Serena Williams has by far achieved the title of the greatest women's tennis player of all time. She has done this by capturing the attention of everyone around the world by her skill on the tennis court as well as her voice off of it. She learned to speak up for what she believed in from one of her heros Billie Jean King. Serena Williams has been dominating the sport since she turned professional in 1995. She won her first grand slam title, the U.S. open, in 1999 and has not turned back, adding 22 more grand slam titles in the span of 18 years. Following her 2017
Australian Open victory, Williams passed Steffi Graf for most wins in the Open Era, which dates all the way back to 1968. Serena has experienced many injuries but has fought back to win
everytime. In 2003, she needed knee surgery and saw her world rank fall to 139 but came back and fought in order to conquer the 2008 U.S. open title and she reclaimed her top ranking by the next year. In 2011, her career was feared to have been over after doctors found multiple blood clots in her lungs, however, she again fought back and has been extremely successful since. Serena has also paired with her sister Venus to win multiple doubles titles, which is impressive on its own, but Serena's mix of greatness with singles and doubles titles have definitely cemented her place as the greatest women's tennis player of all time.
Steffi Graf will always be thought of as one of the greatest women's tennis players of all time. When she retired she was widely known as the greatest ever and many people believe that if not for such a historic career by Serena Williams, Graf would remain the top spot. Graf turned professional at the young age of thirteen and shortly after turning professional she received the recognition of being the second-youngest player ever to have an international ranking. AFter winning her first grand slam she was given the number one rank in the world and did not relinquish the title for 186 weeks. Graf was known to be very consistently good during her career. This can be summed up by her historic record that has lasted through both men and women's tennis. She held the top spot in the women's tennis world for a total of 377 weeks during her storied career. This is seen as an absurd record and many people believe that this may stand the test of time. Graf remains the only tennis player to ever conquer the coveted calendar year golden slam. To accomplish this, she not only had to win all four grand slams in 1988, but she also had to win a gold medal at the olympics that year. When she retired from the tennis world in 1999 she still held the number three rank in the world, showing her consistency that people knew her for throughout her career. Her remarkable career led her to being inducted into the tennis hall of fame in 2004
Martina Navratilova was well regarded as one of the toughest competitors to ever step foot on the tennis court. She was a leader of the sport from the late 1970s through most of the 1980s. She was always in the best shape compared to her competitors and she utilized her strong serve to dominate the women's game during her successful career. She dominated the women's tennis game by capturing a record 167 career title wins. She also was able to capture a jaw dropping 41 grand slam titles, playing with as a double in many tournaments. Shortly after beginning her professional career, she rose to the top of the women's tennis world after winning three grand slams in less than two years. During the span of two years from 1982-1984, Navratilova only lost six matches. She is recognized as one of the best players to ever play at Wimbledon as she was able to advance to 12 Wimbledon singles finals, winning nine of them. Even after retiring from singles play in 1994, Navratilova continued to play doubles and mixed doubles matches, winning the 2003 Wimbledon mixed doubles championship as well as the 2006 U.S. open mixed double championship. Along with being a champion on the court, Navratilova has also been very open about her sexual orientation and talking out for the LGBTQ community. While on the big screen at Arthur Ashe Stadium, the home to the U.S. open, she proposed to her then girlfriend. They got married a few months later in New York City and they continue to speak out for the community that they are a part of.
Billie Jean King has long been regarded as one of the first queens of women's tennis. She was able to pioneer women's tennis to a greater point that they were at before she turned professional. She was the first women's tennis player to break the barrier and wall that separated men and women's tennis. She wanted to prove that women should be treated equally to men by setting up a match with male counterpart Bobby Riggs. As Riggs did not see women as equal to men in their athletic abilities, he took it upon himself to try to prove that he was correct to others. In order to refute his absurd claim, King accepted his challenge and went onto defeat Riggs in what became known as the 'Battle of the Sexes'. King is obviously one of the best women's tennis players ever as she was able to pioneer women's tennis to become more equal to that of men. This match was able to spark the equal pay debate between the womens and mens tours, helping
the U.S. open became the first event to offer equal pay to both men and women. She was a regular in the winners circle utilizing her speed, net game, and backhand shot in order to move up and capture the world number 1 ranking. Similar to Navratilova, King became very outspoken for the LGBTQ community as she realized her sexuality and it became public. The way that King changed the world on and off the tennis court, is a strong argument in its own as to why she belongs on this prestigious list. Her efforts during her tennis career led King to be inducted into the tennis hall of fame in 1987.
Margaret Court is well regarded in the women's tennis world with many experts arguing that she may be the best women's tennis player to ever play. She was able to rack up an astonishing 192 career titles which also included 24 Grand Slams. She was the second woman to ever accomplish
the calendar slam, doing it a total of three times. She was able to accomplish it once in singles competition while also doing it twice in mixed doubles during her career. Including her remarkable 24 grand slam titles, 19 doubles titles, and 19 mixed doubles titles she holds the record with 62 major titles during her career. During her career Court wanted to find a new way to work out and train for her tennis matches. She was the first women to include weights and fitness training into her routine leading to lengthy and injury free career. This caused many women to rethink their training routines and begin to include similar ideas into their own training. Court was well known throughout her career for her powerful serve and volley as well as her incredible endurance. Similar to Billie Jean King, she was challenged first by Bobby Riggs, falling to him in a widely publicized match. Had Court defeated Riggs in their match, she would probably be known in the same sense as Billie Jean King in 'Battle of the Sexes'. Shortly after she retired she was elected into the tennis hall of fame in 1979, which is the highest achievement of any professional athlete.
Venus Williams is a little different when it comes to this list of successful women's tennis players. That difference is that she is not nearly as decorated as the other outstanding women that join her on this list. While she does only have a total of 7 Grand Slam wins under her belt, the skill that she has shown throughout her career keeps her atop the rankings as some of the best players ever. If not for having to compete against her sister Serena for women's titles during their career, Venus would definitely have more singles titles to her name. They have met in finals championships nine times with Serena having won seven of those. In 2002, Williams was able to accomplish the world number one ranking for the first of her three times. This occasion came shortly after Williams was able to win four grand slam titles in the two years between 2001-2002. Even though she only has seven grand slam titles, she is regarded as one of the best at Wimbledon, having won five of her seven grand slams on this court. Even after being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease in 2011, she has been able to fight back to the top, reaching all the way up to the number five ranking. In the 2000 Olympics, Venus Williams captured gold in two separate events. She won the gold medal for singles competition as well as the gold in the doubles competition with her sister. Venus Williams has had an extremely successful career and has definitely earned her ranking as one of the top women's players ever.