Selecting the best of the best in such a competitive sport like women’s tennis is difficult, to say the least. Yet again, there are those names that always come to mind when you think of this sport. They are the players that resisted the test of time in remaining at the top. The combination of good defense and offense positioned them at the highest rankings in their times and helped them remain there for decades to come.
Grand Slam titles
There are four Grand Slams over the year: the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. They have the most value of all the tennis tournaments when it comes to points and prizes, therefore having the biggest difficulty. The number of Grand Slam titles a player has determines their position in tennis history too, of course.
The leading lady in this case is Steffi Graf. She turned pro in 1982 and retired in 1999, having 22 Grand Slam Singles titles by then. She won 4 at the Australian Open, 6 at the French Open, 7 at Wimbledon and 5 at the U.S. Open. She was the first to achieve the calendar year Golden Slam, meaning that she won all four Grand Slam Singles titles in the same year. Steffi was inducted in the Tennis Hall of Fame in 2004, and she is considered in almost all statistics to be the best female tennis player of all time.
Second in this hierarchy is of course Serena Williams, owning 21 Grand Slam Singles titles as follows: 6 at the Australian Open, 3 at the French Open, 6 at Wimbledon and 6 at the U.S. Open. She turned pro in 1995, and is still active, being the current number one. Serena also has a big number of Grand Slam Doubles titles, 13, that she won alongside her sister, Venus Williams. Like a good wine, Serena only gets better and better as the years pass, and she is not willing to leave the spotlight soon.
Third in this installment is Martina Navratilova, having 18 Grand Slam Singles titles. She has 3 at the Australian Open, 2 at the French Open, 9 at Wimbledon and 4 at the U.S. Open. Turning pro in 1975 and retiring in 1994, Navratilova was a true force of nature when it came to playing tennis. Of course, being one of the best, she got inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 2000.
Weeks spent at the top of the rankings
Probably the second best way to determine which are the best players of all time in this sport, is the number of weeks they were ranked number one. Even here, Steffi Graf takes the number one spot, leading in both male and female tennis rankings with 377 weeks spent as number one. Martina Navratilova is right behind her with 332 weeks, followed by Serena Williams with 261 weeks. The fourth in this top in Chris Evert with 260 weeks, fifth being the still active Martina Hingis with 209 weeks.
The best there are
These ladies proved themselves as being the best at playing tennis, and will be forever in the hearts of fans everywhere. To be fair, there have been a lot of great female tennis players excluding the ones we talked about. Let us remind ourselves about some of them: Monica Seles, Justine Henin, Lindsay Davenport, Billie Jean King, Kim Clijsters, Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova, and many others.