being stabbed later in 1993, Seles would eventually come back and capture one more Australian Open crown in 1996, defeating German Anke Huber 6-4, 6-1.

    It would be the last time Seles appeared in a major final. In all, Seles played in eight Australian Open Championships, winning four of them.

    Her overall win-loss record was 43-4, giving Seles a winning percentage of 91.49.

6. Steffi Graf: Five Finals, Four Wins, Three Consecutively

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    6. Steffi Graf: Won in 1988, 1989, 1990, 1994; Runner-Up in 1993

    One of the greatest women ever to play tennis, Steffi Graf played in 31 Grand Slam singles finals, winning 22 while adding nine runner-up trophies.

    Her first and last career Grand Slam singles titles came at the French Open—the first in 1987 and her last in 1999.

    Graf spent a total of 377 weeks ranked world No. 1, which is a record for any tennis player, male or female.

    In 1988 Steffi Graf defeated Chris Evert to win her first Australian Open Championship, 6-1, 7-6. This marked the year that Graf won a career Grand Slam, winning all four majors in one calendar year.

    This major accomplishment tied her with Margaret Court and Maureen Connolly Brinker.

    In 1989 Graf won the Australian Open title again, this time defeating Czech Helena Sukova 6-4, 6-4.

    The German defeated American Mary Jo Fernandez in 1990, 6-3, 6-4, capturing her third consecutive Australian Open title.

    In 1993 Graf faced Monica Seles in the final in Melbourne, losing that contest 4-6, 6-3, 6-2. 

    But the following year, in 1994, Graf would come back to win the title for the fourth time, defeating Arantxa Sanchez Vicario 6-0, 6-2. 

    Overall Graf played in 10 Australian Open Championships, appearing in five finals and winning four. Her win-loss record stood at 47-6. Graf’s winning percentage was 88.68.

5. Evonne Goolagong Cawley: Seven Finals, Four Wins, Three Consecutively

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    5. Evonne Goolagong Cawley: Won in 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977 (Dec); Runner-Up in 1971, 1972, 1973

    Australian Evonne Goolagong Cawley won seven career Grand Slam titles, four of them in her native country of Australia.

    She also won one French Open and two Wimbledon titles.

    Despite making the finals of the US Open four times, Goolagong never won in New York.

    The first three times Evonne Goolagong Cawley competed in the finals of the Australian Open, she lost. Her consecutive losses occurred from 1971-1973.

    Goolagong lost to Margaret Court twice, in 1971 and then again in 1973. In 1972 the Aussie lost to Brit Virginia Wade 6-4, 6-4.

    After those losses, Goolagong would never lose in another Australian Open final.

    She won her first Australian Open Championship in 1974, defeating Chris Evert 7-6, 4-6, 6-0.

    Goolagong repeated her winning ways by defeating Martina Navratilova 6-3, 6-2 in the finals of the Australian Open in 1975.

    To complete her trifecta, Goolagong beat Czech Renata Tomanova in the 1976 Australian Open finals 6-2, 6-2.

    The Australian’s final victory at the Australian Open came in 1977, when Goolagong defeated Helen Gourlay Cawley 6-3, 6-0.

    Overall Goolagong played in 14 Australian Open Championships, making seven finals and winning four of them.

    She accumulated a win-loss record  of 61-10, giving Goolagong a total winning percentage of 85.92.

4. Serena Williams: Five Finals, Five Wins, Two Consecutively

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    MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 30:  Serena Williams of the United States of America poses with the Daphne Akhurst Trophy after winning her women's final match against Justine Henin of Belgium during day thirteen of the 2010 Australian Open at Melbourne Pa
    Mark Dadswell/Getty Images

    4. Serena Williams: Won in 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010

    American Serena Williams is the only active player on this list of the greatest female Australian Open champions.

    Currently Williams has won 13 career Grand Slam singles titles, placing her sixth on the list of women with multiple career Grand Slam wins.

