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Top 10 Greatest Women's Tennis Players of All Time

Updated on July 15, 2017
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Bill has had a lifelong passion for the game of tennis from his days as a competitive youth player to now following the world's top players.

International Tennis Hall of Fame: Newport, RI

The International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum
The International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum | Source

Selecting the top ten of anything can be a difficult and subjective task. As difficult as it was to choose the top ten all-time greatest male tennis players, the women's top ten proved no easier.

There have been so many great women players over the last 50 years, and this doesn't even take into consideration the great players from the early 20th century. Changes in fitness regimes, nutrition, and racket technology over the years have only served to complicate an already difficult task.

After pouring through countless statistical records and my own personal memory banks, I have come up with a list of the best female tennis players of all time. Here they are.

10. Justine Henin

Justin Henin
Justin Henin | Source
  • Born: June 1, 1982
    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

Known for her mental and physical toughness, Justine Henin was one of the most athletic women to ever play the game. Despite her small stature, she packed a powerful punch and played a complete game that included a powerful serve and a forehand shot that she hit with both power and accuracy. Known as one of the best volleyers in the game, Henin was as comfortable at the net as from the baseline.

In 2003, she achieved the number one ranking in the world, having won both the French Open and the US Open. In 2004, Henin won the Gold Medal at the Athens Olympics to go along with her first Australian Open title. She won seven Grand Slam titles in her career but retired abruptly in 2008 citing burnout from over twenty years of competitive tennis. A brief comeback in 2010 was short lived, and she retired for good in early 2011.


9. Venus Williams

Venus Williams
Venus Williams | Source
  • Born: June 17, 1980
    Lynwood, California
  • Resides: Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
  • Turned pro: 1994
  • Career prize money: $35,520,636
  • 49 career titles
  • 7 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 5 Wimbledon, 2 US Open
  • Current active player

If not for having to compete against her sister Serena, Venus Williams may very well have had many more Grand Slam titles to her name. The sisters have gone head-to-head in a Grand Slam final eight times with Serena winning six of those matches.

While Venus’s career has been fraught with injuries, there is no doubt that in the early 2000s she was the woman to beat on tour. Between 2000 and 2001, Venus captured four of her seven Grand Slam victories. In 2002, she finally attained the number one ranking in the world, a spot she would capture on three separate occasions. Wimbledon has been Venus’s favorite court as she has won five titles there, the last coming in 2008.

Venus is back to playing at a high level after suffering through years of knee and hip problems. She started the 2014 season ranked number 47 in the world but has climbed back into the top twenty and is currently ranked number 9 in the world following her run to the 2017 Australian Open and Wimbledon final. A win at either of Grand Slam events would have made for a fitting cap to a long and very successful career.


8. Evonne Goolagong

Evonne Goolagong
Evonne Goolagong | Source
  • Born: July 31, 1951
    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
  • Inducted into Tennis Hall of Fame: 1988

Often overlooked because she played during the Chris Everett and Martina Navratilova era, Goolagong was the epitome of grace and beauty on the court. Despite playing during one of the most competitive periods in women’s tennis, Goolagong was still able to win seven Grand Slam titles and in 1976 was ranked number one in the world.

She has the distinction of being the only mother since before World War I to have won Wimbledon, having won the title in 1980 after giving birth to her daughter in 1977.

The only Grand Slam title to elude her was the US Open, where she reached the finals in four consecutive years, 1973-1976.


7. Billie Jean King

Source
  • Born: November 22, 1943
    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
  • Inducted into Tennis Hall of Fame: 1987

Who can forget the weird and wacky battle of the sexes between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs in 1973? Not only did King dispose of Mr. Riggs in short order but she also dominated women’s tennis from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s.

Her hard-charging aggressive style of play was in sharp contrast to the stately ground game of Chris Evert who came along in 1972 to challenge King as the queen of women’s tennis. Nevertheless, King owned Wimbledon from 1966 to 1975, when she won the title six times.


6. Monica Seles

Monica Seles
Monica Seles | Source
  • Born: December 2, 1973
    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, 2 US Open
  • Inducted into Tennis Hall of Fame: 2009

Were it not for the unfortunate on-court attack and stabbing by a deranged fan in 1993, Monica Seles would certainly have gone on to win more Grand Slam titles. Her epic battles with Steffi Graf were classics, and we the fans were deprived of some great matches because of one fan's sick obsession.

While Monica did return to tennis two years after the incident, she was never quite the same. To her credit, she did go on to win the 1996 Australian Open, her only post-attack Grand Slam victory. Monica continued to play until 2003 and officially retired in 2008.

There is no doubt that Monica Seles was the most dominant player from 1990 to 1992. During this time, she won seven of her nine Grand Slam Titles and in 1991 was the top-ranked woman in the world.


5. Margaret Court

Margaret Court
Margaret Court | Source
  • Born: July 16, 1942
    Albury, New South Wales, Australia
  • Resides: Perth, Western Australia
  • Turned pro: 1960
  • Retired: 1977
  • Career prize money approximately: $500,000
  • 192 career titles
  • 24 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 11 Australian, 5 French, 3 Wimbledon, 5 US Open
  • Inducted into Tennis Hall of Fame: 1979

There are many experts out there who feel that Margaret Court is the best player of all time. With a record 24 Grand Slam singles titles, it’s hard to argue. Add in her 19 doubles and 19 mixed doubles titles and Court has a record 62 Major titles to her credit.

She was the first woman in the open era to win the singles Grand Slam in 1970, and she is one of only two women (Daniela Hantuchova being the other) to have won a Grand Slam in mixed doubles, which she did twice. Undoubtedly the best player in the 1960s to early 1970s, Court was the first woman to incorporate weights and fitness training into her routine. The result was a long and injury-free career.


