Legendary Tennis Players

Tennis Legends

Whether you're looking to get more educated on the history of tennis, looking to be able to converse with other tennis experts, or are looking at the past for clues about how to bet the future, knowing the top legends of the game of tennis is a great place to start. Since tennis' early days, there have been some major players who have helped to shape the direction of the game.

Below we have put together brief intros to some of the best men and women of tennis past and present. Knowing who these people are and how their styles worked and didn't work can be a great piece to help you make better tennis picks and bets. You can't expect to be a successful bettor if you don't know the players playing and the players who made the game what it is today.

Tennis

The Legends of Men's Tennis

Bill Tilden
Bill Tilden

Nicknamed 'Big Bill', Bill Tilden was the world number one for six consecutive years, from 1920 to 1925. Tilden won 15 major singles titles - and 10 grand slams. He was the first American to win Wimbledon, having defeated Australia's Gerald Patterson across four sets in the final. A prolific career brought Tilden 138 tournament victories in 192 attempts between 1912 and 1930.

A man of substantial wealth, Tilden spent a large sum on financing Broadway shows, which he also wrote, produced and starred in. He coach Germany in the 1937 Davis Cup, shortly after his retirement - and was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1959, six years after his death at the age of 60.

Pancho Gonzales
Pancho Gonzales

Also referred to as Richard Gonzales, Pancho Gonzales won 14 major singles titles - including two grand slams - and was statistically the dominant professional of the 1950s. The American, in fact, was the world number one for eight years. He enjoyed fierce rivalries with the veteran Tony Trabert, Ken Rosewall, Lew Hoad and - most prominently - Rod Laver.

A tough competitor with a staunch temper and a crowd favorite.

He was occasionally referenced as 'the tennis player you'd have play for your life'. He went into semi-retirement from 1951 to 1953, purchasing and managing a tennis shop in California! Gonzales passed away in 1995, at the age of 67. Andre Agassi reportedly paid for the funeral of a man who had played tennis with American actor Robert Redford while growing up.

Roy Emerson
Roy Emerson

Australian Roy Emerson won a dozen major singles titles and 16 grand slam men's doubles titles, totaling a record 28 major titles for a male player. He is one of only eight men to have won all four majors in his career and, alongside the prolific Novak Djokovic is one of only two men to prove triumphant in six Australian Open finals. He won five of these in succession, from 1963 to 1967.

Emerson was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1982 and, four years later, the Sport Australia Hall of Fame. A famed Australian, he was awarded the country's coveted Sports Medal and Centenary Medal in 2000 and 2001, respectively. Close to the hearts of Switzerland's tennis fans, too, Emerson won the Swiss Open five times - and played his final professional match there. The tournament's main court is named after him.

Rod Laver
Rod Laver

Rod Laver's seven-year stint as the world number one spanned four years before - and three years after - 1968's start of the open era. The Australian's 200 singles titles, which include 10 or more titles per 12 months for seven consecutive years, is a world record. Despite a lengthy ban from grand slams in the five years prior to the Open Era, he won one short of a dozen singles titles. He also contributed to five Davis Cup titles - four of them consecutively, from 1959 to 1962 - for Australia.

He was awarded the ABC Sportsman of the Year Award, inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Sport Australia Hall of Fame - and elevated to a Legend of Australian Sport - in 1969, 1981, 1985 and 2002, respectively. He, too, is deemed an Australian Living Treasure - and the centre court at Melbourne's National Tennis Centre was renamed Rod Laver Arena in 2000. Having retired 20 years earlier, Laver suffered a stroke in 1998, but recovered in part, and currently lives in California.

Bjorn Borg
Björn Borg

Six French Opens and five consecutive Wimbledon triumphs between 1974 and 1981 saw Björn Borg become the first man in the Open Era to win 11 grand slam singles titles. Superbly prolific, the Swede won 41 percent of the grand slam singles tournaments he entered - and 90 percent of those matches. He won three grand slams without conceding a set - and won the French Open and Wimbledon in the same 12 month-period for three consecutive years.

A veritable teenage sensation, in 1979 Borg eventually became the first player to earn more than one million dollars in prize money across one season. He retired prematurely, at the age of 26, but attempted a comeback almost a decade later. Sporting long hair and a wooden racket, Borg's attempts to rekindle his heyday failed, as he proved unable to win a set in the first nine matches of his return. He later joined the Champions Tour, returning to shorter hair and modern rackets in his kitbag.

