It can be difficult and subjective to select the top 11 of anything. Since the Open Era began 50 years ago, there have been countless Greatest Women’s Tennis Players, and that doesn’t include the great players from the early 20th century.
In the past few decades, fitness regimes, nutrition, and racket technology have all evolved, making the task of keeping fit even more challenging. Choosing the top Greatest Women’s Tennis Players was just as difficult as choosing the top male tennis players.
From 1968 to the present, I have compiled a list of the best female tennis players who played during the Open Era. There are 11 players listed here, with two greats tied for tenth place. You can find them here. You can also read Hottest Female Tennis Players
Top Greatest Women’s Tennis Players in 2023
- Born: September 30, 1980
- Born in Kosice, Czechoslovakia
- Resides in Fuesisberg, Switzerland
- Turned Pro: 1994
- Retired: 2017
- Career prize money: $24,749,074
- 45 career titles
- 5 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 3 Australian Open, 1 Wimbledon, 1 US Open
With five Grand Slam singles titles and 209 weeks as the world’s number one, Martina Hingis has a strong case for being one of the top 10 all-time women’s tennis players. Her 13 Grand Slam Doubles titles, her seven Mixed Doubles titles, and her two Tour Finals titles make it hard to overlook her.
She retired at the age of 22 after a relatively short singles career due to injuries. It is likely that she could have competed for many more Grand Slam singles titles if she had remained healthy.
As a result of playing mostly doubles, Martina was able to extend her tennis career and win 3 Grand Slam Doubles titles in 2017, her final year on the tennis court.
- Born: July 31, 1951
- Born in Griffith, New South Wales, Australia
- Resides: Noosa Heads, Queensland, Australia
- Turned pro: 1968
- Retired: 1983
- Career prize money: $1,399,431
- 68 career titles
- 7 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 4 Australian, 1 French, 2 Wimbledon
- In 1988, he was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame
The epitome of grace and beauty on the court, Goolagong often goes overlooked because she played alongside Chris Everett and Martina Navratilova. In spite of playing during a period of intense competition in women’s tennis, Goolagong won seven Grand Slams. Her world ranking in 1976 was number one.
In 1980, after giving birth to her daughter in 1977, she became the first mother since before World War I to win Wimbledon.
In four consecutive years, 1973-1976, she reached the finals of the US Open, the only Grand Slam title that eluded her.
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- Born: June 1, 1982
- Born in Liege, Belgium
- Resides: Brussels, Belgium
- Turned pro: 1999
- Retired: 2008, 2011
- Career prize money: $20,863,335
- 50 career titles
- 7 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 1 Australian, 4 French, 2 US Open
One of the most athletic women to play the game, Justine Henin was known for her mental and physical toughness. She played a complete game despite her smaller stature, and her power and accuracy on the forehand shot made up for her small size. The world’s best volley player, Henin was equally adept from the baseline as at the net.
As a result of winning both the French Open and US Open in 2003, she achieved the number one ranking in the world. As well as winning her first Australian Open title, Henin won the Gold Medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
She won seven Grand Slam titles during her tennis career, but in 2008 she abruptly retired from competitive tennis due to burnout. In early 2011, she announced that she was retiring for good after an unsuccessful comeback in 2010.
- Born: June 17, 1980
- Born in Lynwood, California
- Resides: Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
- Turned pro: 1994
- Career prize money: $42,288,213
- 49 career titles
- 7 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 5 Wimbledon, 2 US Open
- Current active player
Venus Williams may very well have won more Grand Slam titles if she hadn’t had to compete against her sister Serena. Serena has won seven of their nine Grand Slam finals against her sister.
In the early 2000s, Venus was without a doubt the woman to beat on tour, despite a number of injuries. Four of Venus’s seven Grand Slam titles were won between 2000 and 2001. It was in 2002 that she finally reached the top of the world rankings, a position she would hold on three occasions. In 2008, Venus won her last Wimbledon title. Wimbledon is Venus’ favorite court.