4. Chris Evert

Chris Evert
Chris Evert | Source
  • Born: December 21, 1954
    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
  • Inducted into Tennis Hall of Fame: 1995

Was there ever a player more graceful on the court than Chris Evert? She was a machine from the baseline, and with that two-handed backhand shot, she dominated women’s tennis from the mid-1970s into the early 1980s. Evert still holds the record for reaching the most Grand Slam singles finals with 34, and she managed to win 18 of them including every major at least twice. When Martina Navratilova came along in the late 1970s, it provided fans with a great on-court rivalry. Evert was the year-ending number one player in the world for seven years and had a career winning percentage in singles matches of over 90 percent.


3. Martina Navratilova

Martina Navratilova
Martina Navratilova | Source
  • Born: October 18, 1956
    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
  • Inducted into Tennis Hall of Fame: 2000

One of the toughest competitors to ever grace the court, Martina Navratilova dominated women’s tennis from the late 1970s through a good portion of the 1980s. Known for her extreme physical conditioning, Martina brought the big serve and volley back to the women’s game.

She holds the open era record for career titles with 167 and has 59 total Grand Slam titles including singles, doubles, and mixed doubles. Martina also holds the record for career Wimbledon titles with an amazing nine championships. She will be remembered as one of the greatest doubles players ever, having won 31 grand Slam Doubles titles and 10 Grand Slam Mixed Doubles titles.


2. Steffi Graf

Steffi Graf
Steffi Graf | Source
  • Born: June 14, 1969
    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
  • Inducted into Tennis Hall of Fame: 2004

Able to win on all surfaces, Graff was a model of consistency throughout her 17-year career. Her record 377 weeks ranked as number one in the world is a record for any player, male or female. In 1988, Graff became the first player to achieve what is regarded as the calendar year Golden Slam by winning all four majors plus the Olympic Gold Medal in the same year, a remarkable feat.

From the late 1980s to the mid-1990s, there was no one better than Graf, and when she retired in 1999, she was still ranked number three in the world. Were it not for the long and storied career of Serena Williams the case would be made for Graf as the greatest of all-time. While many will continue to debate Steffi versus Serena as the greatest female player of all-time they were both incredible players who dominated their era and advanced women's tennis.


1. Serena Williams

Serena Williams
Serena Williams | Source
  • Born: September 26, 1981
    Saginaw, Michigan
  • Resides: Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
  • Turned pro: 1995
  • Career prize money: $84,463,131
  • 72 career titles
  • 23 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 7 Australian, 3 French, 7 Wimbledon, 6 US Open
  • Current active player

One of the strongest and most powerful women to ever play the game, Serena Williams has certainly left her mark on tennis. Together, Serena and her sister, Venus, have been a dominant force in women’s tennis since the late 1990s. Together, they have won 14 Grand Slam Doubles titles. With 23 Grand Slam Singles titles including the 2017 Australian Open, Serena now owns the open era record for Grand Slam singles titles by a tennis player, male or female.

At the age of 35, Serena has regained the number one ranking in the world, a distinction that she first achieved back in 2002. Serena’s game has certainly withstood the test of time and competition. Her Grand Slam titles have come over an 18-year period starting in 1999, with her latest victory coming at the 2017 Australian Open.

I believe the case can now be made to elevate Serena to the greatest female tennis player of all-time. Her high level of play over a very long career combined with her 23-6 record in Grand Slam finals certainly makes the case convincing. No disrespect to Steffi Graf but Serena now deserves the distinction as greatest of all-time.


Who do you think is the greatest women's tennis player of all-time?

See results

© 2013 Bill De Giulio

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    • profile image

      Bade Kirm 4 days ago

      Martina Navratilova is the Greatest

      Martina Hingis Is also a great player to be on the list atleast.

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      Kyl 13 days ago

      WoW Hingis just won another slam she Truely deserves to be on the list

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      marc 13 days ago

      I still believe that Monica Seles should always come ahead of Steffi Graff on any list for the simple fact that she dominated her head-on just as Rafael Nadal dominated Roger Federer.

      A true champion is one who is able to beat all MAJOR RIVALS on head to head matchup.

      On that note, Serena Williams is GOAT.

    • profile image

      Yank kurl 2 weeks ago

      Martina Hingis was spectacular so was Monica seles.

    • profile image

      Wawranka 2 weeks ago

      What a sheer beauty in motion was Martina Hingis.

      Admin please add her name.

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      Ronnie-D 2 weeks ago

      How about Maria Bueno?

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      Bob 2 weeks ago

      Serena? TBE? Seriously not! Steffi is on top of all so far!

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      Nadia 4 weeks ago

      Martina Hingis

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      Jean king fan 5 weeks ago

      why Billie jst got "Zero" percentage.... and yes Martinj Hingis's name should be there And maria sharapova's also

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      Katja 5 weeks ago

      Navratilova and Chrisi the Greatest.

      Court, Graff and Seles 2nd

      Hingis and Serena 3rd

      Justin 4th

      rest all follow

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      Rihan 6 weeks ago

      Martina Hingis. The Greatest player.

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      Sadi 7 weeks ago

      I Agree with who say Graf is greatest player but I definitely Agree with all those who say that SELES Could've been greatest if That stabbing did not have happened. she had amazing stats and results in a V short span of time. so my vote goes for Monica seles.

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      PandaBears 7 weeks ago

      Steffi Graf is the greatest player of all time, male or female...Do some research on the numbers, her competition, and accomplishments.....She is better in every category by a wide margin than Serena Williams except for 1 less grand slam....AND one thing to not about that , Graf is much better % wise winning slams than Serena....Here is one stat that many may not know about...Graf won 22 slams out of 56 attempts in an era where Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova played. Where as Serena won 23 slams out of 66 attempts in an era of no real competition other than her sister. Serena played in 10 more slams than Graf did and failed to win in 9 of them....When you put it all together....Steffi Graf is the greatest player of all time, man or woman...The numbers don't lie.

