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Tennis has a long history, and women have a long list of accomplishments in tennis. There are many fantastic female tennis players out there, some of them from many years before the Open Era of tennis. Choosing the top 10 best female players of all time can be difficult, because there are many factors to keep in mind, such as speed, skill, wins, and Grand Slam titles. However, there are some players who have inspired the masses and brought thousands to the stadiums to watch them battle it out for a title or Grand Slam win.
With that in mind, here are the most famous female tennis players.
|Rank||Player Name||Career Record||Career Titles||Grand Slams||Weeks at No. 1|
|1||Steffi Graf||Win 88%||107||22||377|
|2||Serena Williams||Win 85%||73||23||319|
|3||Martina Navratilova||Win 86.8%||167||18||322|
|4||Martina Hingis||Win 80.2%||45||5||209|
|5||Monica Seles||Win 82.98%||53||9||178|
|6||Caroline Wozniacki||Win 70.6%||30||1||71|
|7||Venus Williams||Win 75.5%||49||7||11|
|8||Justine Henin||Win 82%||50||7||117|
|9||Ashleigh Barty||Win 74.9%||15||3||121|
|10||Lindsay Davenport||Win 79.5%||55||3||98|
Best Female Tennis Players of All Time
Statistical data may name some other female tennis players as the best, but some have won more than just games. We covered some of those in our article on female tennis players who won the most grand slams. But there are others that achieved more than that and they have won the hearts of tennis fans everywhere.
So, now let’s look at the final list of the best female tennis players of all time:
10. Lindsay Davenport
- Career Single Records: 753-194 (79.5% Win)
- Career Titles: 55 WTA Singles
- Total Prize Money: $22,166,338
- Total Weeks at World No.1: 98 weeks (44 consecutive)
- Grand Slam Titles: 3
Lindsay Davenport played for the United States of America and easily entered the top 10 in October 1990. She later went pro in 1993. For 98 weeks, Davenport was at number one around the world, and she continues to be one of the five female players who were ranked No. 1 four times or more (1998, 2001, 2004, 2005) since 1975. The first career highlight of her life was in 1996, when Davenport won the gold medal in the tennis Olympics. Following that, Davenport accrued dozens of singles, including a win at the US Open in 1998. She knocked Margaret Court, a player with the highest Grand Slam wins, off her throne
Davenport didn’t stop there. She went on to win the Australian Open and Wimbledon as well. In WTA Doubles, she also won at the French Open men partnered with Mary Joe Fernandez. In 2005, TENNIS magazine ranked Davenport as the 29th best female tennis player in 40 years. In 2014, she was also inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
Astoundingly, Davenport won a fortune while playing tennis: $22,166,338.00, which was the 8th highest in earnings for female players. She was first until Serena Williams surpassed her in 2009.
9. Ashleigh Barty
- Career Single Records: 305-102 (74.9% Win)
- Career Titles: 15 WTA Singles
- Total Prize Money: $18,798,304.00
- Total Weeks at World No.1: 121 (114 consecutive)
- Grand Slam Titles: 3
Also a well known cricket player, Ashleigh Barty from Australia has had an astounding tennis career. In the WTA, she has one of the highest percentages for aces and service points. She became famous after winning the 2011 Wimbledon girls’ single finals. Amazingly, she is the second Australian tennis player to have been ranked No.1 by the Women’s Tennis Association, following in the footsteps of Evonne Goolagong Cawley. Barty has won 11 singles titles and 10 doubles titles from WTA tours, as well as a French Open singles title and a US Open doubles title in 2018. She is currently the reigning champion of the Australian Open (as of 2022).
Between 2014 and 2016, Barty took time away from tennis to play tennis, but she came back in 2017 and wowed everyone. She took the gold at the 2017 Malaysian Open, rising to No. 17. Then she seized the 2019 French Open. During the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, she brought home a bronze. In 2021, Barty claimed 5 more titles, including 2021 Wimbledon and WTA 1000.
Unfortunately, Barty has retired from professional tennis in March 2022. Presently, she serves Tennis Australia as the National Indigenous Tennis Ambassador.