    In 2002 and 2003 Williams won all four major championships consecutively, achieving her own “Serena Slam.”

    This is exactly what Rafael Nadal will be attempting to do at this year’s 2011 Australian Open.

    Williams is not in Melbourne this year seeking to repeat her 2010 championship because she is still recovering from her 2010 foot surgery.

    The American won her first Australian Open Championship in 2003, defeating her sister Venus Williams 7-6, 3-6, 6-4.

    Then in 2005, Serena Williams defeated fellow American Lindsay Davenport 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 to claim her second Australian Open title.

    Maria Sharapova was Williams' next opponent in the final of the 2007 Australian Open. The younger Williams sister dismissed the Russian 6-1, 6-2.

    When Williams arrived back in the finals of the Australian Open in 2009, she met world No. 1 Dinara Safina in the finals. Safina fell 6-0, 6-3.

    Williams achieved back-to-back wins by defeating Justine Henin in the 2010 Australian Open finals 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.

    Overall Williams has played 11 times in the Australian Open Championships, winning five times. Her win-loss record remains to date 51-6, giving Williams a total winning percentage of 89.47.

3. Daphne Akhurst Cozens: Five Finals, Five Wins, Three Consecutively

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    3. Daphne Akhurst Cozens: Won in 1925, 1926, 1928, 1929, 1930.

    Daphne Akhurst Cozens not only won five singles titles at the Australian Championships, she also won the doubles title five times and the mixed doubles title four times.

    Sadly Cozens died in 1933, victim of an ectopic pregnancy, at the age of 29.

    In 1925 Cozens defeated Esna Boyd Robertson 1-6, 8-6, 6-4, in the finals of the Australasian Championships to win her first title.

    Cozens repeated that feat in 1926, defeating Robertson again, this time 6-1, 6-3.

    Making the finals once more in 1928, Cozens found herself facing her old competitor Robertson.

    Cozens won again 7-5, 6-2, winning her third championship.

    During the years Cozens competed, the name of the tournament changed in 1927 to the Australian Championships.

    Cozens won twice more in 1929 and 1930, defeating Louise Bickerton 6-1, 5-7, 6-2, followed by a defeat of Sylvia Lance Harper 10-8, 2-6, 7-5.

    This gave Cozens three consecutive titles at the Australian Championships.

    In total the Aussie played in seven Australian Open tournaments, winning five. Her win-loss record was 41-2, making her winning percentage a staggering 95.35.

2. Nancy Wynne Bolton: Eight Finals, Six Wins, Three Consecutively

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    2. Nancy Wynne Bolton: Won in 1937, 1940, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1951; Runner-Up in 1936, 1949

    Nancy Wynne Bolton’s career spanned World War II, starting in 1937 and ending in 1953.

    She won six Australian Open singles titles, 10 doubles titles and four mixed doubles titles, giving her 20 in all, second only to Margaret Court Smith, who owned 21.

    Bolton reached a career-high world No. 4 ranking in 1947 and 1948.

    Overall Bolton played in 13 Australian Open singles championships, appearing in eight finals and winning six of them.

    Her first victory came in 1937, as she defeated Emily Hood Westacott 6-3, 5-7, 6-4. Bolton’s next win came in 1940 over Thelma Coyne Long 5-7, 6-4, 6-0.

    The war saw the temporary cessation of the major tournament.

    But when the Australian Open Championships resumed in 1946, Bolton reclaimed her winning ways, seizing the next three Australian Open titles.

    Securing her third overall title, Bolton defeated Joyce Fitch 6-4, 6-4.

    She followed that win by upending Nell Hall Hopman 6-3, 6-2 in 1947.

    Her fifth Australian Championship came when Bolton won over Marie Toomey 6-3, 6-1.

    Bolton’s final Australian Championship was won in 1951, when she defeated Thelma Coyne Long 6-1, 7-5.

    The Aussie Bolton was also the runner-up in Australian Championship finals in 1936 and again in 1949, losing to Joan Hartigan Bathurst and Doris Hart, respectively.