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      Muji 7 weeks ago

      I agree with inclusion of Martina Hingis's name in list

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      Tina 8 weeks ago

      Hingis is a Great player she should have been in the list

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      Goshi 2 months ago

      Martina Hingis's name should definitely be there. Agreed. Although me a Steffi fan.

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      Ali 2 months ago

      Monica Seles could have been the Greatest player provided she was not stabbed. Her stats prior To that stabbing event Clearly show how terrific a player she was.

      Then Martina Hingis proved Herself as Seles's successor with same kind of Records and performance. Both these ladies SURELY stand in TOP 5 greates female tennis players

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      MIB 2 months ago

      Steffi had to face most the above-mentioned players at their peak and she doesn't have losing record against any of them while serena struggled against henin and clisters. i think steffi is not only the greatest tennis player of all time but she is the greatest sports woman of all time. In Pakistan when she was playing nobody knew what tennis was but they knew who steffi is and most of them watch matches just to watch her play.

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      Gul 2 months ago

      MARTINA HINGIS's name should also be there. she was a phenomenon before Falling victim to injuries. One can always check the records and stats She has

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      BD 2 months ago

      Margaret Court for No. 1:

      24 Masters (Including 12 Australioan Opens)

      Numbers don't lie!

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      Mahboob 2 months ago

      Not sure how Serena comes ahead of Steffi for one more GS title, but being 2nd to almost every other stats. May be, Serena being a recent player has got more votes from the younger generation.

      Apart from all other stats, only fact that puts Steffi ahead for me is that she dominated the game in an era, when 3 of the other top 5 were active. Add to that Gabi Sabatini. To be honest, Serena has almost a free run in most part of her career & genetically she is much stronger, which kept her on top for such long period without any major rival, apart from her sis.

      To me, the toughest job in Tennis is to win both French & Wimbledon more times, because of the quick transition demanded in that short period - Steffi had 6 French, 7 All England & 5 US (Hard Court) title. And, she has the only unique Penta - the golden slam. From 1987 US to 1989 US, she won 8 GS & Olympic Gold, in a time when Martina still was dominant grass player, while Chris on clay. Barring one loss to Sanchez Vicario in 1989 (when she was suffering from upset stomach, and lost to fatigue more), she could have won 10 or 11 straight GS & an Olympic gold.

      Serena had to win a Grand Slam year, to be the no. 1.

      Steffi

      Serena

      Martina

      Chris

      Monica

      Is my top 5 & it probably won't change ever till my death (I am 44 now

    • profile image

      boby 2 months ago

      serena#williams

      i guessed the player on number 1 and i said serena

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      ted munt 2 months ago

      Margaret court should have the number one ranking because she has won more grand slam titles than any other player in the historyof the game and has also won the calander grand slam.

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      Andrew S 3 months ago

      While Serena has one more grand slam than Steffi she didn't win a Grand Slam and Steffi easily leads Serena on a number of major stats - total weeks at number 1 (377 v 319) and total number of titles (107 v 72). And Steffi did this in a shorter career.

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      serve104 3 months ago

      When I make a mistake I admit it I was in error on one of my facts maureen connelly did die at an early age she was 34 however in 1954 a riding ac identify ended her tennis career she was only 20 at the time but she did win 8 majors and was the first to win the calendar grand slam I think she should of been on this list

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      serve104 3 months ago

      About 15 years ago a writer from the toronto star posted his results of what he felt were the ten greatest women's players of all time were. I don't know what he based his research on but I think it's more reflective of the pre open and open era more so then your list this was his list

      1. Steffi graf

      2 Martina navratilova

      3 Suzanne lenghlin

      4 helen wills moody

      5 margaret court

      6 billie jean king

      7 Chris evert

      8 Maureen connelly

      9 Evonne goolagong

      10 Monica Seles

      Now this was before the careers of serena or henin and Venus so who knows where they would of placed

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      serve104 3 months ago

      Suzanne lenghlin won 8 grand slam singles titles plus 4 world championships in the 1920s helen wills moody was a 19 time grand slam champion and was a world champion at the age of 15 during the 30s. Maureen connelly won 8 major titles and was the first woman to win the calendar grand slam she would of won a lot more had she not died at an early age. Doris hart won 7 majors and in 1951 was voted number 1. In 1950 wills moody was voted the greatest player of the half century lenghlin was voted second. Statistics aside I think room could of been made for 1 of these players to make the list

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      serve104 3 months ago

      SuzanneSuzanne lenghlin won 8 grand slam singles titles including 4 world championships during the 1920s. Helen wills moody won 19 grand slam titles and at 15 was a world champion in the 30s. Maureen connelly won 8 majors and was the first women to win the calendar grand slam she would of won a lot more had she not died at a young age and Doris hart won 7 majors and voted number 1 in 1951. Wills moody was voted in 1950 as best player for first half century lenghlin was voted seconditions I think some room on your list could of been made for 1 of these players

    • profile image

      serve104 3 months ago

      I would agree with this list if it were a list of the greatest open era tennis players but as a list of the greatest of all time it's disrespectful to the history of the game. Not 1 single player from the pre open era made the list. Let's talk about lenglin, wills moody, Connolly and hart if you people took 2 seconds to review their careers I think you would agree they were better then henin, venus and seles. Shame on you

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      sisisailberg 3 months ago

      Steffi is just the best female player off all time. that's fact! She is the only golden slam winner in the tennis history. And she never took any doping, what you can't really say abaout an other player here in this list. We all know whom I speak about.

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      Almost 4 months ago

      Serena vs Federer would be nice

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      Male 4 months ago

      Serena and Venus has to play at mens category. Their arms looks like male arms.

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      Christopher 4 months ago

      Steffi's numbers are SUPERIOR and she won her 22 slams in many less attempts than Serena won her 23 and Steffi won many more tournaments period.....Steffi is #1 if anyone cares to look at that stats....Her numbers are INCREDIBLE!!!