Ivan Lendl
Ivan Lendl

Originally from Czechoslovakia, Ivan Lendl became a United States citizen in 1992. The 1980s saw Lendl maintain his status as the world number one for 270 weeks. A sparkling career brought Lendl 94 singles titles, including eight major titles and a record 11 runner-up finishes. He was also victorious in seven year-end championships and 22 Grand Prix Super Series titles.

With a strong forehand complemented by heavy top spin, Lendl remained near the top of the rankings until the early 1990s.

Having missed 1991's French Open to prepare for Wimbledon, he lost in the third round - and eventually retired having never clinched the coveted title at the esteemed All-England Club.

Chronic back pain brought an end to the then 34-year-old's career in 1994. December 2011 saw Lendl appointed as Andy Murray's coach. Murray won the US Open and Wimbledon in 2012 and 2013, respectively, during their first stint together. Lendl rejoined the Scot's coaching team in the middle of 2016 - and has since guided him to a second Wimbledon title, second Olympic singles gold medal - and a maiden ATP World Tour Finals title.

Jimmy Connors
Jimmy Connors

American James Connors held the top ATP ranking for 160 consecutive weeks, from 1974 to 1977 - and a further 108 across his entire career. His 109 tournament titles include five US Open wins, alongside two at Wimbledon and one at the Australian Open. He enjoyed particularly fierce rivalries with contemporaries Björn Borg, Ivan Lendl and John McEnroe - and was compared to bullish American baseballer Pete Rose due to his coarse behavior.

Connors, alongside promoter Bill Riordan, filed $10 million lawsuits against the ATP - and president Arthur Ashe - for reportedly restricting his tennis freedom. He had been banned from the French Open in 1974, having signed a contract to play World Team Tennis. He eventually dropped the lawsuits and parted ways with Riordan.

Somewhat of a maverick, Connors used steel rackets when others were playing with wooden versions - and wound lead tape around the racket head to increase the 'feel'. After retiring he undertook television commentary - and had unsuccessful coaching stints with Andy Roddick and Maria Sharapova. While his working relationship with Roddick lasted almost two years, his time with Sharapova spanned just one match.

John McEnroe
John McEnroe

Renowned for superb stroke selection and impeccable volleying skills, which largely offset brash, confrontational behavior on the court, American John McEnroe finished a sterling career with 77 singles and 78 doubles titles. He won four US Opens and three Wimbledon titles - and contributed to five Davis Cup titles for the United States, who eventually named him team captain.

Triumph in the 1984 Wimbledon final is arguably his greatest career achievement, after arch rival Jimmy Connors was floored in three sets that spanned less than 90 minutes. The late 1980s saw McEnroe take two separate six-month breaks from competitive tennis - and struggle to string together success on the court after those sabbaticals. He retired in 1992.

Retirement, though, has been busy for McEnroe, who continues to compete in ATP Champions Tour senior events, and acts as a television pundit. A man who unwittingly took steroids and purposely consumed cocaine has enjoyed several television advert cameos - and was a guitarist on The Pretenders' lead singer Chrissie Hynde's 2014 solo album.

Pete Sampras
Pete Sampras

Nicknamed 'Pistol Pete' due to a precise serve and near undeniable cross-court accuracy, Pete Sampras was the first man to win 14 grand slam singles titles. Seven Wimbledon, five US Open and two Australian Open crowns saw the beloved American finish six consecutive seasons, from 1993 to 1998, as the world number one. His career ended with a fifth and final US Open final victory, against arch rival Andre Agassi, in 2002.

With a marvelous, naturally attacking serve-and-volley game, Sampras was particularly impressive on grass, but admittedly weak on clay, which invariably slowed his attacking flair. This weakness on clay would prove an insurmountable obstacle in Sampras' quest for a career grand slam, with the American's semi-final defeat at the 1996 French Open his best showing at Roland Garros.

Besides his plethora of tennis titles, he boasts numerous societal awards, including GQ Magazine's Individual Athlete Award for Man of the Year in 2000 - and was voted the 48th athlete in ESPN's SportsCentury Top 50 Greatest North American Athletes. In 2005, TENNIS Magazine named him the greatest tennis player for the period 1965 through 2005.

Andre Agassi
Andre Agassi

Unorthodox and charismatic, American Andre Agassi is largely credited for spearheading the revival of the popularity of tennis during the 1990s, and was once described by the BBC as 'perhaps the biggest worldwide star in the sport's history'.