    Bolton’s overall win-loss record was 71-7, giving Bolton a winning percentage of 91.03.

1. Margaret Court Smith: 12 Finals, 11 Wins, Seven Consecutive

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    1. Margaret Court Smith: Won in 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1973; Runner-Up in 1968

    Former world No. 1 Margaret Court Smith, aka Margaret Court, is considered by many the best female ever to play the game of tennis.

    She was the first woman to win a career Grand Slam in the Open Era, accomplished in 1970.

    She owns 24 career Grand Slam singles titles, appearing in 29 finals. Court owns 19 career Grand Slam doubles titles, appearing in 33 finals, as well as 19 Grand Slam career mixed doubles titles.

    Starting in 1960, Margaret Court won seven consecutive Australian Open titles, a record no other player has equaled.

    From 1960-1963, Court defeated fellow Aussie Jan Lehane O’Neill in straight sets four years in a row.

    Then in 1964, Court defeated Lesley Turner Bowrey 6-3, 6-2.

    The Aussie repeated as champion in 1965 by defeating Brazilian Maria Bueno 5-7, 6-4, 5-2 (retired).

    Court won her seventh Australian Open title over Nancy Richey of the U.S. by a walkover.

    Then in 1968, Court did something very rare: She lost. The woman who defeated Court was American Billie Jean King, who won 6-1, 6-2.

    In 1969 Court returned the favor, defeating Billie Jean 6-4, 6-1.

    Court won again in 1970 by overrunning Kerry Melville Reid 6-1, 6-3 and then repeated her win by taking out Evonne Goolagong Cawley 2-6, 7-6, 7-5 to secure her 10th Australian Open singles title.

    Court would win once more in 1973, again over Goolagong, 6-4, 7-5.

    In total Court played in 14 Australian Opens, appearing in 12 finals and winning 11. Her total win-loss record is 88-3 for a staggering winning percentage of 96.7.

Lady Champions Who Won Two Australian Open Titles

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    Other Multiple Winners of the Australian Open

    There were seven other ladies who won this Championship more than once and who often appeared in multiple finals.

    Coral Buttsworth (Australia)

    Won in 1931 and 1932 and was the runner-up in 1933. She also won the women’s doubles title in 1932. Overall Buttsworth played in the Australian Championships 5 times, appearing in 3 finals, winning twice. Her win-loss record was 21-3, making her winning percentage 87.5.

    Jennifer Capriati (U.S.)

    Won in 2001 and 2002. Capriati played in eight Australian Opens, winning twice. Her win-loss record is 28-6, giving Capriati a winning percentage of 82.35.

    Chris Evert (U.S.)

    Won in 1982 and 1984 and was a runner-up in 1974, 1981, 1985 and 1988. Overall Evert played in six Australian Opens, making the finals in all six, winning twice. The American’s win-loss record is 38-4, giving Evert a winning percentage of 90.48.

    Thelma Coyne Long (Australia)

    Won in 1952 and 1954 and was a runner-up in 1940, 1951, 1955 and 1956. Long played in 17 Australian Open Championships, appearing in six finals and winning two. Her win-loss record was 77-15, giving her a winning percentage of 83.7.

    Hana Mandlikova (Czechoslovakia)

    Won in 1980 and 1987. Overall Mandlikova played in 10 Australian Open Championships, winning twice. Her win-loss record was 38-8. Mandlikova ended with a winning percentage of 82.61.

    Margaret Molesworth (Australia)

    Won in 1922 and 1923 and was runner-up in 1934. Molesworth played the the Australian Championships 10 times, appearing in three finals and winning twice. Her win-loss record stands at 41-8 with a winning percentage of 83.67.

    Mary Carter Reitano (Australia)

    Won in 1956 and 1959. Reitano played the Australian Open nine times, winning twice. Her win-loss record was 48-7, giving her a winning percentage of 87.27.