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      Alwin 4 months ago

      Seriously... this whole debate is a joke. Serena only has a better grand slam result, other than that Steffi is her superior. So what is this debate about? Tennis is more than only grand slams.

      For me its clear: they are the GOATS, but if I have to choose it will be Steffi. Her '87, '88 and '89 are amazing. Serena never had those kinda years. Steffi hardly lost a match.

      Besides all this: I do think Steffi had more competition. Since 2010 Serena wins everything by just being healthy / in shape. That's amazing and it should be respected,but honestly, she has no competition. They say Maria Sharapova.. the girl shakes when she plays Serena. No competition is not something you can blame Serena for, but I just think Graf had to conquer bigger tasks.

    • profile image

      Anonymous 5 months ago

      Jo Konya is the greates of all time

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 6 months ago from Massachusetts

      Steffi Graf, Germany.

      Martina Navratilova, Czech.

      Margaret Court, Australia.

      Monica Sles, Yugoslavia.

      Evonne Goolagong, Australia.

      Justine Henin, Belgium.

      Really?

    • profile image

      nil 6 months ago

      bias list....only americans wow...

    • profile image

      Ishaan 6 months ago

      Federer is the best on this earth beware here comes federer beat nadal 6263

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      Karin 6 months ago

      Where is Martina Hingis, the Swiss who is one of the greatest and most influential players of all time, After all, she was No. 1 for a period of time.

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      adriana 6 months ago

      were's Dominika

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      Yats 6 months ago

      Where is Martina Hingis? former World No.1 she suppose to be here.

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      Tom Stewart 1 7 months ago

      Serena Williams is the best player of All Time, and what we can talk about is : who is the second player after Serena Williams. It is not fair it is even shameful to define Steffi Graf as the best player or even as one of the Top 5. And i think you know why, because we all know the history. Steffi Graf dominated the tennis from 1987 to 1990 , she was Number One from 17. August 1987 to 11. March 1991 exactly 186 weeks till she was thrust out of thron by Monica Seles who dominated the women's tennis three years from May 1990 to 30.April 1993 she won 8 Grand Slams in this time and won the most of important tournaments in this three years and she was officially Number 1 from the 11th March 1991.

      That means Steffi Graf was turned off three years, she could only won on grass, she won Wimbledon ( 1991 and 1992 ) that only what Steffi Graf could win in this 3 years. Monica Seles was the top women's player heading into 1993, having won the French Open three consecutive years and both the US Open and Australian Open in consecutive years.

      US Open ( 1991 , 1992 )

      French Open ( 1990 , 1991 , 1992 )

      Australian Open ( 1991 , 1992 , 1993 )

      In January 1993, Seles defeated Graf in the final of the Australian Open, which to date was her third win in four Grand Slam finals against Graf. With eight Grand Slam singles titles before her 20th birthday on December 2, 1993, Seles holds the record for most Grand Slam singles titles won as a teenager in the Open Era. She then won the Virginia Slims of Chicago.

      It was strong dominance of Monica Seles that's why she has been stabbed with a boning knife in Germany by a German Man, a fan of Steffi Graf.

      On April 30 during a quarterfinal match with Magdalena Maleeva in Hamburg in which Seles was leading 6–4, 4–3, Günter Parche, a fan of Steffi Graf, ran from the middle of the crowd to the edge of the court during a break between games and stabbed Seles with a boning knife between her shoulder blades, she was quickly rushed to a hospital. A few weeks later Steffi Graf took over the lead again. Exactly the way what the Attacker Günter Parcher said : I did that to eliminate Monica Seles from Tennis Courts and Steffi Graf to become Number 1 again, and it was the only way that Steffi became Number 1 again after 3 years.

      Monica Seles did not return to competitive tennis for more than two years, and could never be in top form again. In the runup to her comeback in August 1995 , then WTA president Martina Navratilova proposed that Seles be reinstated alongside Steffi Graf as joint number one , Steffi Graf opposed the additional proposal that Seles' co-ranking not be determined by the minimum participation of 12 tournaments a year required of everyone else. Graf felt that would give Seles an advantage in the rankings.

      German authorities were quick to rule the Attack out, describing her attacker as confused and possibly mentally disturbed. Parche was charged following the incident, but was not jailed because he was found to be psychologically abnormal, and was instead sentenced to two years' probation and psychological treatment.

      Now to all who say Steffi Graf the best and don't mention all this facts I said it's cheap and shameful. What is the difference between you and Günter Parcher if you celebrate Steffi Graf as The Best in tennis (history) you know what history i mean. Maybe you consider Günter Parcher to be a hero.

      Steffi Graf is a very good Tennis player and one of best Players in the history.

      But Monica Seles is better than Steffi Graf and dominated over 3 years till she stabbed. This the reality and Steffi Graf her self noticed that. That's why I respect her. And I tell this history to Steffi Graf's fans who don't know it or don't want to mention it.

      The statistics are like this:

      Before the Knife's stabbing against Monica Seles on 30 April 1993 Steffi Graf was ranked No.1 for 186 weeks.

      She won 11 Grand Slams

      And if we add 3 Wimbledon winning after the attack because she was the strongest on grass even in the time Monica Seles it will be 14

      All the other records are after the elimination of Monica Seles. (she won other 8 Grand Slams to be 22 Grand Slams and ranked No.1 for other 191 weeks to be 377 weeks )

      Serena Williams won 23 Grand Slams and ranked No.one 310 weeks, of it 186 consecutive.

      Martina Navratilova won 18 Grand Slams and ranked No.1. 331 weeks

      Chris Evert won 18 Grand Slams and ranked No.1 260 weeks.

      Monica Seles won 9 Grand Slams and ranked No.1. 178 weeks and all that actually in only three years and she was Teenager (under 20 ) Respect for you Monica.

      Steffi Graf actually with the attack against Monica Seles had 14 Grand Slams and ranked No.1. 186 weeks.

