The first woman to win a Grand Slam title was British woman Maud Watson. She did so when she won Wimbledon in the year 1884. Between 1877-1883, Wimbledon was a Men's only event.
Since the dawn of 'The Open Era' in 1968, when it was decided by consensus that the Major tournaments would permit professional players to compete along with the amateur players, thereby offering a level-playing ground for all athletes, 48 women athletes have won at least one Grand Slam Singles' title.
The 1970's saw the domination of the likes of Chris Evert, Margaret Court, Billie Jean King and Evonne Goolagong. The 1980's was the decade of Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert and Steffi Graf. The 1990's were dominated by Steffi Graf, Monica Seles, and Martina Hingis.
The Williams sisters (Serena Williams and Venus Williams) emerged as the prominent winners in the first decade of the new millennium. Serena Williams has stamped her authority over the major part of the 2010s.
We take a look at the 5 Women with the most Singles' Grand Slams
#5 Chris Evert
No woman has played in more Grand Slam Singles' final than the American Chris Evert. Evert featured in 34 Grand Slam Singles' finals winning 18 of them. For 13 consecutive years, she won at least one Grand Slam title (a record which is yet to be matched by anyone).
Her career winning percentage in singles matches is 89.97% - the highest in the Open Era, for men or women. Her tally included two Australian Open crowns, a record seven French Open titles, three Wimbledon Championships, and six US Open titles.
#5 Martina Navratilova
Joint 5th on the list is Czech-American Martina Navratilova. Martina Navratilova is the only player in tennis history male or female to have held the #1 ranking in Singles and Doubles for a period of more than 200 weeks.
Her combined tally of 18 Singles' Grand Slams, 31 Doubles' Grand Slam titles (all-time record) and 10 Mixed Doubles' Grand Slam victories is the highest won by a single player in the Open Era - male or female. Martina Navratilova has won more Singles' titles than any other woman - a jaw-dropping 167 titles.
#4 Helen Wills Moody
The first woman tennis superstar who rose to stardom in the 1920's and 1930's, American Helen Wills Moody was the face of Woman's tennis for many years. She was known for her powerful strokes and penchant to wear opponents down with aggressive strokeplay so much so that she even beat a top-ranked males player in an exhibition match.
Her tally included 19 Grand Slam Singles titles and 12 Grand Slam Doubles titles. She also won Gold in both Singles and Doubles at the Paris Olympic Games in 1924. Tennis was not featured in any Olympic games after that until 1988.
#3 Steffi Graf
German woman Steffi Graf captivated audiences in the late 1980's and the 1990's with her grace and charm both on and off the court. She was ranked #1 in Singles by the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) for a record 377 weeks.
She is the only player in history to have won 'The Golden Slam' - winning all four Grand Slams and the Olympic Gold medal in the same year. She did so in the year 1998. She is the only tennis player male or female to have won each of the Grand Slam titles at least four times. She won a total of 22 Grand Slam Singles' titles.
#2 Serena Williams
The only active player in the list is American Serena Williams. Considered by many to be the most dominant female tennis player of all-time, Serena Williams has won at least one Grand Slam Singles title in three different decades (the 1990's 2000's and 2010's).
In the Open Era, no man or woman has won more than her tally of 23 Grand Slam Singles' titles. Serena holds the record for the most Grand Slam Singles' matches won among women - 331.
Her tally includes an all-time record of seven Australian Open victories, three French Open titles, seven Wimbledon titles and an all-time record of six US Open triumphs. It doesn't seem unlikely at all that when Serena Williams quits the sport, she will retire as the most successful Grand Slam Singles' champion among women.
#1 Margaret Court
Australian Margaret Court is the first player in the Open Era to have completed a Career Slam by winning all four Grand Slam titles. She is also the only woman to have won the Mixed Doubles Calendar Slam.
She achieved this feat not once but twice in the years 1963 and 1965. Her combined tally of 24 Grand Slam Singles' titles, 19 Women's Doubles and 21 Mixed Doubles' titles is second to none.
She has won the Australian Open a record 11 times and has also won more Mixed Doubles titles than any other woman - active or retired. Margaret Court also won a calendar Slam in Singles' in the year 1970.
Court is one of three players in the history of tennis to have won 'The Grand Slam Box Set' which comprises of every single Grand Slam Seniors tournament across Singles, Doubles and Mixed Doubles.Published 26 Sep 2018, 12:16 IST