Top five women’s winning streaks
Originally published on: 23/03/12 16:59
5. Chris Evert: 55 consecutive wins
As well as holding the record for the highest winning percentage in WTA history, the phenomenal Chris Evert holds the fifth most remarkable winning streak among the women. In 1974 she won 55 matches on the bounce – a record that stood for ten years before Martina Navratilova broke it in 1984.
4. Margaret Court: 57 consecutive wins
Before there was Evert or Navratilova, there was Margaret Court. The Australian and former world No.1 went on a rampage from 1972-73, winning three out of four Grand Slams while engaging in a 57-match long winning streak. Even more astoundingly, she accomplished this just months after returning to the tour after the birth of her first child.
3. Martina Navratilova: 58 consecutive wins
The undisputed Queen of winning streaks, Navratilova contributes three out of the six most impressive. Three years after a run of 54 wins from 1983-84, she went four matches better, beating her own record with a 58-match long streak.
2. Steffi Graf: 66 consecutive wins
Steffi Graf put on a monumental show from 1988-89, winning five Grand Slam titles on the trot. Her winning streak of 66 matches ran from June 1989 to May the following year, eventually ended by the uncompromising Monica Seles in Germany.
1. Martina Navratilova: 74 consecutive wins
In 1984, Navratilova exhibited her most staggering streak, winning 74 matches in a row. She started in February, winning the US Indoor Championships, and was unstoppable for the rest of the year. It was left to Helena Sukova, fighting against a one-set deficit, to muster the strength required to finally overpower Navratilova in the Australian Open semi-finals in December. She also held the No.1 one spot for 331 weeks. The only player to surpass this was Graf, narrowly eclipsing the Czech-born American with a record 373 weeks at the top.
Another streak that deserves a mention, of course, is Chris Evert’s winning run on clay, which lasted 125 matches and spanned six years on the tour. Not only that, but Evert followed immediately with her second longest streak on the same surface.
Esther Vergeer is another athlete worthy of considerable attention. The wheelchair player has clinched victory in every tournament since 2003, winning 429 matches, 18 singles Grand Slams and three Paralympics singles gold medals along the way, as well as holding the No.1 ranking uncontested since 1999.
Pre-Open era, some simply incomprehensible records were set. Helen Wills-Moody not only won every game, but also won every single set she played during her 180-match winning streak from 1927-1933. Tennis legend Suzanne Lenglen was the first record-setter for women’s tennis. In the eight years between 1918 and 1926, she lost one match. On either side of this loss were winning streaks of 116 and 182.
Victoria Azarenka’s winning streak stands at 25-0 ahead of round four at the Sony Ericsson Open. Undeniably, she has had a fantastic start to the season, the best since Martina Hingis kicked off the 1997 season with a run of 37 wins.
But, even if the world No.1 wins in Miami, she will still be a good 25 matches short of equaling even the shortest of Natravilova’s streaks. She would have to win her next five tournaments in Marbella, Stuttgart, Madrid, Rome and Paris to come close.