      After this facts numbers

      1. Serena Williams

      2. Martina Navratilova

      3. Chris Evert

      4. Monica Seles*

      5. Margaret Court

      6. Steffi Graf

      7. Billie Jean King

      8. Evonne Goolagong

      9. Venus Williams

      10. Justine Hennin

      * I believe if Monica Seles had not been stabbed she would have had the best records ever. I must say that for justice.

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      Angela 7 months ago

      Serena's game as you said stands through the test of time...nuf said

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      Devang Pandya 7 months ago

      Of course, Steffi. Always we should not only compare No 22 or 23. Because Steffi is calendar year Golden Slam. She managed highest ranking week. Even 2nd number should be goiven to Martina Navrotilova and then Serena

      Even Steffi and Martina both have faced tough competition even than today.

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      Missaka S 7 months ago

      Martina Navratilova is the greatest womens tennis player of all time. Serena might might have a claim as the greatest singles champion if she passes Margret Court. but she cannot compare to to Martina Navratilova overall titles in singles,doubles, mixed double combined. 18 GS singles titles,8 year end singles titles 41 GS doubles titles, 11 Year end final doubles titles.

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      jon nicholes 7 months ago

      Why do the current players have to b the greatest.....if u were to measure greatness by career titles (which u should ) then fed and serena arnt even close yet ....stats dont lie...its impossible to compare champs from different eras but if u look who was unstoppable for the longest period of time .

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      Obo 7 months ago

      Serena Williams......Number 1.

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      Tony 7 months ago

      Hope now there are no doubts who the greatest tennis player of all time is ........fed always was

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      WhtTheHLL 7 months ago

      How in the world can anyone argue this. Serena is the best by a LARGE gap. I'm a tennis fan and had Martina #1 for years for her accomplishments and domination. But let's be real she would get crushed in straight sets by Serena. And so would Everet. Graf couldn't even dominate an OLD Martina so that debate ends there. At NO Point in their careers did any of those women's tennis game look ANYTHING like Serena. And don't give me Serena has no competition. HELLO....she makes them look that way. Half of the women on this list never faced 123mph serve for a whole match or ever. Their first serve was sub 100. That is a second serve from Serena. And we won't speak of ground strokes and foot speed.

      Comparing these athletes is rediculous. Kinda like comparing Jerry West to Michael Jordan. Jerry was great but he is NO Jordan. Just not the same athlete or game. The only thing they have in common is the sport. What would Cam Newton look like playing in place of Johnny Unitis. JU was great IN HIS TIME. Put him in today's game and he is Tony Romo at best, probably more like Fitzpatrick. The women on tour now are bigger, faster, and stronger than EVER before. They just have the misfortune of playing vs Serena. And to add to this Monica Seles injury stuff, she was BETTER than Graf but injuries matter. If Venus didn't have an auto immune disorder Serena wouldn't have as many titles either. But she does so Serena didn't have to face probably the second best athlete to ever play tennis that often. But when she did she was 6-2 in majors. Nuff said. When it comes to tennis there's Serena then the field.

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      BoondockSaint 7 months ago

      It's hard to say that Serena isn't the best of all time. But we'll never know where Monica Seles would have placed on this list had it not been for her being stabbed on court. And for that matter where Graf would have ended up. Seles was 19 when she had her career basically ended by an on court attempted murder. And she was dominating everyone in her path, including Graf. She was the most dominant player I've ever seen besides Serena...and she was just entering her prime. I suspect she would be leading the list of grand slam titles (even over Serena) right now had this not happened. And of course Graf would be toward the bottom of the top 10, if that. Its not like she broke her ankle...she was stabbed on court by a fan of her biggest rival, and he never went to prison for it. It ended the career of possibly the greatest tennis player of all time. This is one of the great sports tragedies that rarely gets talked about.

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      Bill De Giulio 7 months ago from Massachusetts

      Congratulations to Serena Williams on winning the 2017 Australian Open and securing her 23rd Grand Slam singles title. She's had an amazing career, and it continues!

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      Bill De Giulio 7 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Jabu. She's had an amazing run, and as you said, it continues. No disrespect to Steffi Graf, she had an amazing career, but there can be no denying now that Serena reigns supreme.

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      Jabu 7 months ago

      DONE!!! #23 in the bag & GOAT ASSURED!!!!

      We can close this debate now and move on to other things. No disrespect to either Steffi or Margaret but this debate just lost meaning with #23!

      I like the fact that this ultimate goal was achieved playing against older Sister Venus. I can imagine them dreaming as little children all those years back promising each other that they will make history! That they will help each other soar through the stratosphere. What a moment for SW to get to do as they promised playing against VW!

      I petty some poor young lady watching this out there and promising herself that she too will get there. That she will be the one to break #23! As it turns out this record applies to both ladies & gents in fact. We will be watching the next generations of tennis players attempting this record for the next 50 years( maybe even a 100)!!!

      Scary thing is Serena' record is still likely to move up by a GS or 2! #25 has a nice ring to it.

      Big ups to VW for such an amazing effort at almost 37!!! GS Finals used to be the domain of 18yrs olds! Amazing achievement indeed.

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      Emma 7 months ago

      Today Serena put this debate to rest by winning the 23rd Slam.

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      John Smith 7 months ago

      Steffi Graf a lot of respect for her, but not even close to Serena Williams...please be fair

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      serena williams 8 months ago

      thanks guys y'all are the best

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      Richs101 8 months ago

      Little Mo Connley by far number 1

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      Charles Fellner 8 months ago

      I've done the hard work .. For years ... The results are biased towards more recent players. Here is my top 10. Taking into account many factors ... Not just slams won. Think I'm just talking? Well argue against me.

