Sunday, September 6, 2009

Top Ten Female Tennis Players of US Open of All Time

Earlier, I wrote about top ten male tennis players of US Open. In this entry, I am going to write about the top ten female players of US Open tennis. No doubt, the task of deciding whom to be included and whom to be excluded was not very easy. There are many great players who deserve a place in the list, but you know there are only 10 places and I can choose only 10 players. So, a number of notable players like Alice Marble, Elisabeth Moore and Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman were left out from the list. I hope you will enjoy the list.

Helen Wills Moody (7 times: 1923-25, 1927-29, 1931)

Born as Helen Newington Wills Roark, this former American tennis great became Helen Wills Moody after her marriage with Frederick Moody. Winner of 19 grand slam singles titles, Helen is widely considered as the first American sportswoman who became an international celebrity. She was one of the dominant figures of women’s tennis in 1920s and 1930s. She had powerful service and was equally skilled at both forehand and backhand.

Among her 19 grand slam singles titles, Helen Wills won 7 titles in US Open, besides 8 Wimbledon and 3 French Open titles to her credit. Only Molla Mallory won more US Open singles titles (8 times) than Helen. Actually, I think, Helen Wills had more dominance in US Open than any player during her time and she deserves to be the best female tennis player in the history of US Open.

Chris Evert (6 times: 1975-78, 19-80-82)

Christine Marie "Chris" Evert is considered to be one of the greatest tennis players of women’s tennis. Among her 18 grand slam singles titles, 6 came in US Open and no other player in Open Era won more titles than she did in US Open. You might say that Molla Mallory has more US Open titles than Evert, but you have to understand the fact that Mallory belongs to an era when tennis was more or less an amateur sport whereas Evert’s era was full of professionals. She finished five years (1975-77, 1980-81) as world no. 1 in WTA ranking.

Among the professional tennis players, Chris Evert has the best win-loss singles record that stands at 1,309–146 (.900). Evert holds a number of Open Era record in US Open tennis. First of all, Evert is the only female tennis player who won 4 US Open titles in a row from 1975 to 1978. Then she played highest 9 US Open finals (1975-1984) including 6 consecutive finals (1975-1980). So, there is no doubt, she is one of the best ever players in the US Open history.

Molla Mallory (8 times: 1915-1918, 1920-22, 1926)

Molla Mallory holds 8 US Open titles, an all-time record in US Open history. Born in Norway and brought up in the US, Molla was perhaps the first female star of US Open. She won four consecutive US Open titles from 1915 to 1918 and played in record 10 US Open finals. Besides 8 US Open singles titles, Molla Mallory also won 2 doubles and 3 mixed doubles titles in US Open. So, there is no doubt, she is one of the best ever tennis players of US Open. In fact, some would consider Molla Mallory as the best women’s singles player of US Open, considering her 8 singles titles in the competition.

Margaret Jean Court (5 times: 1962, 1965, 1969-70, 1973)

There are only three female tennis players: Molla Mallory, Helen Wills Moody and Chris Evert- who have more US Open singles titles than Australian tennis great Margaret Jean Court (sometimes known as Margaret Smith Court) who has 5 US Open titles in the span of 11 years (from 1962 to 1973). That means, she is one of those few players who won US Open titles both in open era and prior to open era. She won career grand slam both before open era and during open era. Margaret overall won 24 grand slam singles title, an all-time record in women’s tennis. So, there is no question about her greatest and to many, she is the best ever female tennis players in the history. Naturally, I did not hesitate to place Margaret Jean Court in the fourth position of the list of all time best female tennis players of US Open.

Martina Navratilova (4 times: 1983-84, 1986-87)

This Czechoslovakian-born American great is another influential female tennis player in the history of US Open. Martina Navr├ítilova is perhaps the only tennis player (both in men’s and women’s tennis) who was equally dominant in singles, doubles and mixed doubles event in the grand slam tournaments for a long period of time. Four of her eighteen grand slam singles titles came in US Open. You might be surprised to know that Navratilova also won 31 doubles and 10 mixed doubles titles in grand slam tournaments. Out of her 31 doubles titles, 9 came in US Open. She also has 3 mixed doubles titles in US Open. To be honest, if I considered the doubles and mixed doubles events equally with the singles achievements then I would have placed Navratilova at the top of this list.

Steffi Graff (5 times: 1988-89, 1993, 1995, 1996)

To many tennis fans, Steffi Graph is the greatest female player of all time. She is now 40 years old and is perhaps a good mother and wife. However, let me take you back to 21 years ago. The year was 1988 and Graff won the titles of all 4 grand slam events and also the Olympics gold medal. No male or female player before or after her could achieve this record. It shows that she had something special. As for US Open, she won it 5 times during the time 1988-96. She became runners up 3 times.

Billie Jean King (4 times: 1967, 1971-72, 1974)

Billie Jean King is another great of women’s tennis who got considerable success in US Open. Out of her 12 grand slam singles titles, she won four titles in US Open. First of he four titles came in 1967 just before the start of open era and her next three US Open titles came after the start of open era. In terms of success in singes, doubles and mixed doubles success, King can go very close to Navratilova with 12 singles, 16 doubles and 11 mixed doubles titles in grand slam tournaments. She is one of those rare tennis greats who became successful as an administrator too after retiring from tennis. In fact, Billie Jean King founded the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) which is today the governing body of women’s tennis.

Helen Jacobs (4 times: 1932-35)

Born as Helen Hull Jacobs, she is widely known as Helen Jacobs. This former world no. 1 American star also holds an impressive performance in US Open. Out of her 5 career grand slam singles titles, she won four titles in US Open and all of them came in consecutive years. Moreover, Jacobs also has 4 doubles and a mixed doubles titles in US Open. Her overall career may not be very great, but when it comes to US Open, you must admit that Helen Jacobs deserves a place in this list.

Serena Williams (3 times: 1999, 2002, 2008)

Serena Williams is undoubtedly one of the most influential players of women’s tennis today. The American star has most grand slam singles titles among the currently active players with 11 grand slam singles titles to her credit. She was ranked world no. 1 in WTA ranking four times in the past and she is still at her top form. Among her 11 grand slam titles, only 3 came in US Open. So, you might raise question about my decision to include her in this list.

Well, the reason that guided me to include Serena Williams in this list is that the way she has been dominating the circuit for a long period and the way she is currently playing, it seems just a matter of time, she would add more US Open titles to her credit. Even though she can not win any more US Open titles, still I believe Serena Williams deserves a place in this list of best female players of US Open tennis.

Maria Bueno (4 times: 1959, 1963-64, 1966)

The story of Maria Bueno is a bit different from many other successful tennis players. When she won the women’s singles title of national championship in Brazil at the age of 14, she had no prior formal training in tennis. By the time she turned 19, she became professional in tennis. Maria Bueno is perhaps the first Brazilian women’s tennis star world tennis with 7 singles, 11 doubles and a mixed doubles grand slam titles. Though she could win US Open and Wimbledon titles, she played in the final of all four grand slam tournament in her career. Four out of her seven grand slam singles titles came in US Open and she was also the losing finalists of 1960 US Open. Bueno also has 4 doubles titles in US Open and on three occasions she was in the losing side of the US Open doubles finals.



1 comment:

  1. I would add Venus Williams to the list. She has won the title twice and was runner-up in 2002. Also Hana Mandlikova. She was a winner in 1985, runner-up in 1980 and 1982. And she was a doubles winner also.