Keeping track of the finest tennis players of all time is undoubtedly a difficult assignment. The game has evolved dramatically, and racquets, for instance, have transformed the current game into something very unlike from the old.
Many women players have ruled the tennis landscape since the start of the Open Era, but there have also been idols in previous eras. Check out the list of the 25 Most Famous Female Tennis Players.
Table of Contents
- 1. Serena Williams
- 2. Maria Sharapova
- 3. Martina Navratilova
- 4. Monica Seles
- 5. Martina Hingis
- 6. Evonne Goolagong
- 7. Billie Jean King
- 8. Venus Williams
- 9. Margaret Court
- 10. Maureen Connolly
- 11. Tracy Austin
- 12. Steffi Graf
- 13. Justine Henin
- 14. Chris Evert
- 15. Jennifer Capriati
- 16. Helen Wills Moody
- 17. Simona Halep
- 18. Arantxa Sanchez Vicario
- 19. Kim Clijsters
- 20. Amelie Mauresmo
- 21. Gabriella Sabatini
- 22. Lindsay Davenport
- 23. Jana Novotna
- 24. Caroline Wozniacki
- 25. Molla Mallory
1. Serena Williams
Serena Williams has unquestionably left her imprint on tennis since she is one of the sport’s best and most prominent women.
She has dominated women’s tennis for almost a decade, and at 39 years old, she is still competing at the greatest level.
Serena’s maiden Grand Slam victory came against her sister, Venus, at the 2002 French Open. Serena has gone on to win 22 more Grand Slams and has a 17-11 record against her sister.
2. Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova, once a media darling, has hit hard times in recent years. She received a long suspension after failing a drug test during the 2016 Australian Open, which tainted her legacy.
Nonetheless, it’s difficult to forget her career Grand Slam and five championships.
She has never been especially mobile, but she possesses strong strokes and a service that is difficult to defeat when it is on. She is the quintessential player of her generation, aside from the Williams sisters.
Martina Navratilova, one of the fiercest opponents to ever walk the court, dominated women’s tennis from the late 1970s through much of the 1980s.
With 167 career championships, she owns the Open Era record, and she has 59 Grand Slam titles in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles.
Martina also holds the record for the most career Wimbledon Championships with nine.
4. Monica Seles
Monica Seles was without a doubt the most dominant player from 1990 to 1992.
When Monica arrived on the scene as a teenager in 1989, she astounded almost everyone in the tennis world.
At that time, she was stabbed by a bystander, which severely harmed her career. Monica returned to tennis two years after the episode, but she was never quite the same.
5. Martina Hingis
Martina Hingis has a solid case to be placed in the top ten all-time players, with 5 Grand Slam singles championships and 209 weeks as the world’s number one.
When you consider her 13 Grand Slam Doubles Championships, 7 Mixed Doubles titles, and two Tour Finals trophies, it’s difficult to dismiss the Swiss great.
Martina was able to continue her tennis career by mostly playing doubles, and she had remarkable success in 2017, her final year of competitive tennis, with three Grand Slam Doubles titles.
6. Evonne Goolagong
Despite winning seven Grand Slam championships during one of the most challenging periods in women’s tennis history, Goolagong was rated number one in the world in 1976.
She is the first mother to win Wimbledon since the First World War, and she received the championship in 1980 after her daughter was born in 1977.
She only won one Grand Slam championship, the US Open, which she reached in four consecutive years from 1973 to 1976.
7. Billie Jean King
Billie Jean King was without a doubt a fantastic player, having won 12 Grand Slam titles, six of which came at Wimbledon from 1966 through 1975. She was a hard-charging player who was unafraid of serving and volleying.
She is most known for her historic victory over former Wimbledon men’s champion Bobby Riggs in the 1973 Battle of the Sexes.
8. Venus Williams
While Venus’s career has been marred by injuries, there is little doubt that she was the woman to beat on tour in the early 2000s. Venus won four of her seven Grand Slam titles between 2000 and 2001.
She eventually reached the top of the global rankings in 2002, a position she would hold on three consecutive occasions.
9. Margaret Court
Margaret Court is the third-best female tennis player of all time, having won a record 24 Grand Slam singles championships. The court was a dominant force as a player both before and after the Open era began.
She was the first woman in the 1970s and just the second woman in history to win all four Grand Slam singles titles in the same calendar year. She is regarded as one of the greatest tennis players of all time.
10. Maureen Connolly
She dominated the tennis world in the early 1950s, capturing six consecutive Grand Slam singles titles between 1952 and 1953.
She was set to be a top tennis player for years to come, but a horseback riding accident when she was 19 years old injured her right leg and terminated her career.
She loved to play from the baseline, where she could blow opponents away with her strength and precision.
11. Tracy Austin
Looking back on Tracy Austin’s career, it’s amazing what she was able to accomplish at such a young age.
She was only 16 years old when she won the U.S. Open in 1979, and she followed it up with another victory in 1981.
Early in her career, injuries piled up for her and put a damper on any major comeback. She was a highly well-rounded player who could thrive on every surface, but she was unable to stay at the top of the game for long.
12. Steffi Graf
With 22 Grand Slam Singles championships, Steffi Graf holds the record for the third-most wins since the Open era’s inception.
