Tennis is an exhilarating sport, and women have made the sport even more interesting over the years. There’s always riveting debate over who the greatest player of all time is or was, but we’re not here to argue over skill level. Countless women have changed the game of tennis as we know it, and they all deserve their flowers. For the purpose of this article, we’ll be discussing some of the most prolific women in tennis history.
First on the list is Martina Navratilova. With 167 career titles, Navratilova was one of the fiercest competitors on the court in the late ’70s and much of the ’80s. Heralded for her longevity, she had a tennis career spanning over four decades. Martina has won 9 Wimbledon titles and a total of 59 Grand Slam titles. She dominated in doubles, receiving 10 Grand Slam Mixed Doubles titles and 31 Grand Slam Doubles titles. She also had three of the longest winning streaks in women’s tennis, and one of the longest in tennis history, with 74 wins in succession.
Steffi Graf is another name that needs to be part of the conversation. Graf was known for her consistency during her 17-year career with 107 career titles and was considered one of the best all-around players, able to win on all court surfaces. She has the record for ranking as the number-one player in the world for 377 consecutive weeks. Steffi also became the first player to win the Golden Slam by winning the four majors and the Olympic gold medal in the same calendar year in 1988. She is the only player to have won all the Grand Slams at least four times each, winning several more than four times.
Next up is Margaret Court. With a career spanning 17 years, she holds the record for most Grand Slam titles of any player in history at an astonishing 24. She also has a total of 192 career titles, with 62 of those being Majors. Court was innovative as the first woman to include fitness and weight training in her practice, which is one of the ways tennis has changed over the years. She dominated the sport in the ’60s and ’70s, winning the US Open 5 times, Wimbledon 3 times, the French Open 5 times, and the Australian Open an amazing 11 times.
Chris Evert is another major player that we need to mention. Evert has 157 career titles and was one of the most graceful players on the court. She was a powerhouse from the baseline with an impressive two-handed backhand shot. She holds the record for reaching 34 Grand Slam singles finals and won 18 of them. Evert also won every one of the Majors at least twice. She was part of one of the most famous tennis rivalries in history against Martina Navratilova, meeting her 13 different times in finals.
Now you know some of the most prolific players in the history of women’s tennis. Of course, we can’t forget that there are many other modern players worth mentioning, like the Williams sisters and many more. But now you have a little taste of tennis’s past to understand the women who pushed the sport forward, opening doors for all who followed in their footsteps.