8. Justine Henin
- Career Single Records: 525-115 (82.0% Win)
- Career Titles: 43
- Total Prize Money: $20,863,335.00
- Total Weeks at World No.1: 117 (
- Grand Slam Titles: 7
As a former tennis professional from Belgium, Justine Henin has created many waves. Henin was number one in the world for a total of 117 weeks and was end-of-the-year No. 1 in 2003, 2006, and 2007. Recognized as a strong all-court player with a rare single-handed backhand, Henin was a force to be reckoned with and helped to put Belgium on the map in tennis. Not only did Henin claim 43 WTA Singles titles, including 7 Grand Slam titles, she has also won an Olympic Gold medal (2004) and the Fed Cup (2001).
Henin is one of the few players who has been described as the full package: excellent skill, footspeed, footwork, and mental fortitude. She was also named by Time magazine in their article “30 Legends of Women’s Tennis: Past, Present, and Future,” in 2011. While Henin retired from tennis in 2011 due to a chronic elbow injury, she continues to influence current female tennis stars. In 2016, Henin was the first Belgian player to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
7. Venus Williams
- Career Single Records: 815-265 (75.5%)
- Career Titles: 49 Singles, 22 Doubles
- Total Prize Money: $42,173,992.00
- Total Weeks at World No.1:
- Grand Slam Titles: 7
Being that Venus is one of the most recognized female tennis players to date (and also one of the most successful), it is safe to say that she has earned her place among the greats. Venus was formerly number one for both doubles and singles. Earning five titles at Wimbledon and two at the US Open, Venus made a name for herself extremely early in her career. In fact, Venus Williams was the first African American to become No.1 during the Open Era. She has finished second in countless titles (losing to her sister Serena each time).
However, where Serena shines in singles, Venus does spectacularly in doubles. She has won 14 major doubles titles. In fact, Venus and Serena partnered up and won a non-calendar Grand Slam in doubles in 2010. They have also won gold medals at the Olympics in 2000, 2008, and 2021.
Currently, Venus is close behind her sister when it comes to statistics. She holds an amazing 49 WTA Tour titles for singles (all combined, she has 73) and is known as one of the most active tennis players in history. She has also earned the second highest prize money amount in history. In 2021, despite having a losing streak, she was able to receive a wildcard to the 2021 Wimbledon. After Naomi Osaka dropped out, Venus Williams became a main draw, marking that as her 90th match win at Wimbledon, as well as her 90th Wimbledon appearance.
Check out this video of the Williams sisters’ doubles match highlights:
6. Caroline Wozniacki
- Career Single Records: 635-264 (70.6% Win)
- Career Titles: 30 WTA Singles
- Total Prize Money: $35,233,415.00
- Total Weeks at World No.1: 71 (49 Consecutive)
- Grand Slam Titles: 1
Caroline Wozniacki is a Danish former tennis professional who was ranked no. 1 for 71 weeks, achieving her top ranking for the first time in October 2010. That marked Wozniacki as the first woman from Scandinavia to achieve that rank since the beginning of the Open Era. In 2018, Wozniacki was also the first Dane to score a Grand Slam title when she won the finals in the 2018 Australian Open by beating Simona Halep. While that was her sole Grand Slam title, that does not detract from her greatness on the tennis court.
Wozniacki displayed incredible defensive plays when on the court. She has claimed six WTA titles in both 2010 and 2011, the most of any WTA player between 2008-2011. She was a junior Grand Slam champ, having won the 2006 Wimbledon girls’ single match. More recently, Wozniacki won the 2017 WTA Finals in Singapore by beating Venus Williams. That moved her up to No. 3 in the rankings of that year. Other highlights include three Premier Mandatory titles and three Premier 5 titles.
In January 2020, Caroline Wozniacki decided to retire from tennis. She later became a commentator for ESPN in 2022.
5. Monica Seles
- Career Single Records: 595-122 (82.98% Win)
- Career Titles: 53 career titles
- Total Prize Money: $14,891,762.00
- Total Weeks at World No.1: 178 (91 Consecutive)
- Grand Slam Titles: 9
Between 1990 and 1992, Monica Seles was undoubtedly one of the best female tennis players of all time. She managed to take home 7 Grand Slam titles between those years; in 1991, Seles was also the No. 1 ranked woman in the world. Had she not been attacked by an obsessed fan in 1993, Seles may have gone on to develop a much longer winning streak. It is truly a shame to know that one deranged fan changed the entire course of this player’s moment in history.
