The first amateur female tennis players already took part in the Wimbledon Championship in 1884, only 7 years after the first men’s competition. Since then women have been taking part in similar tournaments as their male colleagues, and become as famous as them. We made a list of the greatest female tennis players of all time. From the first professional champions to the most recent one.
Until 1968 all tennis players were amateurs but with the beginning of the Open Era, finally, they could make their living from tennis. Women were paid a lot less than men in the beginning. But thanks to the fight of great advocates like Billie Jean King, it changed soon. Now the top female tennis players earn the same amount as the men. At least in the four Grand Slam tournaments.
Legends of the sport in the greatest female tennis players of all time
We have to start with American world No 1 Billie Jean King, who won 39 Grand Slam titles during her career. 12 were singles titles from them. She wasn’t only a great player, but also an activist who fought for equal pay in the sport. She played in the Battle of Sexes in 1973. Even online sportsbooks news in the US are still remembering the game, where King won against 55-year-old Bobby Riggs, earning $100,000 with the victory. The game was watched by 90 million people all over the world and helped a lot to promote women’s tennis. King was also the founder of the WTA, the Women’s Tennis Association. It is still the main governing body of women’s tennis.
Her big rival was Chris Evert, who was a totally different player. She was much smaller and had a laid back style. She was very successful though with her precise shots and quick movements. Evert dominated the field from the mid-1970s until the rise of another legendary player, Martina Navratoliva. They had great battles and reached their peak in the final of the 1984 US Open when they both had 30 wins against the other. Navratilova won this game and a few others, but it doesn’t make Evert’s successes less valuable. For example, she still holds the record of reaching the most Grand Slam finals with 34 and the most victories at Roland Garros with her seven titles. You can make a bet on the winner of this year’s French Open at Unibet.
A phenomenon from Eastern-Europe
Martina Navratilova was born in Czechoslovakia and represented the country at the beginning of her career, but soon emigrated to the United States and became a US citizen. She was a great player both in singles and doubles, teaming up with Chris Evert for the pairs. She won 18 Grand Slam singles titles, 31 doubles and 10 mixed doubles titles, making her the most successful tennis player in the Open Era including men players. Navratilova still holds many records, from the most singles titles in Wimbledon to the longest winning streak. She retired at the age of 50, which is as honorable as her activity for gay rights.
Great players from the 90s
Another American player with Eastern European background, Monica Seles was an amazing talent. At the age of 20, she has already won 8 Grand Slam singles titles and was world No1 at the end of 1991 and 1992. But then came the dramatic year of 1993, when a mad fan of Steffi Graf stabbed her in the back during a game in Hamburg. It took two years for her to recover from the injuries but never got back to the same form she was in before the attack. Though she managed to win another Grand Slam title in 1996 and was in the top players for years.
Her big rival was Steffi Graf who became one of the greatest female tennis players of all time. The German player dominated the 1990s, she was world No1 for a record 377 weeks. She won 22 Grand Slam singles titles and was the first player to achieve the Golden Slam winning all four Grand Slams plus the Olympic title in 1988. Graf was equally good on all surfaces and was known for her powerful forehands. She retired relatively early, at the age of 30 in 1999, still being No3 on the world ranking. But with starting her career at the age of 14 it made sense that she wanted to enjoy her life and not play tennis for a while.
The reign of Serena
Most people would agree that Serena Williams is the greatest female tennis player of all time. She changed women’s tennis forever and became one of the most famous female athletes in the world. She is definitely the highest paid after earning $29,2 million last year, finishing 63rd in Forbes Top 100 Highest-Paid Athletes list. But she deserves every cent after her incredible performance in the last 15 years.
Serena has 23 Grand Slam singles titles so far, staying second in the overall ranking behind Margaret Court. She won a record seven times in Australia and equal Chris Evert’s record of six US Open titles. Serena is also a great double player with her sister, Venus, they won 14 Grand Slam titles together. She has been world No1 for 319 weeks in total, a number which only Graf and Navratilova could exceed. Online gambling sites in the US and the fans are hoping to see her soon in the US Open. Serena has the odds of 9.00 to win.