Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Top Ten Female Players in Australian Open Tennis

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If you are a fan of tennis then you must know the prestige of Australian Open as a grand slam tournament in the tennis world. Well, this is one of the four grand slam tournaments of tennis. Moreover, this is one of the major sporting events of a calendar year too. So, from any point of view, Australian Open means a lot to a tennis fans. Now, Australian Open 2008 is coming nearer. Naturally, tennis players and organizers are going through a busy time now. Australia Open will start from 14 January 2007.

Ahead of the first grand slam of the year, I would like to introduce you with some of the greatest players of this tournament. I have already written an entry on Top Ten Male Players of Australian Open today. Now, I am going to write on the top ten female players of Australian Open. Well, the list of the players may not satisfy you fully but I believe that most of you will agree with me regarding this list of players of Australian Open.

Australian Open (then Australian Championship) started from 1905. The tournament has already past 100 years. So, you can guess that it is not so easy to make a list of top ten players of a competition which has already past 100 years. So, the list is mainly based on the record and statistics of the players. This is also of my personal opinion which may not satisfy you totally. However, I think, the players I included in the list deserve to get a place in the list of top ten female players of Australian Open. So, here I am giving the list of the players with short introduction for each of the players:

Margaret Smith Court

Margaret Smith Court does not need any introduction to a tennis fan. This former world no. 1 is a legendary figure in the history of tennis. With 24 grand slam singles titles under her belt, Margaret Smith Court holds the record of winning highest number of grand slam women’s singles title. Her career tally of grand slam titles is 62 including 24 singles, 19 women’s doubles and 19 mixed doubles. She is the first female tennis players in Open Era to win all of the four grand slam singles titles in the same calendar year. The year she won all four grand slam women’s singles was in 1970.

Now, when it comes to Australian Open, the record of Margaret Smith Court becomes brighter. Among her 24 grand slam singles titles, she won 11 titles in Australian Open. In fact, she won seven of them in consecutive years from 1960 to 1966. Four more Australian Open titles came in Open Era in which three came in successive years. Besides, she also won 8 doubles and 4 mixed doubles titles in Australian Open. So, you can realize how dominating she was in Australian Open throughout her career. “There has never been a tennis player to match (her)”- this is the statement of the International Tennis Hall of Fame about this greatest star of tennis.

Nancye Wynne Bolton

After Margaret Smith Court, this Australian has better success in Australian. Nancye Wynne Bolton won all of her 6 grand slam singles titles in Australian Championships. Including the 6 singles titles, she also won 10 doubles and 4 mixed doubles titles in Australian Championships, making 20 Australian Open titles in her career with just one behind Margaret Smith Court’s 21 Australian Open titles. She dominated the Australian Championships from late 30’s to late 40’s. It is true that if it were not the list of Australian Open players then Nancye Wynne Bolton might miss the list, but when it comes to Australian Open then Nancye Wynne Bolton must deserve a place even in the top three. She has been inducted in the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2006 because of her contribution to tennis in her career.

Daphne Akhurst Cozens

You may also question about her inclusion in the list and her placing third in the title. Well, with five singles, five doubles and four mixed doubles titles of Australian Championships under her belt, it was impossible for me to place Daphne Akhurst Cozens lower than top five in the list. Though she has no other singles title in her career expect the five in Australian Championships, she showed her talent and skill of tennis in Australian Championships. The winner of the women’s singles title in Australian Open is now awarded with Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup.

Steffi Graf

This former world no. 1 is considered as one of the greatest female tennis players. Steffi Graf won 22 grand slam singles titles in her career, second only to Margaret Smith Court’s 24 singles titles. She was world no. 1 in WTA ranking for record 377 weeks in total. With 5 feet 9 inches height, Steffi Graf dominated world tennis for more than a decade. She is the only play to win all four grand slam singles titles in a same calendar year playing in three different surfaces. Actually, the main strength of Steffi Graf was her ability to play with equal dominance in all surfaces. She also won the Olympic gold medal in singles in 1988 Seoul Olympic Games.

