As the 2009 tennis season comes to an end (well it’s actually ended for the ladies), it’s a good time to check out the top 10 prize money winners in the WTA tour and how do the Williams’ sisters winning compare to those of former giants like Graf and Navratilova.
No.10 – Amelie Mauresmo, France, 15,022,476 Dollars
The 30 year old Geneva born Frenchwoman reached number one in 2004, but didn’t win her first Grand Slam till 2006, when she won the Australian Open and at Wimbledon. In all Mauresmo has 25 career singles titles, 15 of them coming in her most succesful stretch between 2003-2006.
No. 9 – Kim Clijsters, Belgium, 16,396,856 Dollars
The “comeback mom” was probably the best tennis story in 2009, returning after two years away from the game and winning the US Open, her third tournament since returning. She is also the first mother to win a Grand Slam since Evonne Goolagong (Australian) in the 1980 Wimbledon. Clijsters has one more US Open title (2005) and three more runner up finishes, one in Australia and two at the French Open. She has two Grand Slam doubles titles, at Paris and Wimbledon, both in 2003.
No. 8 – Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, Spain, 16,942,640 Dollars
The 37 year old Spaniard is another former world no. 1, winner four grand slam singles titles, three of them at the French Open and the fourth a US Open title. Her doubles achievements are even more impressive, winning 69 doubles titles, six of the Grand Slams (3 Australian, 1 Wimbledon, 2 US), and another four mixed doubles titles. She lost 8 times in Grand Slam singles finals.
No. 7 – Justine Henin, Belgium, 19,461,375 Dollars
Maybe a bit jealous of Kim Clijsters, Henin also announced her return to tennis, just two months ago. Henin retired on May 2008 at the age of 25, ranked no. 1 in the world at the time of her announcement. She has won 41 singles titles, 7 of them Grand Slams (2 Australian, 4 French and one US Open). She will begin her comeback in 2010, and has already received a wild card for the Australian Open.
No. 6 – Martina Hingis, Switzerland, 20,130,657 Dollars
Hingis exploded onto the scene in 1996, winning the Wimbledon doubles before her 16th birthday, and went supernova in 1997, nearly completing a calendar grand slam, missing out only in the French Open Final, the only major she hasn’t won. Her career was stopped (too soon) due to repeated injuries in her ankles and maybe too much Williams dominance for her to handle. She returned to the tour in 2006, four years after her withdrawal. She was able to climb back up to sixth in the world, but retired again in 2007, admitting to being tested positive for cocaine at Wimbledon that year. She received a two year ban from tennis in 2008, but has announced she won’t return to the game.
No. 5 – Martina Navratilova, Czech/United States, 21,626,089 Dollars
It’s impossible to put two people on the “greatest ever…” throne, so one must be always number two, and with a Steffi Graf in the world, Navratilova is the second greatest female tennis player in history, at least in my opinion. But she’s some number 2 – 167 career singles titles (more than other any man or woman) including 9 wins at Wimbledon, three in the Australian Open, two at the French Open and four at the US Open, 18 Grand Slam Singles in all. She also has 31 Grand Slam doubles titles (all time record) and 10 mixed doubles titles. She also owns the longest winning streak in the Open era, 74 consecutive matches.
No. 4 – Steffi Graf, Germany, 21,895,277 Dollars
The wonderful German is the only tennis player, Male or Female, to achieve the Golden Slam – winning all four grand slam singles tournaments and win an Olympic Gold in the same year (1988). She’s also the only player to win all four Grand Slam singles tournaments at least four times each. Her 22 Grand Slam singles titles are second only to Margaret Court’s 24. She has 107 singles titles (3rd all time), and has spent 377 weeks during her career, in different occasions, as the world number one, more than any other tennis player. When she retired in 1999 she was still ranked third in the world, winning the French Open the same year. She has four wins in Australia, six in the Roland Garros, seven times at Wimbledon and four US Open titles. In my eyes, the greatest female tennis player ever.
No. 3 – Lindsay Davenport, United States, 22,144,735 Dollars
Currently retired after flirting with a comeback in 2009, Davenport is a former world no. 1, finishing on top of the rankings on four occasions – 1998, 2001, 2004 and 2005, one of only four women to accomplish this (the others being Graff, Navratilova and Evert). She has 55 career singles titles, 3 of them Grand Slams and 36 doubles titles, with three of them Grand Slam titles. She has one title in Australia, Wimbledon and the US Open, with her highest finish in the French Open being the semi final in 1998.
No. 2 – Venus Williams, United States, 25,066,990 Dollars
The older half of the Williams sisters, Venus has been a pro since 1994. She’s won 7 Grand Slam singles titles and 10 doubles with her sister. Venus has also won the grand slam mixed couples tournament twice, both in 1998. In all she has 41 singles titles and 16 doubles titles, and is currently ranker sixth in the world.
No. 1 – Serena Williams, United States, 28,506,993 Dollars
The current world number one and the younger of the two Williams sisters, Serena has been a pro since 1995. She’s won 11 Grand Slam singles titles and has a career grand slam, winning all four slams (She completed this task by winning the 2003 Australian Open). She’s won four in Australia, one in the Roland Garros, three times in Wimbledon and three US Open tournaments. Along with her sister, she has 10 Grand Slam doubles titles and has won more career prize money than any other female athlete in history.