Renowned for a powerful return of serve, colorful apparel and long, spunky hair prior to nowadays' bald look, Agassi was one of the sport's most dominant players from the early 1990s to the mid-2000s.

He won eight grand slam singles titles, including four Australian Opens, and was an Olympic gold medalist in 1996. Agassi was the first male player to win all four grand slam tournaments on three different surfaces: hard, clay and grass, completing the career Grand Slam when he won the French Open in 1999.

Fondly known as 'The Punisher', Agassi was forced into retirement by a recurring back injury in 2006, and has since founded the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation. He is married to former tennis star Steffi Graf. The couple are shrewd business partners, having invested in - among others - a Las Vegas water park, online ticket-sales service and Caesars Palace nightclub.

Roger Federer
Roger Federer

Switzerland's finest in many senses of the term, the man nicknamed 'Fed Express', 'FedEx', 'the Swiss Maestro' or merely 'Maestro', Roger Federer's general demeanor and superb tennis skills have captured the hearts of fans the world over, and propelled him to the front of the line in the race to be named tennis' GOAT.


The holder of a record 19 grand slam singles titles - and the number one position in the ATP rankings for a marathon 237 consecutive weeks - Federer has won Wimbledon, the Australian Open, US Open and French Open eight, five, five and once, respectively. Staunch rivalries have been prevalent throughout, most recently with Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray - and, of course, Rafael Nadal.

Several players and pundits have heralded Federer as the 'greatest tennis player of all time'. Recently listed in fourth position on Forbes' 'World's Highest Paid Athletes' list, Federer earns about $7 million per year from prize money and endorsements. His off-court accolades include 14 ATPWorldTour.com Fans' favorite Award trophies and a dozen Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award crowns. He has also won the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year Award twice, and was lauded the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year four times in a row from 2005 to 2008.

In April 2017, Barcelona's centre court named pista Rafa Nadal, after their beloved countryman. Intriguingly, the Observatorio Astronómico de Mallorca discovered a main belt asteroid in 2003 - and named it 128036 Rafaelnadal.

He is an avid fan of football club Real Madrid and, reportedly, has shares in his local club, RCD Mallorca. Also a keen card player, he played the world's number one female poker player, Vanessa Selbst, in Monaco in 2014. Some of his philanthropic work has seen Nadal take part in Thailand's 'A Million Trees for the King' project.

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic

Unfairly disliked by some for ending the Federer-Nadal fairytale that had captivated the tennis world, Djokovic quickly rose to fourth in the list of grand slam winners on the back of 11 titles in six years from 2011 to 2016, having opened his grand slam account at the 2008 Australian Open.


It is in Australia where the Serb has had his most success, winning five titles in six years at Melbourne Park between 2011 and 2016. The French Open had long eluded Djokovic, but in 2016 the then-world number one eventually triumphed at Roland Garros, becoming the eighth player in the history of the game to record a career Grand Slam.

A downturn in form followed the milestone, but while Djokovic has yet to add further to his 14 grand slam titles, in July 2017 he still boasted the highest win percentage (82.8%) in the Open Era, his place among the legends of the game firmly entrenched.

Tennis

The Legends of Women's Tennis

Suzanne Lenglen
Suzanne Lenglen

When one of the main courts at Roland-Garros is named after a player, then it's fair to say they must have been an exceptional player, and that is exactly what Suzanne Lenglen was - and then some. With a total of 31 Championships, two Olympic gold medals, 241 titles and a 181-match winning streak, it is easy to see why the Frenchwoman is regarded by some to be the greatest female tennis player in history. Lenglen is often referred to as the person who revolutionized women's tennis as she dominated the sport for just over a decade.

It wasn't just on the court where she was popular either, as many believe Lenglen was the first female tennis celebrity with her flamboyant personality. La Divine (the Goddess) - as she was dubbed by the French press - played in her first major final, the French Championships, at the age of just 14 in May 1914 where she lost in three sets to defending champion Marguerite Broquedis. A few months later she won the World Hard Court Championships at 15 and ruled the sport until 1926. During her 12-year reign, she lost only seven of her 341 matches to finish her career with a 98% winning percentage.

Helen Wills
Helen Wills

"Little Miss Poker Face" is often spoken of as one of the greatest female tennis players of all time thanks to nine years in which she dominated the sport (1927 - 33, 1935 and 1938). Wills, who was as popular off the court as she was on it due to her friendships with royals and film stars, dominated her opponents from the baseline with pace and power.


