Yesterday marked the start of Women’s Sport Week 2017 and with Wimbledon just around the corner, there is plenty to look forward to this summer. Here at Tennis Oxford, we take a look at 5 influential women in the world of tennis.
5. Jeļena Ostapenko was crowned French Open Champion, 2017 after defeating Simona Halep in the final, 4–6, 6–4, 6–3. This was Ostapenko's first WTA Tour-level singles title. She became the first Latvian player of either sex to win a Grand Slam singles tournament, the youngest woman to win the French Open since 1997, and the first woman since the 1979 Australian Open to win a Grand Slam event as her first tour-level singles title. Ostapenko was the first unseeded woman to win the French Open since 1933, as well as the lowest-ranked (47) since computer rankings began in 1975. It just goes to prove that anyone can reach the top if they are persistent!
4. Johanna Konta, British No.1 has been flying of late and has burst into the top 10 world rankings. Currently placed at World No.7, Johanna became the first British woman to win the Miami Open and has also taken the title at the Sydney International, not to mention a semi-final finish at the Australian Open last year. She will be looking to improve on her current best Wimbledon singles result of 2nd Round and we will be supporting her every step of the way!
3. Judy Murray, mother of the current World No. 1, Andy Murray, won 64 titles in Scotland during her junior and senior career, and decided to have a go at the professional tour in 1976. She has coached multiple players at regional and national level under the auspices of the British tennis governing body, the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA). In December 2011 she was elected to lead the British Fed cup team as their captain. She is widely admired within the sport and was recently awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honors List for her services to tennis, women in sport and charity.
2. Steffi Graf claimed 22 Grand Slam Singles Titles in her career, 4 Australian, 6 French, 7 Wimbledon, 5 US Open before being entered into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 2004. Her record 377 weeks ranked as World No. 1 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 became World No. 1 for the first time on July 8, 2002. On the sixth occasion, she held the ranking for 186 consecutive weeks, tying the record set by Steffi Graf for the most consecutive weeks as World No. 1 by a female tennis player. Williams holds the most Grand Slam titles in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles combined amongst active players. Her record of 39 Grand Slam titles puts her third on the all-time list and second in the open era: 23 in singles, 14 in women's doubles, and 2 in mixed doubles. She is the most recent female player to have held all four Grand Slam singles titles simultaneously (2002–03 and 2014–15) and the third player to achieve this record twice after Rod Laver and Steffi Graf. She is also the most recent player, together with her sister, Venus, to have held all four Grand Slam women's doubles titles simultaneously (2009–10). She is widely regarded as the greatest female tennis player of all time!