The Australian Open saw Venus reach the second round in 2021. In addition, she would be eliminated from the French Open in the first round. At Wimbledon, she would represent the United Kingdom for the 90th time in a Grand Slam competition.
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Billie Jean King
- Born: November 22, 1943
- Born in Long Beach, California
- Resides: Chicago and New York
- Turned pro: 1968
- Retired: 1983
- Career prize money: $1,966,487
- 129 career titles
- 12 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 1 Australian, 1 French, 6 Wimbledon, 4 US Open
- In 1987, he was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame
Billie Jean King versus Bobby Riggs in 1973: a wacky battle of sexes no one will ever forget? From the mid-1960s through the mid-1970s, not only did King defeat Mr. Riggs in short order, but she dominated women’s tennis as well.
The stately ground game of Chris Evert, who challenged King as the queen of women’s tennis in 1972, contrasted sharply with her hard-charging aggressive style of play. However, King dominated Wimbledon from 1966 to 1975, winning six titles.
- Born: December 2, 1973
- Born in Novi Sad, SR Serbia, SFR Yugoslavia
- Resides: Sarasota, Florida
- Turned pro: 1989
- Retired: 2008
- Career prize money: $14,891,762
- 53 career titles
- 9 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 4 Australian, 3 French, and 2 US Open
- In 2009, he was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame
Had a deranged fan not attacked Monica Seles on the court in 1993, she would have won even more Grand Slam titles. A sick fan’s obsession deprived us of some of her greatest matches, including her epic battles with Steffi Graf.
Even though Monica returned to tennis two years later, she never quite recovered. In 1996, she won her only Grand Slam since the attack, the Australian Open. She continued playing until 2003. In 2008, she announced her retirement.
The Greatest Women’s Tennis Player from 1990 to 1992 was Monica Seles without a doubt. Her first seven Grand Slam titles came during this time. She ranked number one in the world in 1991.
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- Born: December 21, 1954
- Born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
- Resides: Boca Raton, Florida
- Turned pro: 1972
- Retired: 1989
- Career prize money: $8,895,195
- 157 career titles
- 18 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 2 Australian, 7 French, 3 Wimbledon, 6 US Open
- In 1995, he was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame
Can Chris Evert be compared to any other player on the court? Between the mid-1970s and early 1980s, she dominated women’s tennis with her two-handed backhand shot. With 34 Grand Slam singles final appearances, Evert leads the all-time grand slam finalist list. She won 18 of those finals, including every major at least twice.
There was a great on-court rivalry between Martina Navratilova and her fans in the late 1970s. His career winning percentage in singles matches was over 90 percent in seven years as the world’s number one player.
- Born: July 16, 1942
- Born in Albury, New South Wales, Australia
- Resides: Perth, Western Australia
- Turned pro: 1960
- Retired: 1977
- Career prize money of approximately: $500,000
- 192 career titles
- 24 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 11 Australian, 5 French, 3 Wimbledon, 5 US Open
- In 1979, he was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame
The Greatest Women’s Tennis Player on earth, according to many experts, was Margaret Court. With 24 Grand Slam singles titles, it is difficult to argue. Court has won 62 Major titles in total, including 19 doubles titles and 19 mixed doubles titles.
Her 1972 singles Grand Slam was the first of its kind for a woman in the Open Era, and she is one of only two women (the other is Daniela Hantuchova) to have won a Grand Slam in mixed doubles, which she did twice.
In the 1960s and early 1970s, Court was undoubtedly the best player, and she was among the first women to incorporate weight training into her routine. Consequently, his career was long and injury-free.
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- Born: October 18, 1956
- Born in Prague, Czechoslovakia
- Resides: Sarasota, Florida
- Turned pro: 1975
- Retired: 1994
- Career prize money: $21,626,089
- 167 career titles
- 18 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 3 Australian, 2 French, 9 Wimbledon, 4 US Open
- In 2000, he was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame
Martina Navratilova is considered to be one of the toughest competitors of all time. She dominated women’s tennis in the late 1970s through much of the 1980s. She brought back big serves and volleys to women’s tennis with her extreme physical conditioning.