      1. Steffi Graf

      2. Serena Williams

      3. Helen Wills Moody

      4. Martina Navratilova

      5. Margaret Court

      6. Chris Evert

      7. Billie Jean King

      8. Suzanne Lenglen

      9. Maureen Connolly Brinker

      10. Maria Bueno

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      Christopher Duncan 8 months ago

      Steffi Graf has done more than Serena to date. That may change in the near future , but Steffi Graf's numbers are indisputable making her the best ever...Again that could change.

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      MARCIA MATHIEU 8 months ago

      first of all i am a great serena williams fan, and that will never change, like the author i give the greatest of all time to steffi just for now, let us see what will serena do in the coming year, steffi has a niche above serena in record, yes, example all the slam in a calenda year so i will give it to steffi.

      CONGRATULATION STEFFI

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      Gil Garcia 9 months ago

      I prefer to consider players not only for their success on court, but as total persons. For this reason, I think Steffi was the best. She was gracious, not huffy, not mean to other persons whether players, coaches, umpires, ball boys/girls, or lines people. She remained so even through the extreme difficulties when her father was having his legal problems. So she was a top tennis player and personality, regardless of the statistics, which for her are formidable. Even now, as Mrs. Andre Agassi, and as a mother, she remains the great person -- the one and only Steffi Graf.

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      Adam 10 months ago

      Chris evert is the greatest of all time she made tennis popular.she was the toughest mentally ever 125 straight clay court wins that's a decade winning without loss the greatest streak in the history of the sport she won grand slam titles for 13 straight years the great jack Nicklaus said she had the greatest records in any sport. Her double handed backhand iconic just perfection and a machine like gracefully player. Her rivalry with martins was not only the greatest ever in tennis but in any sport. Her win loss record is the best in the open era the most dominate clay court player female or male and to top it all off she behaved like a champion to put it in a nut shell Chrissie evert was a beautiful women playing a beautiful sport in a beautiful way and that's why she was loved by the world over,.for mine Christine Marie Evert is the greatest women tennis player of all time .

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      Jen 10 months ago

      Everybody has their opinions.

      For me, Steffi the best ever. Fans of others take Seles stabbing, but how can we judge Steffi can't win same number if stabbing wasn't happened. She would win same, less, or higher. They should identify that Steffi was fit at the time of stabbing, not like previous 3 years. In fact even in 1991, 1992 their win-loss record says what? Steffi had the upper hand in their 4 matches. Total win-loss record 6-4 in favor of Steffi. 3-3 in slams. But we would have seen some more great matches between them if stabbing wasn't happened. Even we don't take numbers, and take skill and determination the vote goes to Steffi.

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      NOEL 11 months ago

      Who is better or best ?

      sometimes we have to see things in another angle, what makes you great is when you don´t have nothing and have to be among the best or when you born with golden racket and snikkers you reason it well before you vote.

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      Buck 12 months ago

      I am assuming this ranking is exclusive to singles play. If it includes both singles and doubles, then no one comes close to Martina Navratilova.

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      Buck 12 months ago

      I have a hard time calling Graf the "all time best" mainly because of the Monica Seles stabbing. Seles came onto the scene as Graf's main rival and quickly overtook her for world #1 in 1991, then went on to win 7 out of 8 grand slams from 1991-1993. Graf fans call this period of time a "slump." But amazingly, right after Seles was stabbed in 1993, Graf came out of her "slump." Seles was just entering her prime and would have no doubt taken a number of those major trophies away from Graf if she had not been attacked. When Seles finally did come back, she was never the same. And there were no other great players in their prime during Graf's era. An aging Navratilova was 50-50 with Graf in head to head matches, and probably would have dominated her in her prime. And I think Serena would have dominated Graf as well.

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      Mirza 12 months ago

      Monica Seles is and the by far Best Ever,

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      Chu 12 months ago

      Just one up for Serena, she's still playing, but she plays a lot less matchs than other top 10 listed here.

      She's less efective than other players and there's the controversy about the matches between her and her sister been arranged by their father....

      Also Henin retiring been N°1 it's equivalent to Seles been cut in her top.

      I still thing Graff was a far more dominant player.

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      JayT 12 months ago

      Graff was an absolute great player but, in my opinion, she benefited from Seles being stabbed and leaving tennis for a long time. I don't feel she would have won 22 titles had Seles not left the game. Navratalova, Williams, and Graff were beasts in their prime though.

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      Jane Smith 13 months ago

      Margaret Court is the greatest tennis player of all time. Hands down. No questions asked.

      Unfortunately her achievements are diminished by her strongly held opinions that contradict those of many tennis players, those in tennis and sports media and hopefully the general public at large.

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      emery yawn 13 months ago

      Monica Seles was the the attraction that got me interested in tennis just like Tiger Woods was the attraction that got me into watching golf. Steffi Graf should have an asterisk next to her name which should lead to a notation letting posterity know that her countryman (probably a neo-nazi) had stabbed her only more dominant competition, Seles, in the back. Also noted should be that the German state never prosecuted the man and explained that they did not have a law on the books againsttheir citizens stabbing non-citizens in the back. Yes you can see that I am still furious about the injury to my favorite. I did notwatch tennis again until the emergence of Venus Williams. It should be obvious that I feel that the greatest female singles player of all is Serena Williams! Although I am male, I seldom watch male tennis.

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      Warn 14 months ago

      I think Serena deserves way more credit than Graff. Yes Graff was good but don't forget she barely won when she got real competition for only a couple of years from Seles. Serena withstood the fury of her sister venus and already passed Margeret if venus wasn't there. Then later she had to deal with hennin and now Sharapova too, all three I'd say are easily better than the players in Grafs age apart from Seles. Just look at Serena, she is 34 and still dominating! there is not a single tennis player (even Federer) that can equal that.

      Graf has dominated for about 10 years, Serena for atleast 15 (if you take away her absent years). Even if I would calculate in If's Serena would outweigh Seles.

      Best should always be placed in the context the players played in.