From 1927 until 1933 she had a 180-match winning streak in singles, which was made ever more remarkable by the fact that she didn't lose a single set during that run. Wills won her first women's major title, the US Open, in 1923 at the age of 17 and she would go on to win a total of 31 grand slams (19 singles, nine doubles and three mixed doubles), as well as gold in the singles and mixed doubles at the 1924 Paris Olympics. She won eight titles at Wimbledon, including four in a row from 1927-1930, and her record stood until 1990 when Martina Navratilova won nine at The All England Club. She finished her career on a high as she retired in 1938 after winning at Wimbledon.

Evonne Goolagong
Evonne Goolagong

Evonne Goolagong caught the eye when she was just 10; her superb backhand volley, enormous power and brilliant placement convinced one of Australia's best tennis coaches, Vic Edwards, to move her whole family from a small country town to Sydney.


Goolagong only turned professional at the age of 20 in 1971, but once she got going she was hard to stop and she remains the only player to have won the French Open at the first attempt, in 1971. She also won the first of her two Wimbledon titles that year, but her true dominance was at the Australian Open as she appeared in seven consecutive finals in the 70s and won four in a row from 1974 until 1977. The 'Sunshine Super Girl' won a total of 14 grand slam titles (seven singles, six doubles, and one mixed doubles) and played in 17 grand slam singles finals in the 1970s. The only blight on her career was her inability to win the US Open as she appeared in four consecutive finals from 1973 to 1976, but finished runner-up on each occasion. When she retired after Wimbledon in 1983, her career win-loss percentage stood at 81.01% (704 - 165).

Margaret Court
Margaret Court

The all-conquering "Aussie Amazon" was a trailblazer in women's tennis from 1960 until 1975, winning an astonishing 24 major singles titles as well as 19 doubles and 19 mixed doubles majors for a record 62 grand slams.

After taking up tennis at the age of eight, Margaret Court would win her first grand slam nine years later at the age of 17 when she saw off Jan Lehane in the Australian Open final in 1960.

It became the Margaret Smith (she was still playing under her maiden name back then) show in Melbourne for the next few years as she won seven consecutive titles. Her first grand slam success away from home came at the French Open in 1962 and she won the US Open the same year, while she claimed her maiden Wimbledon title the following year.

In 1970 Court became only the second female player to win the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open in the same calendar year, while she also achieved the feat in the mixed doubles in 1963 and 1965.

Although her powerful serve was a big weapon, it was her exceptional fitness and athleticism that helped her to become the queen of tennis, and enabled her to make three comebacks after giving birth. In total she won three singles grand slams as a mother, before finally deciding to hang up her racket after falling pregnant with her fourth child in 1977. Court ended her career with a win-loss record of 1180 - 107.

Billie Jean King
Billie Jean King

The American is considered a pioneer for women's rights as she played a big role in gaining gender equality for women, not only in tennis, but also in other aspects of life. Billie Jean King did her talking both on and off the court and was named one of the "100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century" by Life magazine.


Between the white lines she won an incredible 39 grand slam titles (12 singles, 16 doubles, and 11 mixed doubles), including a record 20 Wimbledon crowns (six singles, 10 doubles, and four mixed doubles). King only took up tennis at the age of 11 and six years later she made her mark as she won the women's doubles at Wimbledon. However, she had to wait until 1966 to taste grand slam success in the singles when she won Wimbledon. It would prove to be the start of an unstoppable run as for the next nine years as she won 32 of her major titles between 1966 and 1975.

The American also won the famous Battle of the Sexes exhibition match in 1973, beating Bobby Riggs 6 - 4, 6 - 3, 6 - 3 to win $100,000. Although her final Grand Slam singles title came at Wimbledon in 1975, King only retired in 1983 and holds the record as the oldest WTA player to win a singles tournament after winning the 1983 Edgbaston Cup in Birmingham aged 39 years, seven months ,and 23 days.

Chris Evert
Chris Evert

Winning at least one grand slam title for 13 consecutive years sounds like an impossible task, but that is exactly the feat achieved by Chris Evert between 1974 and 1986 when she won all 18 of her major singles titles. Her extraordinary run started with her maiden grand slam win at the 1974 French Open, and she would go on to win the Wimbledon trophy a few weeks later in what can be considered the year of the "Ice Maiden". She finished that year with a 100 - 7 match record and the world number one ranking, a position she would hold for seven years (1974-1978, 1980 and 1981).