However, even after getting attacked, Seles did not quit. Following the stabbing, she returned to win 2 more Grand Slam tournaments. Seles is also the youngest French Open champion ever. She won the Grand Slam at only 16 years old. Seles is also one of the few players to have won the French Open three times in a row. Gaining victory at the Australian Open on her first try makes her one of the two players to have done so. One incredible record Seles has set at the Australian Open is her 33 consecutive singles match wins.
Monica Seles continued to play tennis up to 2003, but she did not officially retire until 2008. Presently, she runs one of the most prestigious tennis academies in the world.
4. Martina Hingis
- Career Single Records: 548-135 (80.2% Win)
- Career Titles: 43 WTA Singles
- Total Prize Money: $24,749,074.00
- Total Weeks at World No.1: 209 (80 Consecutive)
- Grand Slam Titles: 5
Martina Hingis has smashed many records during her years spent playing tennis. Born in September 1980, Hingis started breaking “youngest-ever” records in the 1990s. She turned pro in 1994. Martina Hingis is also the first Swiss player (and the youngest) to have won a major title and achieve the world No. 1 ranking in tennis. During this period, Hingis spent an outstanding 209 weeks as the No. 1 in singles, as well as 90 weeks at No. 1 in doubles. She held both rankings simultaneously for a total of 29 weeks. Few players, male or female, have been able to achieve this.
Sadly, Hingis sustained ligament injuries in the dawning of her tennis career, which forced her to withdraw from the game in 2003. However, prior to that withdrawal, she had attained 40 singles titles and 36 doubles titles. Once her long road to recovery was finished, Hingis made her way back to the courts in 2006. She easily regained a dominant rank, reaching No. 6 by winning two tournaments. She was awarded the Laureus World Sports Award for Comeback of the Year, too.
Another Rebound From Hingis
However, Hingis once again needed downtime to heal after a hip injury in 2007. It was thought she would remain permanently retired during this time, but she decided to return in 2013 to play at the doubles events on North American hard courts. That same year, she was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. She used this time to win four major women’s doubles tournaments, a career slam in Mixed Doubles), a silver medal at the Rio Olympics in 2016, as well as 27 WTA Tour doubles titles.
After that, she retired for a final time after competing in the 2017 WTA Finals with the No. 1 ranking once again under her belt.
Hingis has long been considered one of the greatest female tennis players of all time. In 2005, TENNIS magazine named her the 8th greatest player of the preceding 40 years. She was also on the “30 Legends of Women’s Tennis: Past, Present, and Future” list from Time in 2011. Prior to retiring, Hingis also coached players between 2013 and 2015.
3. Martina Navratilova
- Career Single Records: 1,442-219 (86.8% Win)
- Career Titles: 167 WTA, 1 ITF (Singles)
- Total Prize Money: $21,626,089
- Total Weeks at World No.1: 332 (156 Consecutive)
- Grand Slam Titles: 18
Widely known for her skills between the 1970s and 80s, Navratilova continues to astound with her gameplay and prowess on the courts. Even though she has been retired for many years now, her matches—particularly those against her rival Chris Evert—are something to behold. Few people could compete with her in singles.
Navratilova has won 167 titles from the WTA in total, as well as 18 Grand Slam tournament titles, 10 major mixed doubles titles, and 31 major women’s doubles titles. This gives her the most titles in the entire Open Era. Not even Serena Williams is close (though that may one day change). Second only to Steffi Graf, Navratilova was ranked No.1 in the world in singles for a whopping 332 weeks. She was also No. 1 in doubles for 237 weeks. This makes her the top player to hold both positions consistently for over 200 weeks.
She has gain recognition for the sheer amount of times she has visited the Grand Slam tournaments, as well. Navratilova was at the Wimbledon Championships 12 times; that includes 9 consecutive visits between 1982 and 1990. She also seized the Wimbledon title 9 times. Aside from Doris Hart and Margaret Court, Navratilova is the only player to have gotten a career Boxed Set, which includes a career Grand Slam in singles, women’s doubles, and mixed doubles.
