Green, trimmed patch of court, the sun over the head, engrossed spectators, strawberries and cream, two players and one silver tray. The Wimbledon season is here and we couldn’t be more excited. One of the oldest and most prestigious tennis tournaments in the world, it is the only grand slam championship played on grass court. Started in 1877, this championship holds immense respect amongst the tennis players.
Here’s a walk down the history lane to remember some of the most iconic women tennis players.
Billie Jean King
A pioneer of equal pay for women in tennis, she is responsible for the transforming women tennis tremendously! She won 20 Wimbledon titles and was known for her fierce game. She was challenged by Bobby Riggs, who was the World no. 1 at that time, for a match which she willingly accepted and defeated him.; the match is famously knows as the Battle of the Sexes.
“Most important perhaps for women everywhere, she convinced skeptics that a female athlete can survive pressure-filled situations and that men are as susceptible to nerves as women,” wrote Neil Amdur, an eminent writer for The New York Times. A breakthrough like this in tennis was a tremendous win for all the women worldwide.
Now a retired tennis player and coach, she too won 20 Wimbledon titles. Bjorn Borg, the former World No. 1 and arguably the most legendary tennis player, in his interview with The Telegraph commented, “She had a game that was almost perfect for grass-court tennis.” Her passion and determination towards the game was so incredible that she continued to stay fit to play her last game at 46 years old. She is referred to as the oldest Wimbledon Champion!
One of her remarkable achievements was dethroning Martina Navratilova at the All England Club in 1988. She took to tennis professionally in 1982 and played till 1999 when she announced her retirement. According to her website, Steffi become No 1 in the tennis world. She kept this place for 186 weeks until March 10, 1991. This fabulous record could not been surpassed by any other player, man or woman, to this date. That is definitely some record to set!
In 2002, she was ranked the World No. 1 in tennis and was the first black American woman to hold that title. Venus has been an inspiration to women around the world with her efforts in discarding the pay gap between men and women in this game. She even collaborated with Women Tennis Association in 2006 to campaign against unfair pay gap. In her interview with abcnews.go.com, she said, ”As long as we set up equality, we’ll go in the right direction.”
Margaret Court, now 73 years old, is a retired Australian professional tennis player who was popular in 1960s for her “dominating” game. She was even dubbed “The Arm”! Her remarkable serves left her opponents defeated and incapable of attack. In her recent interview with abc.net.au she said women’s tennis is only about “hitting up and down all the time.”
She even goes on to say, “I hope it goes back more to the artistry side of volleying. Billie Jean (King) and I were much more aggressive I think than a lot of players today.” I guess her words are as strong as her serves!
The famous Williams sisters have not stopped making headlines ever since they started playing professionally. World’s No. 1 and world’s top earning female athlete, Serena’s game speaks for itself. She became the World No. 1 in 2002, and achieved the ranking again in 2013. She is at 21 Grand Slam Titles and this Wimbledon, her supporters are cheering her to beat Steffi Graf’s record 22 Grand Slam titles. Go team Serena!
Now that we have brushed up on our tennis G.K., let’s get back to watching the game and biting our nails nervously.
Source for player records : tennis-x.com