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      Ady 14 months ago

      I hav to go for martina as when she was at the height of her career she had another great in Chris evert when steffi had a challenger in Monica Seles from 1990-1993 Australian open Seles won 8 grand slams and steffi only 2.

      In anyone's mind Monday would have won more than nine grand slams so surely Graf wouldn't have ended up with 22 this is not biased but the facts speak for themselves Monica was world number 1 just beat Graf in the Australian open final as well.

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      Rico 14 months ago

      titles are one thing, but Serena is physically superior than any other woman player. head to head, its doubtful that any other female player is or was better than her

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      Jabu 14 months ago

      Finally #22!!!! It was touch and go there for a while, since the USO I mean. Congratulations to SW and now that the Big hurdle is history the question of how far can she go with Grand Slams is back into tennis conversations. What is clearly not possible anymore is her achieving all 4 GS in one calendar yr. Last yr was her best yet last chance at this very elusive achievement. I think this challenge has become even more difficult lately because of media pressure placed on the player trying for it. Djokovic is proof of how heavy this pressure has become over the yrs. I must admit personally I still don't get the extra significance of this achievement that sets it apart compared to winning 4 in a row irrespective of where the series starts!!! For me 4 in a row is no different from any other 4 in a row. Actually, for a player to time their peak such that it accommodates for a Calendar Grand Slam might require that they sacrifice the USO in order to start the run at the right time in Australia. This clearly makes zero sense. So a dose of luck more than just maintaining form over 4 consecutive GS is required for this to happen, which goes to prove my point of how I don't get it's extra importance. In fact a funny scenario will one day occur where some poor player wins 5 in a row, say starting with Wimbledon & ending the run with a successful defense the following yr, yet no 4 in one calendar yr!!!! Throw the Olympic Gold into the mix, yet no 4 in one calendar yr? How is this MORE IMPORTANT again?!!!!

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      Raj 14 months ago

      Serena Williams is the best as Steffi Graph clearly would not have won as many titles if Monica Seles was not stabbed in the back. Serena Williams had no such advantages

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      Mark 14 months ago

      All you people saying Henin was the better player need to do your stats. In their head to head match-ups, Serena was leading by 2 wins ( 8-6), how is it possible then that Henin is a better player? In addition, if Henin was that good, why isn't she still in the game of tennis? Give credit where credit is due. Serena is the greatest female tennis player ever.

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      Hemanth 14 months ago

      I'm a huge fan of Graf's beautiful tennis...Considering skill only, Serena the clear no.1. But in the case of atrue champion, genius and achievements are equally important. So the GOAT is Navratilova! Serena may surpass Graf , but no one can catch Martina.. 167 singles 177 doubles titles..!!! She is miles ahead......

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      Kia 19 months ago from Mikkeli, Fin

      How about Sharapova? Even though she has been quite awful lately, I think she deserves a bit more appreciation. After all, she has managed to get into the position of best earning female athlete..

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      Matt 20 months ago

      Seles at her best was unbeatable.

      If your talking about longevity or all time success you would have to say graff or a Williams it's hard to argue with the stats

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      CHRIS 20 months ago

      Its got to be Margaret Court 63 Grand Slam titles.

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      Bill De Giulio 22 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi again Drew. Couldn't agree more about the "what ifs" and "what could have beens". It makes for great discussion but I think a players entire body of work certainly has to be considered. When Serena steps off the court for the last time I think many will consider her the best ever. We'll see?

      I have had a much more difficult time ranking the women than the men for some reason. I seem partial to the 1970s era players, maybe because this was my era, but certainly the players of the 1990's to the present are much better conditioned and much better overall athletes. Like the men I'll take a look at the rankings after the 2016 Australian Open. Thanks again, always nice to see well written and thoughtful comments.

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      Drew 22 months ago

      Once again, a very well-researched and well-presented article. I find myself having difficulty with these GOAT rankings because of incidents like that of Monica Seles' stabbing, Maureen Connolly's horse-back riding injury, Bjorn Borg's pre-mature retirement, Rod Laver's six years on the "pro" tour, Marcel Rios' walkabout/early loss of interest, Miroslav Mecir's car accident, the mental weakness and/or burnout factor with regards to Bill Tilden, Jack Kramer, Illie Nastase, Evonne Goolagong, Hana Mandlikova, Michael Stich, Marcel Rios, Marat Safin, and even Mats Wilander and John McEnroe--as well as many many other talented athletes--we might be talking about a whole different list of players.

      Hypotheticals like, "On any given day..." "on their best day..." and "on their worst day..." are just as interesting to me as a look at entire career records and statistics.

      Safin, Del Potro, Gonzales, Kramer, Lendl, Laver, Seles, and Serena are, to my mind, the most "dangerous" adversaries to any and all of the GOATs. At least, of the players I have seen and read about.

      That being said, I think Monica Seles is the greatest female tennis player to play the game. She was so intense, so laser- and mono-focused, so fearless, so scrappy and intimidating; I think she would have dominated the women's tour in any and every era. But then, who knows what Maureen Connolly could have/would have achieved...

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      Denis 2 years ago

      A great list. For the many who think Serena might be placed first. Henin was the dominant player at Serena's peak. Clysters was also strong at the time. It was after losses suffered to these players that Serena and Venus decided to focus on projects outside tennis. Henin was burned out and perhaps achieved her goals. Winning the french was important to her. Had she not retited Serena most likely would have fewer slams.

      For me the list is accurate. Graff retired before at age 29. No real goal to achieve. Chasing a goal is easier and more motivating. Interestingly the future of female tennis is more promising than mens. Great list.

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      Kenneth Wilson 2 years ago

      It's a tough pick when you do these lists, but people forget the number of matches Evert and Martina played versus the new players now do.