In Australian Open, Steffi Graf won four singles titles alongside one runner-up title. Actually, her performance in three other grand slam tournaments is much better than that of Australian Open. She has 6 French Open, 7 Wimbledon and 5 U.S. Open titles in her career. So, there was hardly anything left that Steffi Graf could win in her career.

Monica Seles

She is another great female tennis player. Monica Seles started her career with huge expectations but an unexpected incidents did not let her potential flourish. In 1993, while playing a match against Magdalena Maleeva at Hamburg, Germany, Monica Seles was seriously injured by a fan named G√ľnter Parche who hit Seles with a knife. Though the physical injury was not that much serious, but she was broken mentally causing her two years absence in the court However, with nine grand slam singles titles under her belt, she deserves to be one of the finest players in the history of tennis. Four out of her nine singles titles came at Australian Open where she showed some of her great performances.

Evonne Goolagong Cawley

This former world no. 1 Australian was one of the dominating players of 1970’s and 1980’s. In her seven grand slam singles titles, four came at Australian Open. Besides, her four Australian Open singles titles, Evonne Goolagong also won two Wimbledon and one French Open titles. However, she failed to claim any U.S. Open titles even though playing four U.S. Open final in her career. She also failed to win three more Australian Open singles titles being defeated in the final. Among her 6 Doubles titles, five came at Australian Open. So, there is enough ground to include her in the list of top ten Australian Open players.

Martina Navratilova

Martina Navratilova is another legend of tennis. She owns several prestigious records of tennis. She is one of those players who became successful in singles, doubles and mixed doubles in a row. In her 31 year long career, she won 59 grand slam titles including 18 singles titles, 31 doubles titles and 10 mixed doubles titles. Martina Navratilova is only third player to have won singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles in all four grand slam tournaments in her illustrious career. She learnt tennis to her step father in her childhood.

Martina Navratilova was most successful in Wimbledon with 9 grand slam singles titles. However, her performance in Australian Open is also very good with 3 singles titles alongside 3 runner-up titles. Moreover, she also claimed 8 doubles and mixed doubles titles in Australian Open. Considering the statistics and dominance she had in world tennis, I think, it is not possible to exclude her from this list.

Chris Evert

Christine Marie Evert is the full name of this great female tennis star. In her successful career, she won 18 singles titles in grand slam tournaments. Chris Evert won all of the four grand slam tournaments in her career. However, her career win-loss record in singles, 1309-146, shows her class and talent. What is more, she never got out at less than third round in any grand slam tournament in her career. Though she won only two singles titles at the Australian Open, she lost in four other singles finals at the Australian Open. So, I think, she deserves a place in the list of top ten female tennis players of Australian Open.

Martina Hingis

Martina Hingis is one of those players who have achieved less in their career considering their potential. Turned professional in 1994 at the age of 14, she started to dominate the tennis world from 1997, the year she won three grand slam tournaments. However, she had won a doubles titles in Wimbledon in the previous year becoming the youngest Wimbledon champion at 16. However, a ligament injury sent her out of the court and made her retire from the professional tennis at the age of 22 in 2002. However, she came back in action three years later in 2005 but she failed to regain her pace in the court and continuous injury problems forced her to declare her retirement for the second time. All of her five grand slam singles titles came before her first retirement. Three out of her five singles titles in grand slam tournament came at Australian Open. All those three came in three successive years. So, I did not think twice to include her in this list.

Serena Williams

This American is the only player of this list who is still playing professional tennis. Serena Williams is also the current champion of Australian Open. However, what made me include her in this list is her ability to dominate others and her mental will. She is such a player who can come back any time in a match without giving much time to her opponent and finally can win the match. She is one of those female tennis players who have grand slam singles titles in all of the four grand slam tournaments. However, with three Australian Open titles to her credit, she has best performance at the Australian Open so far in her career. I would not be surprised if she wins some more titles at the Australian Open as she has some more power and guile left in her to achieve more successes in grand slam tournaments.

At last, I would like to mention again that this list of players reflects my personal choices and I had to exclude many star players from this list. So, you do not need to agree with me on this regard. You may have your own list of players. I will request you, if you think any player should have included in the list then you can let us know about your opinion in the comment section.

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