There have been a lot of greats in women’s tennis over the last 50 years since the Open era started to the present day. Making a list of top players across different generations, who faced different opponents and won different titles, is never easy.
In this article, I present to you my top 10 female tennis players of all time. Each of these players were selected as I believe they dominated the game for long periods of time and have left legendary legacies that the younger generations will always look up to.
So, without further ado, let’s look at the best female tennis players of all time.
Top 10 best female tennis players of all time
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One of the strongest and most powerful women to play the game, nobody embodies women tennis like Serena Williams. She undoubtedly is one of the greatest tennis players to ever step on the court.
Serena has been a dominant force since the late 1990s. In her illustrious career, she has so far won 14 doubles Grand Slam titles and a staggering 23 singles Grand Slam titles, making her the outright leader for Grand Slam wins in the open era across both men’s and women’s tennis.
The longevity of Williams’ career is one of the reasons she’s the greatest female tennis player of all time. Her Grand Slams have come over a period of 18 years, starting in 1999, with her most recent one being the Australian Grand Slam in 2017. Now 40 years old, Serena is definitely chasing a 24th title, which I have no doubt she will go on to achieve.
Also Read – Top 20 Male Tennis Players Of All Time
2. Steffi Graf
Steffi Graf’s record of being ranked World No. 1 for 377 weeks is a world record for both male and female players and one of the reasons she makes it second in my all-time female tennis players list. Graf managed to win on all courts multiple times and recorded a total of 22 singles Grand Slam titles in her 17-year-long career. In 1988, she became the first player to achieve what is regarded as the calendar year Golden Slam by winning all four majors plus the Olympic Gold Medal in the same year.
Between the mid 80s and late 90s, there was no one better than Steffi. She managed to win seven Wimbledons, four Australian Opens, six French Opens, and five US Opens, making her one of the most decorated players in women’s tennis history. The Serena vs Steffi Graf debate will carry on forever, but there’s no doubt that both of them are legends of the game and what they’ve achieved may never be seen again.
3. Martina Navratilova
Martina Navratilova is widely known for her competitiveness and physical prowess during the 70s and 80s in women’s tennis. There was nobody who could compete with her at her peak as she dominated women’s tennis.
Over her career, Navratilova won 18 singles Grand Slam titles and holds the record for most career titles with 167. She won 59 total Grand Slam titles, which includes singles, doubles, and mixed doubles. Martina also holds the record for most Wimbledon titles with an amazing nine championships. She will be remembered as one of the greatest doubles players ever, having won 31 Grand Slam doubles titles and 10 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles.
4. Margaret Court
Margaret Court is undoubtedly one of the all-time greats of women’s tennis. She was the first woman in the Open era to win the singles Grand Slam title in 1970, and she is one of only two women to have won a Grand Slam in mixed doubles, which she did twice.
The Australian is credited to be one of the first women tennis players to incorporate weights and a fitness training regime into her routine, which was the key to her long and injury-free career. She managed to win 24 singles Grand Slams; add to that her 19 doubles and 19 mixed doubles titles, and you can see why she deserves to be in the top five on this list.
5. Chris Evert
Chris Evert holds the record for reaching the most Singles Grand Slam finals, with 34, having managed to win 18 of them which included each major at least twice. Her dominance in women’s tennis was truly amazing, and she was ranked as the No. 1 player at the year end for seven years. Evert also had an amazing career-winning percentage of 90% in her singles matches. The American had amazing court battles with Steffi Graf and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1995. Her dominance among the women tennis players was truly something else, and the people who watched her even regard her as an all-time tennis great.
6. Billie Jean King
Billie Jean King was undoubtedly a great tennis player and has been a highly influential and respected figure in the women’s tennis world. Her hard charging and aggressive style was unmatched among her competitors, until Chris Evert entered the scene.
Billie had a dominant tennis career, in which she won 12 Grand Slam titles—six of them won at Wimbledon—between 1966 and 1975.
7. Monica Seles
There is no doubt that Monica Seles was the most dominant player from 1990 to 1992. During this time, she won seven of her nine Grand Slam titles. In 1991, she was the top-ranked woman in the world.
Were it not for the unfortunate on-court attack and stabbing by a deranged fan in 1993, Seles would certainly have gone on to win more Grand Slam titles. Her epic battles with Steffi Graf were classics, and we as fans were deprived of some great matches because of one fan’s sick obsession.
While Monica did return to tennis two years after the incident, she was never quite the same. To her credit, she did go on to win the 1996 Australian Open, her only post-attack Grand Slam victory. Monica continued to play until 2003 and officially retired in 2008.
8. Venus Williams
The elder Williams sibling has certainly left her own mark on the women’s tennis world. Venus has been one of the strongest and most active players, and if it wasn’t for coming up against her sister, she would have more Grand Slam titles to her name.
The Williams sisters have gone head-to-head in a Grand Slam final nine times, with Serena winning seven of those matches. In total, Venus has won seven singles Grand Slam titles and 22 doubles titles.
Between 2000 and 2001, Venus captured four of her seven Grand Slam victories. She was ranked World No. 1 in 2002. One of the main reasons Venus is at the bottom of this list is because her career has been fraught with a lot of injuries. Even though her last Grand Slam title came way back in 2008, there is no doubt that Venus has completely changed the way in which people look at women’s tennis and will go down as one of the icons of the sport.
9. Evonne Goolagong
Evonne Goolagong was somewhat overlooked because she played in an era that had the likes of Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova. Despite playing amongst the greats of women’s tennis, Goolagong still managed to win seven Grand Slam titles and was ranked World No. 1 in 1976.
The only Grand Slam to elude Goolagong’s trophy cabinet was the US Open, the final of which she reached in four consecutive years, from 1973 to 1976. The Australian won four Grand Slam titles at her home ground, two Wimbledon titles and one French Open in her illustrious career.
10. Justine Henin
Justin Henin is a former tennis pro from Belgium. She was ranked World No. 1 for 117 weeks and was also the year-end No. 1 in 2003, 2006 and 2007. The Belgian became pro in 1999 and retired from the game in 2008 having won seven Grand Slam titles. In 2003, Henin won both the US Open and the French Open and ended the year as No. 1. She also went on to win a gold medal at the Athens Olympics in 2004, along with lifting her maiden Australian Open that year.