One notable achievement of Martina Navratilova’s is that she was only tennis pro to have won one tour event or more for 21 consecutive years. Furthermore, she has won singles and doubles at the same event 84 times! Oh, and she has the most career singles match wins of any player in the entire Open Era.
The Vulnerable Side of Navratilova
For all her unbeatable statistics and impressive athleticism, one of the reasons Navratilova continues to inspire was her vulnerability. Tennis players undoubtedly come down ill and end up nursing their injuries, but Navratilova never succumbed to her struggles. She started wearing glasses in 1985, making her one of the few tennis players to wear either glasses or sunglasses on the court. This look made her iconic.
Also, in 2010, Navratilova was diagnosed with breast cancer. She overcame that struggle and has continued to live life as an activist for human rights. In 2021, Navratilova was named a leader of the Women’s Sports Policy Working Group, which was formed after an executive order signed by President Biden.
Here is an interview with Navratilova and Evert about their intense rivalry during their tennis careers:
2. Serena Williams
- Career Single Records: 855-151 (85.0% Win)
- Career Titles: 73 WTA Singles
- Total Prize Money: $94,453,854.00
- Total Weeks at World No.1: 319 (Consecutive 186)
- Grand Slam Titles: 23
Few tennis players have a story like that of Serena Williams. Right now, she is the highest earning female athlete in history, and she has been presented numerous awards. Starting out with humble beginnings and following her sister, Venus, into tennis, Serena quickly rose to the top in the youth circuits of the United States Tennis Association. In 1997, she had a rocky beginning with professional tournaments, as she lost in the qualifying rounds a couple of times.
But then she won her first main-draw match at the Ameritech Cup in Chicago. Despite being ranked 304, she beat both Mary Pierce (No. 7), and Monica Seles (No. 4), earning herself the distinction of being the lowest ranked Open Era player to defeat two top-10 players in the same tournament.
Although Serena ultimately lost to Lindsay Davenport (No. 5) at that tournament, she had boosted herself to No. 99 by the end of 1997.
The momentum continued, carrying Serena to where she is today. Serena holds numerous records, including holding No. 1 in world rankings for 319 weeks (186 being consecutive). She has also finished out the year at No. 1 five times. Serena has won 23 Grand Slam titles, putting her at the top of the list for players during the Open Era. She has yet to beat Margaret Court’s record of 24, but it is certain that she will surpass Court in the coming years.
Take a look at how people react to Serena’s superb tennis plays:
All of Serena’s Slams
Serena has maintained a level of dominance in tennis since 2012 when she won the Wimbledon championship. That same year, she also won a gold at the Olympics, making her the first tennis player to earn a Career Golden Slam for both singles and doubles. She has also accomplished eight out of thirteen singles majors, including four in a row between 2014 and 2015. Fans have dubbed this the “Serena Slam.”
Paired with Venus, Serena has been unstoppable in doubles matches. Together, they have won 14 major doubles titles, including a non-calendar Grand Slam between the 2009 Wimbledon and 2010 Roland Garros tournament. Serena also has three gold medals in women’s doubles, which is a record shared with Venus.
Recently, Serena is also joint-third on the all-time list and No. 2 on the Open Era list for having the most major titles. She also won a Surface Slam by holding four major titles in 2015 by winning on grass, clay, and hard courts.
1. Steffi Graf
- Career Single Records: 900-115 (88.7% Win)
- Career Titles: 107 WTA Singles
- Total Prize Money: $21,895,277
- Total Weeks at World No.1: 377 (186 Consecutive)
- Grand Slam Titles: 22
Few will deny that Steffi Graf was one of the most skilled and enthralling female tennis players of her time. Not many tennis players of today could have won against her in her prime. Although Graf retired from tennis in 1999, she is still widely talked about, and her matches are viewed over and over again. But what makes Graf the best female tennis player of all time? (It’s not just because Billie Jean King said so, either.)
Graf is accredited with developing an aggressive style that has served as the foundation for modern strategies. Many players of today use her style and end up dominating in competitions. Graf, alongside Boris Becker, is also known for assisting in the spread of tennis in Germany, where it continues to be one of the most popular national sports.