With 167 career titles and 59 Grand Slam titles, she holds the record for the most career titles in the Open Era. A record nine Wimbledon titles have been won by Martina in her career. With 31 Grand Slam Doubles titles and 10 Grand Slam Mixed Doubles titles, she will be remembered as one of the greatest doubles players ever.
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- Born: June 14, 1969
- Born in Mannheim, Baden-Wurttemberg, West Germany
- Resides: Las Vegas, Nevada
- Turned pro: 1982
- Retired: 1999
- Career prize money: $21,891,306
- 107 career titles
- 22 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 4 Australian, 6 French, 7 Wimbledon, 5 US Open
- In 2004, he was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame
Through her 17-year career, Graff demonstrated her ability to win on every surface. No woman or man has ever spent as many weeks ranked first in the world as she did. As a result of winning all four majors plus the Olympic Gold Medal in the same year in 1988, Graff achieved what is known as the calendar year Golden Slam.
At the time of her retirement in 1999, Graf was still ranked third in the world, the best of all time from the late 1980s to the mid-1990s. It would be easy to argue that Graf is the greatest of all time if Serena Williams had not had such a long and storied career.
There will continue to be debates over who is the greatest female tennis player, but both Steffi and Serena were outstanding players that advanced women’s tennis in their eras.
- Born: September 26, 1981
- Born in Saginaw, Michigan
- Resides: Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
- Turned pro: 1995
- Career prize money: $94,588,910
- 73 career titles
- 23 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 7 Australian, 3 French, 7 Wimbledon, 6 US Open
- Retired September 2022
Serena Williams has certainly left her mark on tennis as one of the strongest and most powerful women in history. From the late 1990s until today, Serena and Venus have dominated women’s tennis. Fourteen Grand Slam Doubles titles have been won by them together. Serena now holds the record for the most Grand Slam singles titles by a tennis player, male or female, with 23 championships, including the 2017 Australian Open.
As time and competition have passed, Serena’s game certainly endures. Since 1999, she has won 18 Grand Slam titles, with her latest victory coming at the 2017 Australian Open. Although Serena missed most of 2017 due to pregnancy, she reached four Grand Slam finals without securing Margaret Court’s coveted 24th title. Upon winning the US Open in 2022, she would retire.
Serena has now established herself as the best female tennis player of all time in my opinion. In addition to her 23-10 record in Grand Slam finals, she has played at a very high level over the course of her long career. Serena deserves the distinction of being the greatest of all time, despite what Steffi, Martina, and Margaret thought.
How many Grand Slam titles does Serena Williams have?
Serena Williams has 23 Grand Slam singles titles, the most by any player, male or female, in the Open Era.
Who holds the record for the most consecutive weeks as the world’s No. 1 tennis player?
Steffi Graf holds the record for the most consecutive weeks as the world’s No. 1 tennis player, with a total of 377 weeks.
Who is the youngest player to win a Grand Slam title?
Martina Hingis is the youngest player to win a Grand Slam title in the Open Era, having won the Australian Open women’s doubles title at the age of 15 years and 9 months.
Who is the only player to have won all four Grand Slam titles at least twice in both singles and doubles?
Martina Navratilova is the only player to have won all four Grand Slam titles at least twice in both singles and doubles.
Over the years, women’s tennis has produced some of the greatest athletes in sports history. These women have not only dominated their respective eras but have also left a lasting impact on the sport as a whole.
From the early days of Billie Jean King and Margaret Court to the modern era of Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka, women’s tennis has continued to grow and evolve, producing some of the most memorable moments in sports history. The debate about who is the greatest women’s tennis player of all time is ongoing, but there is no denying the immense talent and achievements of these amazing athletes.
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