Best Female Tennis Player of all Time

best female tennis player

Is it Serena Williams, Steffi Graff, or Billie Jean King? At the height of their careers, these three players dominated the women’s tennis tour and gave fans a lot of memories. Over the years, they have forced tennis fans to reconsider their pick for best female tennis player of all time.

We have carefully thought through our picks, and we now bring you our top 10. 

10. Martina Hingis

Martina Hingis is one of the best female tennis players of all time. The Czech-born Swiss player was considered a disruptor when she broke into the tennis tour.

She played in the same era as Jennifer Capriati, Monica Seles, and Steffi Graff and established herself in an already competitive tour.

Hingis won five grand slam singles titles, the Australian Open (1997, 1998, 1999), Wimbledon (1997), and the US Open (1997), 13 grand slam doubles titles, and seven mixed doubles titles. 

She has a couple of records to her name. In 1996, she became the youngest player to win a grand slam title at 15 years and 9 months, winning the Wimbledon doubles with her partner Helena Sukova.

When she won the Aussie Open in 1997, Hingis became the youngest Australian player to lift the title and, subsequently, the youngest to rank first in the tennis tour. 

Unfortunately, injuries derailed Hingis’Hingis’ career, and she called time on her career thrice – in 2003 at 22, in 2007, and finally in 2017.

9. Monica Seles

Despite going through a potential career-ending knife attack in 1993, Seles managed to book her spot as one of the best female tennis players of all time. The Serbia-born American developed an intense rivalry with German Steffi Graff.

Before her knife attack, she won eight of her nine grand slam titles, with only one after the incident that completely altered the course of her career.

Seles won the French Open three times (1990, 1991, 1992), the Australian Open four times (1991, 1992, 1993, 1996), and the US Open (1991, 1992). She retired in 2008.

8. Justine Henin

Despite her early retirement (aged 25), Justine makes it into the list of one of the best female tennis players of all time.

She held Belgium’sBelgium’s hopes in the game, particularly after the retirement of Kim Clijsters, but all that faded when she left the game a year after. 

Her playing style was overflowing with variety, including a rare backhand. The Belgium international was one of the most lethal clay court players, having won four titles at Roland-Garros between 2003 and 2007. 

Justine also won two US Open titles in 2003 and 2007 and one Australian Open title in 2004. She won a total of seven grand slam titles. 

7. Venus Williams

The best female tennis player list would not be complete without the William sisters. Venus set up a fascinating rivalry against her younger sister Serena. The head-to-head between the two stands at 19-12 in favor of Serena. 

Regardless, Venus is a multiple grand slam champion, having won seven singles titles, 14 grand slam doubles, and two mixed doubles.

Despite her advanced age (she’s 42), Venus still has the legs to keep going but finds it harder to keep up with the more youthful players on tour.

6. Billie Jean King

Her tennis playing days might be over, but Billie Jean King is still one of the best female tennis players. The American remains in the game as a pundit and has broadened her wings as an LGBTQ rights advocate.

What are some of her career highlights? BJK holds 12 singles titles (6 Wimbledon, 4 US Opens titles, and 1 French and Australian Open title. Overall, she retired with 126 career titles.

In 1987, Billie Jean King was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame, and in 2006, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) renamed its National Tennis Centre the Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre. 

Who can forget the battle of the sexes in 1973, when she beat Bobby Riggs in straight sets of 6-4, 6-3, 6-3. 

5. Chris Evert

Having played in 34 singles grand slam finals and winning 18 (2 Australian Opens, 7 French Opens, 3 Wimbledon, and 6 US Open titles), it is no wonder the American national makes it into the best female tennis players list. 

With her two-backhanded shots, Evert mastered the art of playing from the baseline and became one of the game’s greatest baseliners. She retired in 1989 with 157 career titles and was inducted into the hall of fame in 1995. 

4. Martina Navratilova 

Martina is one of the best female grass court and tennis players. She still holds the record for winning the most Wimbledon titles with nine.

One of the best assets of her playing style was the serve and volley technique, which saw her dominate opponents, particularly on grass. 

The Czech-born American won 18 grand slam titles (3 Australian Opens, 2 French Opens, 9 Wimbledon, and 4 US Open titles). She also cut her teeth in the doubles and mixed doubles, and won 31 & 10 titles, respectively.

3. Steffi Graff

The German international deserves her place in the best female tennis players list. In 1977, she became the first player to achieve the calendar year golden slam after clinching all four grand slams and an Olympic gold medal. 

Graff walked away from the sport with 22 grand slam titles, 4 Australian Opens, 6 French Opens, 7 Wimbledons, and 5 US Open titles. She ranks third in the all-time grand slam titles behind our next two players in this all-time list. 

2. Margaret Court

She still holds the record for the most grand slam titles in the women’s tour with 24, which is why she ranks so highly in this best female tennis players of all-time list. Serena Williams has threatened her record a few times but has fallen short. 

Away from the singles, Court is only the second woman to have clinched a grand slam in mixed doubles after Daniela Hantuchova. 

1. Serena Williams – Best Female Tennis Player of All Time

She might be struggling to get her 24 grand slam title, but without a doubt, Serena Williams is the best female tennis player of all time.

Her dominance stretches back to 1999 when she won her first singles grand slam title against Martina Hingis at the US Open.

Since then, her powerful serve, one of her game’s greatest assets, has seen her clinch 23 titles, her last being at the 2017 Australian Open.

The biggest question since then has been whether she will equal Margaret Court, as she’s played in four finals and lost all.

With age catching up on her (she turns 42 this year), it looks improbable that she’ll get to 24 and even break it. 

What do you think? 

Edward Borden

Edward Borden

My name is Edward Borden, a sports fanatic, writer and editor all rolled into one. I have a bachelor's degree in Mass Media with a specialization in Journalism from Toronto Metropolitan University.

This site is a great opportunity for me to further my passion for sports journalism. Working at Bukavu Online combines everything I love to do. I hope you have found it useful too.

I am an ardent fan of football, basketball, motorsports, and golf. Away from work, find me seen feverishly cheering on Real Madrid, or playing FIFA at every chance I get.

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