In a single calendar year, she won four Grand Slams and an Olympic Gold Medal. Graf was the first female tennis player to achieve this feat.
Throughout her 17-year career, the German was able to retain consistency on all surfaces. Her 377-week record at No. 1 remains unbroken, whether they are male or female.
13. Justine Henin
Justine Henin, known for her mental and physical tenacity, was one of the most athletic women to ever play the game.
Despite her little height, she threw a tremendous punch and played a full game that included a solid serve and a forehand stroke that she hit with both strength and accuracy.
She was ranked number one in the world in 2003 after winning both the French and US Opens. Henin earned a gold medal at the Athens Olympics in 2004, in addition to her maiden Australian Open victory.
She won seven Grand Slam championships during her career but announced her retirement in 2008.
14. Chris Evert
From the baseline, Chris Evert was a machine, and with her two-handed backhand shot, she dominated women’s tennis from the mid-1970s through the early 1980s.
Evert still maintains the record for most Grand Slam singles finals reached, and she won 18 of them, including every major at least twice.
When Martina Navratilova arrived in the late 1970s, spectators were treated to an exciting on-court competition. For seven years, Evert was the world’s number one player at the end of the year.
15. Jennifer Capriati
Many people think of Jennifer Capriati as the child star who got too much early in her career.
She was in the top ten ranks when she was 15 years old, and it was apparent that success, celebrity, and money were getting the best of her.
She was burnt out on tennis by the end of 1993, taking nearly a year off and dealing with arrests, drug usage, and other issues.
In 2001, she went on a tear, reaching the semifinals of all four major slams. She won the Australian Open and the French Open, and she followed that up with a triumph in the Australian Open in 2002.
16. Helen Wills Moody
Helen Wills Moody was the world’s number one player from 1927 until 1933, and she reclaimed it in 1935 and 1938.
Her well-rounded skill earned her superstar status, as she won 19 singles titles at Grand Slam tournaments.
She never won the Australian Open, although it was not at the same level back then, so that should not be held against her.
Winning four French Opens, eight Wimbledons, and seven US Opens is absolutely amazing in any age.
17. Simona Halep
Simona Halep of Romania has had a fantastic career thus far. Her 2018 French Open and 2019 Wimbledon titles altered the view of her as a player who couldn’t perform well in Grand Slams.
She has held the world’s number one position for 64 weeks in her career, and she may add to that total in the end.
If she can add a couple more Grand Slam championships to her resume, she may move quickly up the rankings.
18. Arantxa Sanchez Vicario
Sanchez-Vicario was born into a tennis-playing household. When she won the French Open at the age of 17, she became one of the youngest players ever to win a Grand Slam.
She won 29 career championships and held the number one position for 12 weeks in 1995 and 1996.
She reached the finals of all four grand slams, but only won three French championships and the US Open in 1994.
19. Kim Clijsters
Clijsters performed best on hard court. She won three of her four Grand Slam championships on hard courts, including the U.S. Open.
She also became a major inspiration for a lot of moms when she came back after giving birth. Many thought she had retired far too soon in 2007, yet she was back on tour in only two years.
She was able to win the US Open after having birth in 2009 and 2010.
20. Amelie Mauresmo
Amelie Mauresmo is one of the most underappreciated female tennis players of all time. She was never completely dominating, but she had a brief period in her career where she was a Grand Slam contender every time.
She pulled it all together in 2006, winning the Australian Open and Wimbledon for her only two Grand Slam singles championships.
She has gone on to be a highly successful coach after her career, demonstrating the intellectual aspect of her game.
21. Gabriella Sabatini
Gaby Sabby only won one career grand slam championship, but she was one of the finest players of her time.
She also won two WTA Year-End Tour championships and a silver medal in the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
Between the 1985 French Open and the 1995 US Open, Sabatini reached the semifinals of 18 Grand Slams. She retired in 1996, having won 27 singles titles in her career.
22. Lindsay Davenport
Lindsay Davenport had a very successful career despite being overlooked by some of the other great players of her period. She concluded with 98 weeks at the top of the world rankings and three Grand Slam titles.
Her power game was highly contemporary, focusing on groundstrokes from both wings to pound opponents from the baseline.
23. Jana Novotna
In her career, Novotna won 24 championships, including Wimbledon in 1998. She also reached the finals of the Australian Open in 1993 and Wimbledon in 1993 and 1997.
Her collapse in the final versus Steffi Graf in 1993 is legendary. Novotna crumbled in the third set, leading 4-1 and 40-15.
24. Caroline Wozniacki
Caroline Wozniacki retired from professional tennis in 2020, at the age of 29, leaving after one of the finest careers in recent memory.
Among the Danish superstar’s achievements are 30 WTA singles championships and 71 weeks spent as the world’s top-ranked women’s tennis player, the sixth most in history.
Wozniacki, however, only won one Grand Slam tournament, the 2018 Australian Open.
25. Molla Mallory
Molla Mallory is still the most dominant player in the history of the US Open, over a century after she last won a title there.
Between 1915 and 1926, the Norwegian native won an unprecedented eight U.S. Open titles.
On top of that amazing run, Mallory also won two Grand Slam women’s doubles titles and three Grand Slam mixed doubles titles, undoubtedly making her one of the greatest players of her period.
These are the most famous female tennis players in history. We hope the list can help you keep track of your favorite players.
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