America's tennis sweetheart first made people sit up and take note of her in 1970 when she beat the number one-ranked Margaret Court as a 15-year-old. It would open many doors for her and she made her grand slam debut as a 16-year-old at the 1971 US Open. Although Evert had to wait another three years to win her maiden grand slam, she became the dominant force in women's tennis as she reached an astonishing 34 major finals.

On court, her rivalry with Martina Navratilova is considered one of the greatest in sport, while off court she attracted attention for her relationship with fellow professional Jimmy Connors and later on her marriage to British tennis player John Lloyd. Evert finally called it a day in 1989 and finished with 154 singles titles (a record for both men and women at the time) and a winning percentage of 89.96% (1309 - 146) in singles matches, which is the highest in the history of Open Era tennis.

Martina Navratilova
Martina Navratilova

It should go without saying that if you are one of only two females in the top 20 of ESPN's list of the 'Top Athletes of the 20th Century', then you must have been trailblazer on and off the court - and there is no doubting that Czech-born Martina Navratilova was.


Navratilova was born behind the Iron Curtain in Prague, Czechoslovakia, but defected to the United States in 1976 before finally becoming an American citizen in 1981. Navratilova tasted success at a grand slam for the first time in 1974 when she won the mixed doubles at the French Open, and it wasn't too long after that she made her mark in the singles on the women's tour when she won her maiden title at the age of 18 in Orlando, Florida. It was the first of 167 WTA titles.

Navratilova won her maiden singles grand slam at Wimbledon in 1978, but had to wait until 1981 to win a singles grand slam outside of England when she claimed the US Open. Known for her athletic ability, Navratilova was the dominant player on tour from 1980 until 1987, a period during which she won 14 grand slams, including six consecutive Wimbledon crowns from 1982 to 1987.

She retired in 1994, but returned to the tour in 2000 and won the 2003 Australian Open and Wimbledon mixed doubles titles, making her the oldest ever grand slam champion at the age of 46 years and eight months. Incredibly, three years later she won the US Open mixed doubles when she was just over a month shy from turning 50. Navratilova hung up her racket for good in 2006 to end her career with 18 grand slam singles titles, 31 major women's doubles titles (an all-time record), and 10 major mixed doubles titles.

Steffi Graf
Steffi Graf

Known for her elegance and grace on and off the court, Steffi Graf made her professional debut in 1982 as a 13-year-old, but her first singles success only came in 1986. The following year she would add her name to the grand slam roll of honour as she won the French Open with a three-set win over Martina Navratilova. In the same year she would also finish as runner-up at Wimbledon and the US Open.

However, 1988 will forever be known as the year that the German wiped all before her as she won the Golden Slam, which consists of the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, US Open and Olympic gold. Her dominance that year was highlighted by her performance in the French Open final when she dispatched Natasha Zvereva 6 - 0, 6 - 0 in just 32 minutes, which remains the shorted-ever Grand Slam final. What set her apart from Maureen Connolly Brinker and Margaret Court, who also achieved a calendar Grand Slam, was her gold medal at the 1988 Seoul Games, which made her the only player in history - both on the men's and women's tour - to achieve the Golden Slam.

The German followed up her record-breaking 1988 with three more grand slams titles in 1989 and achieved similar feats in 1993, 1995 and 1996. The last of her 22 singles majors came at the 1999 French Open and she retired later that year to end her career with win-loss record of 900 - 115. In total Graf spent a record 377 weeks atop the world rankings, the longest period for a male or female player.

Monica Seles
Monica Seles

The Yugoslav-born Monica Seles came through the famed Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy and played in her first professional tournament as an amateur at the age 14 in 1988. She turned pro in February the following year and it took her only three months to secure her maiden title. After winning five tournaments in the run-up to the 1990 French Open, Seles duly went on to win the singles title at Roland Garros to become the youngest champion at the age of 16 years and six months, a record that still stands today.

Seles would dominate the WTA Tour in 1991 and 1992 as she won the Australian, French and US Opens in both years, with Wimbledon the only title that eluded her. He also finished the year as the world number one. She made it three Australian Opens in a row in 1993 and all eight grand slams titles were won by the time her 20th birthday rolled around.

However, tragedy struck in April 1993 when she was stabbed in the back with a knife by a fan obsessed with her main rival, Steffi Graf, during a tournament in Hamburg, Germany. She suffered from Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder and only returned to the tour in 1995. She won her comeback tournament in Canada and then finished runner-up to Graf at the US Open later that year. The last of her nine grand slam titles came at Melbourne in 1996 when she competed under the American flag. Seles played her last match in 2003 and finished with 53 career singles titles as well as a bronze medal (for the United States) at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Justine Henin
Justine Henin

Despite being only 1.67m (5 ft 5 1/2 in) tall, Justine Henin punched well above her size as she managed to overcome the power hitters with great footwork and excellent shot-making ability.

