5 greatest tennis doubles pairs of all time
The GOAT debate has been hashed, rehashed and continues to be discussed endlessly in the singles, with Roger Federer continuing to cement himself as the prime candidate for that title.
But tennis has seen some brilliant pairs grace (and ace) the courts over the years.
DISCLAIMER: I’ve looked at legacy pairs here, with the Williams sisters still up for the title with their unprecedented success on Tour and at the Olympics!
Martina Navratilova – Pam Shriver
Czech-American ace Martina Navratilova is up there in the Greatest of All Time pantheon. It would take a long time to list every single record she has held, made, or broken over the course of her 31-year career.
Navratilova, now 60, is the only tennis player in history – male or female, to have held the No. 1 rank in both the singles and doubles for over 200 weeks – 332 in the singles, and 237 in the doubles.
She won 18 singles Grand Slams – but 26 in the doubles in the Open Era alone – and another five before it.
In 1975, soon after defecting from the then-Communist Czechoslovakia, Navratilova won her first ever Major doubles title – teaming up with the World No. 1 of that time – Chris Evert, to take top honours at the French Open.
The pair would team up again the following year, winning Wimbledon. Navratilova would win a doubles title a year over the next two years, twice with WTA founder and tennis legend Billie Jean King.
But it was the beginnings of her partnership with American ace Pam Shriver in 1981 that proved to be one of the most fruitful doubles partnerships of all time.
The two won the 1981 edition of Wimbledon, and for the next two years took top honours at both the year-opening Australian Open and Wimbledon.
Navratilova won three Majors in 1982, two of them with Shriver, and three Slams with the American the following year.
But it was 1984 that would prove to be their biggest year yet. That year, the Navratilova-Shriver combine won the Calendar Grand Slam – winning every Major doubles title that year.
Over the next five years, the two added another ten titles to their kitty.
The pair ended their partnership with a staggering twenty one doubles Majors titles on every possible surface.
They won 79 of the 104 tournaments they participated in over the course of their partnership, finishing with a win-loss record of 390-25.
Perhaps one of the most successful doubles partnerships in tennis history started only because of a phone call from Navratilova asking Shriver to partner her.
And the rest was history.