Wimbledon Ladies’ Tennis Champions
Billie Jean King
Billie Jean King towers over the rest of ladies’ tennis, especially when it comes to Wimbledon. Her record at the All England Club is absolutely amazing. She has an overall win/loss record of 96-15, claimed an impressive six singles crowns, ten doubles titles and four mixed doubles in her 15-year career as one of the foremost women’s tennis players, and arguably the best athlete the world has ever seen.
Her singles battles with Australian Evonne Goolagong Cawley are legendary. She took on and subdued some of the best players in the world, including the famous Margaret Court and the darling of the tennis world, Chris Evert.
Together with partners Betty Stove, Rosemary Casals and in later years, Martina Navratilova, she claimed five US Open doubles crowns and one French Open victory to go with her incredible ten successes in London.
She partnered Australian Owen Davidson for most of her impressive run in the mixed doubles event, claiming four mixed titles at Wimbledon, two at Roland Garros, one in Australia and four at her native Grand Slam, the US Open.
She totally dominated at London with 20 Wimbledon titles, and it was only in 2003 that the fabulous Martina Navratilova came out of retirement to match the incumbent King’s record by winning the mixed doubles at the All England Club.
The living legend of tennis has had reams written about her, but it is difficult to pay sufficient tribute to such an unbelievable athlete. She has claimed no less than 18 Grand Slam singles crowns, 31 women’s doubles titles and ten mixed double wins.
Her closest rival in the record books, Billie Jean King, said, “She’s the greatest singles, doubles and mixed doubles player who has ever lived.” She may not have been as complimentary had she known that Navratilova would come out of retirement at the age of 46 to capture her 20th title at the All England Club, matching King’s record at Wimbledon.
Martina won nine Wimbledon singles titles from 1978 when she first beat Chris Evert, six of which came in consecutive summers. It was a long ten years before Steffi Graf broke the stranglehold the Czech-born star had on the grass courts of the All England Club.
“Wimbledon is like a drug. Once you win it for the first time you feel you’ve just got to do it again and again and again,” she said, and boy, did she mean it!
In partnership with Pam Shriver she won an awesome seven ladies’ doubles titles at Wimbledon, and then added four mixed doubles successes to her resume, the last being with Leander Paes in 2003.
Other remarkable achievements include:
- She is one of three women who accomplished the Grand Slam “Boxed Set” – a career Grand Slam in singles, doubles and mixed doubles.
- She boasts the most singles and doubles tournament wins with 167 and 177 respectively.
- She owns the longest winning streak, with 74 consecutive matches.
- She holds the record for the most consecutive Grand Slam singles titles with six.
As her final partner, Leander Paes said when she matched King’s record of 20 Wimbledon titles: “Thank you, Martina, for being my vehicle to greatness.”
German tennis sensation Steffi Graf has virtually eclipsed all other records set by the stars of yesteryear. Her seven Wimbledon singles wins put her on equal footing with the great Billie Jean King and two behind her arch rival Martina Navratilova, but what made her a more rounded player than the other two legends, was her consistency on all court surfaces.
Many believe that she is the greatest female tennis player of all time, and in 1999 the Associated Press voted her as the greatest female tennis player of the 20th Century.
- She claimed 22 Grand Slam singles titles, only two behind the famous Margaret Court Smith.
- She won 107 singles, third behind Navratilova (167) and Evert (154).
- She is the only holder of the “Golden Slam” – an Olympic gold and all four Grand Slam singles titles at the same time.
- She held the number one berth for a record 377 weeks.
- She is one of only two players who held all four Grand Slam titles at least four times each.
- For eight years she ended the year as number one.
- She is the only player to achieve a Calendar Year Grand Slam across all three types of tennis court.
Which female tennis player will dominate the championships in the future?