10 countries who have dominated the Open Era in women's tennis
Navratilova would go down as perhaps the greatest female star to have ever played the gameTennis is an individual sport and as a fan and critics of the game, we usually end up debating as to who is the best player of all time or of their generation. There have been endless discussions as to who among the tennis legends in Margaret Court, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf or Serena Williams would be hailed as the "Greatest of All Time".But have we ever pondered as to which are the tennis playing nations from where these illustrious female players hail and how often have these countries produced champion players over a sustained time period. As a performance yardstick, a tennis player success at winning grand slam titles, breaking and cementing their position in the top ten rankings, and overall titles won on the WTA tour are key indicators to assess their individual careers.But as these statistics only highlight their individual achievements on tour, we need to factor in as to how the same players perform while representing their nations in premier team competitions. Going by this rationale, I have taken into account two performance indicators.Firstly, how have nations performed in the Fed Cup, which is hailed as the premier tournament in women’s tennis and secondly, the medals won by female tennis athletes representing their nations in tennis events at the Olympics Games.Combining these parameters along with the individual Grand Slam performances, I have come up with my top ten list of the most dominant nations in women's tennis since the start of the Open Era.
#1 United States of America
Right from the days of Billie Jean King in the 60s to the dominance of Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova in the 70s and 80s to the Williams Sisters stamping their authority in the new millennium, United States has been the most dominant nation in women’s tennis.
Martina Navratilova would go down as perhaps the greatest female star to have ever played the game. She was the most dominant player for over two decades which saw her win a staggering 166 singles and 167 doubles titles.
Martina ended up with 18 singles grand slam titles, a testimony to her consistency and longevity as a champion. Chris Evert created a place for herself in history by winning 18 grand slam singles titles, besides collecting an impressive 157 tour titles. The turn of the millennium saw the rise of Williams sisters who took tennis to another physical level courtesy their brute force and power hitting.
The tall leftie Lindsay Davenport known for her powerful groundstrokes became World No’1 and a Grand Slam champion. Venus Williams with her powerful serves had notable success at Wimbledon, winning 5 singles titles. In the modern era, Serena Williams has become the most dominant player to have played the game, drawing comparisons with the all-time greats considering her consistency and longevity at the top of the sport.
The US challenge in recent times has been spearheaded by Christina McHale, Sloane Stephens, Coco Vandeweghe and Key Madison who look like promising stars for the future. They have also produced some of the greats in doubles with the likes of Pam Shriver, Gigi Fernandes, Lisa Raymond, Lisa Huber and Williams Sisters who went on to become multiple Grand Slam champions.
Notable Mentions: Tracy Austin, Jennifer Capriati, Zina Garrison, Meghann Shaughnessy, Chanda Rubin, Vania King and Bethanie Mattek-Sands
USA at Fed Cup: Champions 17 Times – (1963, 1966, 1967, 1969, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1986,1989, 1990, 1996, 1999, 2000)
Grand Slam Singles Titles won by US players: Serena Williams (21), Martina Navratilova (18), Chris Evert (18), Monica Seles (1), King (8), Venus Williams (7), Lindsay Davenport and Jeniffer Capriati (3),Tracy Austin (2),Nancy Richey (1)
Medals Won at Olympics – Ladies Singles: Jennifer Capriati Gold (1992), Lindsay Davenport - Gold (1996), Venus Williams - Gold (2000), Serena Williams- Gold (2012), Bronze – Mary Joe Fernandes (1992)
Ladies Doubles: Venus and Serena Williams - Gold (2000,2008,2012), Mary Joe and Gigi Fernandes - Gold (1992 and 1996), Gina Garrison and Pam Shriver - Gold (1988)