      Just for comparison, Serena plays far less than either of them. Kudos for longevity, but maybe that's why. Thought Evert and Graf could have played for more years, but looks like they already paid those dues

      Total Matches Average Per Year Players

      854 42.7 Serena

      1455 85.5 Evert

      1115 65.5 Graf

      1661 87.4 Martina

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      Felipe 2 years ago

      Maria Esther Bueno not even mentioned? 19 slams (7singles, 12 doubles/mix doubles) including a perfect year winning all four grand slams in 1960.

      All that in a much shorter career than many of the above listed women in your list (11years)

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      Paul Edmondson 2 years ago from Burlingame, CA

      I went with Graff as the greatest of all time as well. The comment about Seles is interesting. I didn't realize she never won a Wimbledon title, but I do remember some people complaining about her squealing when she played:).

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      Roy Lay 2 years ago from Covington, Kentucky

      I think Henin in her prime was the most talented female player I ever saw. Unfortunately, she was pushed too hard from too young an age, and just couldn't handle the pressure and expectations after she achieved success. She was a wonder to watch back then, with the most all-round game in women's tennis. Besides which, she was totally hot, so I always tried to catch all her matches. It's a terrible shame about Seles, who just never recovered after being stabbed when she was the best in the world. But with 167 career titles, I think Martina was the most dominant woman tennis player and should rank #1. Steffi and Serena don't come close to that.

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      Umesh 2 years ago

      Even if Serena wins 25 grand slam titles, still she cannot match Steffi. No doubt Steffi is the greatest tennis player of all time either male or female

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      Rick 2 years ago

      There are many great players in women's tennis. I have seen all of these women play at the peaks of their careers. Steffi Graf is an amazing player. But if the truth be told she was only the 2nd best of her own time let alone all time. Monica Seles would have left Steffi Graf as an afterthought if her career had not been decimated by the disgusting attack that she suffered. And I say that out of fairness because I never liked Monica Seles when she was at her peak and always cheered for Steffi. The true choice in the best of all time should have been between Monica Seles and Serena Williams. I think that when the dust settles, it will be clearly Serena and neither Monica nor Steffi will be given any more than passing consideration. As a side note, I will never understand how Serena can be treated and the discussion of her as anything less than a vibrant and exciting woman is silly. She may not have the classic beauty that fits into some magazines, but she is one of the most beautiful and interesting woman that I unfortunately have never had the pleasure to know.

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      Dick Adams 2 years ago from Washington, District of Columbia

      Serena has 68 titles and 21 Majors... ALSO why don't you included Serena 13 doubles majors plus 2 mixed doubles majors...you obviously factored it in for Martina and Court.

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      Bill De Giulio 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Padmendra. Thank you. Glad you enjoyed the hub. I do believe that the women are making strides in sports equality. I for one enjoy watching the women just as much as the men. Thanks for stopping by, have a great day.

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      Bill De Giulio 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thank you Eileen. Glad you enjoyed the Hub. I love following the players and enjoy the competition greatly. Perhaps someday we'll have a top player from South Africa. Have a great day.

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      PADMENDRA S R 2 years ago from DELHI/NCR

      Great Hub, but women are still finding a way to media in comparison to male sports. Beautifully drafted. Thanks for sharing.

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      Eileen 2 years ago from Western Cape , South Africa

      What a wealth of information - loved reading about tennis players not so familiar to me and all their achievements

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      Bill De Giulio 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Jabu. Another amazing performance. She is certainly on a roll and has a good chance of completing the calendar Grand Slam. Enjoy the U.S. Open, it should be a great show.

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      Jabu 2 years ago

      Bill,

      I just read a comment I made in January about Serena getting to #21 by the end of 2016! Ouch!! : ~ ). I have no words to describe her achievements of the past year or so. I'm looking forward to seating back and enjoying the climax of this Super Star' amazing contribution to Tennis specifically but to Sport in general. Serena William' role in sport will be fully understood as time moves on and the next generation of tennis players, male & female as well as other sporting codes begin to use her as a benchmark that is the very best of human endeavor. Only then will we fully appreciate her greatness. Our limitations as human beings to fully grasp what we looking at is making it difficult for a full & complete understanding of the uniqueness of the era we going through. As a personal example, I was in London last week on business and as she was playing against Victoria I was traveling back home and I watched that match seating in the BA Lounge at the airport. That is a great pity!!!

      So as not to get it wrong again I'm not going to predict anything other than to wish SW well and hope she gets to 25 Singles Grand Slams before she finally retires.

      And yes I am not going to risk getting it wrong again and as such first thing tomorrow morning I am finalizing the quotation that is seating on my desk and paying for me & the Mrs to go to Flushing Meadows to go witness greatness first hand before time runs out! Trust me when I say being there in person is a totally different feeling compared to watching it on the Telly! I was in Monaco for the first time early this yr for the F1 race. Wow!!!!! I was also fortunate to attend the Football World Cup when we hosted it here in 2010. That too was one of my most amazing life experiences!!

      So, Serena here we go for #22 and immortality!!!!

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      Bill De Giulio 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thanks Enigmamity. Glad you enjoyed the hub. I've had a lot of fun with this top ten list. Have a great week.

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      Ramachandra A Pai 2 years ago from Vasai

      Nicely written. Loved the style of presenting information.

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      Bill De Giulio 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Jabu. Thanks for stopping by again. Down 2-0 in that third set I though Serena was finished. But, things can change quickly in tennis and give her credit for an amazing turn around. You are right that sometimes it's not going to be pretty but overcoming everything that is thrown at you is the sign of a champion.

      You bring up a good point about tennis post SW and I wonder how long she can keep this going. To be playing at this level at 33 is quite a feat. Age and injuries will be a factor for her going forward but so far she has been able to defy the odds. As for the level of competition there is nothing anyone can do about that. You play whoever your opponent is, win and advance. It's sort of a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation. Lose to a lesser competitor and people will say you are not that good, win and people will say your competition was not that good.

      I am looking forward to a competitive men's final this morning and then certainly Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. Thanks for stopping by and have a great day.