Known as "Juju" to her fans, Henin became only the fifth player to win her debut WTA Tour event when she claimed the Belgian Open in 1999 at the age of 17.

She regularly reached the latter stages of the grand slams over the next few years and would finally end her major drought at the 2003 French Open with victory over fellow Belgian Kim Clijsters. She followed it up with the US Open title in August that year and the Australian Open in January 2004, while she also won gold at the 2004 Athens Olympics. However, it was at Roland Garros where she really made her mark as she would win three consecutive titles from 2005 until 2007. The last of her grand slam trophies came at the 2007 US Open.

The Belgian announced her retirement in May 2008, a decision that shocked the tennis community. However, Henin went on to make a comeback in 2010 and would finish runner-up to Serena Williams at the Australian Open. Although she managed two more titles, Henin called it a day for good in early 2011. In total she spent 117 weeks at number one in the world and finished her career with 43 WTA titles.

Venus Williams
Venus Williams

Serena Williams may have won more titles and spent more weeks as world number one, but there is no doubt that Venus paved the way for her younger sister to become one of the sport's all-time greats.

Coached by her father Richard, Venus took power hitting in women's tennis to another level. She made her professional debut as a 14-year-old in 1994.

It was evident that she was going to turn into one of the biggest stars on the WTA Tour. However, she had to wait until 1998 to claim her first career singles title at the US National Indoors. Her grand slam breakthrough came at Wimbledon in 2000 when she defeated fellow American Lindsay Davenport in the final and she would follow that up with success at the US Open. She confirmed her dominance with two gold medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, one in the singles and one in the doubles with her sister, Serena.

The following year she would win Wimbledon and the US Open again, but a stumbling block in the form of her little sister appeared in her way as she finished runner-up to Serena in their next five grand slam finals. Venus, though, did add another three Wimbledon titles to her collection.

Williams was diagnosed with Sjogren's syndrome, an autoimmune disease, in 2011, and spent several months on the sidelines, dropping outside the world 100. She eventually made her comeback in March 2012 and again teamed up with Serena to win the doubles gold at the 2012 Beijing Olympic Games. Despite her advancing years, the 36-year-old reached the 2017 Australian Open final where she lost against Serena. Venus would then reach the final of Wimbledon the same year, losing to Garbiñe Muguruza a month after her 37th birthday.

Williams has won seven grand slam singles titles (five Wimbledon crowns and two US Opens) while her WTA singles career tally stands at 49. She also holds four Olympic gold medals and has 14 grand slam doubles titles (all partnering Serena) and three grand slam mixed doubles crowns to her name.

Serena Williams
Serena Williams

Number one on the list of most grand slam singles titles won by a male or female during the Open Era, the only player to win 10 grand slam singles titles in two different decades, tied for the record for the most consecutive weeks as the world number one, four Olympic gold medals, and a grand slam won while pregnant...Serena Williams' list of achievements just goes on and on.

Like her older sister Venus, Serena is a power hitter who turned professional at the age of 14 - but she was only able to make her professional bow in October 1995 as she was denied entry into tournaments due to the WTA's age-eligibility rules. The 1999 season would prove to be her breakthrough year as she won her maiden singles title at the Paris Open and went on to claim her first Grand Slam crown at the US Open.

After failing to win a grand slam in the two years that followed, Serena returned with a vengeance in 2002 when she won the French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open. She backed up that feat with the Australian Open and Wimbledon titles in the year that followed. After another grand slam-less season in 2004, she was back on her perch in 2005 when she won the Australian Open.

The Serena era was now well and truly underway as she often overawed her opponents with her power, athleticism and consistency. She would collect another 16 grand Slam titles over the next 13 years. The last of her 23 grand slam singles titles came at the 2017 Australia Open where she beat her sister, Venus, in the final despite being eight weeks pregnant. She later announced she would take a break from the game with a return date penciled in for 2018.

Aside from the 23 grand slam singles titles to her name, she has also won 14 grand slam doubles titles (all partnering Venus), two grand slam mixed doubles crowns and four Olympic gold medals (one singles and three doubles with Venus). In total Serena has 72 WTA titles and has spent 319 weeks top of the WTA rankings, which puts her third in the Open Era list for female players.

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