That aside, let’s discuss Steffi Graf’s countless victories and records. Graf was ranked No. 1 around the world for 377 weeks—the longest period for any player since the WTA or ATP has begun issuing rankings. Graf also holds the third highest number of Grand Slam wins in history, putting her behind Margaret Court at 24 and Serena Williams at 23.
In 1988, Graf was the first tennis player to win a Golden Slam by taking the titles from the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, US Open, and Olympics within the same calendar year. Plus, she is the only tennis player to win every tournament at least four times. Alongside Margaret Court, Steffi Graf has won three Grand Slams in a calendar year five times—in 1988, 1989, 1993, 1995, and 1996.
The Grit of Graf
Out of all the best female tennis players named in this list, Steffi Graf is among the few who have excelled on any kind of surface. Her footwork and athleticism are second to the power of her forehand drive. She showed a staggering amount of grit against her competitors, which is why she was able to claim title after title during her career.
Even Martina Navratilova named Graf as one of the best female tennis players of all time. It goes without saying that someone who was able to get 107 singles titles, six French Open wins, four Australian Open wins, seven Wimbledon wins, and five US Open titles deserves this kind of recognition.
Graf may have retired in 1999, her records continue to speak of her legacy. Perhaps in the future, one of her two children (which she had with her husband Andre Agassi, another tennis legend) will grace the tennis courts and give tennis fans even more to talk about.
Best Female Tennis Players Honorable Mentions
Long-standing records can make it difficult for up-and-coming talent to be recognized among the best of the best. However, there are other outstanding players who deserve some time in the spotlight:
- Career Single Records: 566-221 (71.9% Win)
- Career Titles: 21
- Total Prize Money: $34,449,618.00
- Total Weeks at World No.1: 51
- Grand Slam Titles: 1
Out of all the tennis players in the world, only a handful can go against Serena Williams and give her a challenge. Victoria Azarenka is one of those players. Is it the grunting? Who knows. Belarusian professional Azarenka first claimed No. 1 in January 2012 and ended that year as No. 1. Currently, she has held the top rank for a combined 51 weeks. At 5 feet, 11 inches, Azarenka is one of the taller active players to grace the courts, which is possibly one of the reasons she can compete with the speed and dynamism of Serena Williams.
Presently, Azarenka has 21 WTA singles titles, including two from the Australian Open, which she won in 2012 and 2013. That makes her the first male or female Belarusian player to ever win the title. She is also a three-time finalist at the US Open. In 2020, she finished as a runner-up against Naomi Osaka. Azarenka has also done well in the Premier Mandatory, winning the title 6 times.
Success has also been found in doubles. Azarenka has gotten 4 Grand Slam titles in doubles, as well as three mixed doubles titles. Will she become on the best female tennis players of all time? We shall see.
- Career Single Records: 563-235 (70.6%)
- Career Titles: 23
- Total Prize Money: $39,663,297
- Total Weeks at World No.1: 64 Weeks
- Grand Slam Titles: 2
There are not many notable Romanian players in tennis, which is what makes Simona Halep such a standout. Ranked No. 1 in both 2017 and 2019 for a total of 64 weeks, Halep has garnered a lot of attention from tennis fans. Interestingly, Halep has ranked within the top 10 between 2014-2021 for 373 consecutive weeks, which is the highest in WTA history. She currently has two Grand Slam wins—2018 French Open and 2019 Wimbledon.
She has also done something that only Graf has been able to accomplish since 1986. Halep won her first six titles in 2013. Notably, Halep gives Serena Williams trouble on the court, as seen in the 2014 WTA Finals during a round-robin stage.
She has been named the 2014 and 2015 WTA Most Popular Player of the Year, as well as the 2017, 2018, and 2019 WTA Fan Favorite Singles Player of the Year.
Keep an eye on this one!
Now You Know the GOATs
Now that you have seen the top 10 best female tennis players of all time, what do you think? Is there anyone you would add? There are so many remarkable female players in tennis, but the 10 women on this list have each done something incredible during their time. Maybe in the future, one of the honorable mentions will rise above them. For now, the top 10 continue to be used as examples to inspire those who are up-and-coming in the tennis world, be they recreational or professional.
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