Today, women’s tennis is easily the most popular women’s sport, thanks to legendary female tennis players like Venus and Serena Williams who have taken the sport to the next level. But did you know that Australia has our own share of amazing female tennis players who’ve taken the world by storm?
Our heritage of incredible tennis talent goes back decades! So, let’s meet the greatest Aussie female tennis players, both in history and on the court today.
7. Nicole Bradtke
Date of birth: September 22, 1969
Place of birth: Melbourne
Pro since: 1985
Achievements: Singles No. 24 (1993), Doubles No. 11 (1992), 2 Grand Slam Mixed Doubles titles, 4 ITF Singles titles, 3 WTA Doubles titles, 9 WTA Doubles titles, 1 Summer Olympics Doubles bronze medal
Nicole Bradtke has been No. 24 and No. 11 in the world for singles and doubles respectively. With 2 Grand Slam Mixed Double titles to her name and 6 singles titles and 12 doubles titles across the ITF and WTA rankings, she’s certainly proven herself a formidable player. She retired in 1997 after an injury and has since served as a tennis coach.
6. Daria Gavrilova
Date of birth: March 5, 1994
Place of birth: Moscow, Russia
Pro since: 2009
Achievements: Singles No. 20 (2017), 1 WTA Singles title, 1 Summer Youth Olympics gold medal, 1 Girls Singles title, 1 Girls Doubles title, 4 ITF titles
Daria Gavrilova started her career playing for Mother Russia, winning the singles gold medal at the 2010 Summer Youth Olympic Games. She went on to secure various titles, including the 2010 US Open Junior.
In 2011, Daria started dating two-time Junior Grand Slam winner Luke Saville. He influenced her to become an Australian citizen in 2015, and she’s been playing for our team ever since, helping Australia achieve dominance in the WTA circuit. As the current No. 20 in the world, Daria is the third-highest-ranking female Australian tennis player.
5. Daniela Di Toro
Date of birth: October 16, 1974
Place of birth: Melbourne
Pro since: 1989
Achievements: Wheelchair Tennis Singles No. 1 (1998), 10 Singles Grand Slam titles, 1 Doubles Grand Slam title, 1 Masters Doubles title, Paralympics Silver Medalist
Daniela Di Toro hasn’t been able to use her legs since an accident in 1988, but that hasn’t stopped her from playing tennis at the highest levels.
She started playing wheelchair tennis shortly after the accident and would go on to win the Australian Wheelchair Tennis Open a staggering 10 times, later nabbing French Open and US Open titles. She also competed in four consecutive Paralympic Games from 1996 to 2008, winning a silver medal in the Doubles category in 2000.
Today, Daniela plays para-table-tennis and has played at ITTF games and the 2016 Rio Paralympics.
4. Ajla Tomljanović
Date of birth: May 7, 1993
Place of birth: Zagreb, Croatia
Pro since: 2008
Achievements: Singles No. 39 (2019), 1 Girls’ Doubles title, 4 ITF Singles titles, 3 ITF Doubles titles
Ajla Tomljanović didn’t start off playing for Australia. She began her professional career in 2008 playing for her home country of Croatia. However, in 2018 she received her Australian citizenship and now plays exclusively on our team!
As the current No. 47 woman tennis player in the world, Ajla is the second-highest-ranked female Australian tennis star, behind world #2 Ashleigh Barty. She’s dating Nick Kyrgios, currently No. 39 in the world and the second-highest-ranked male Australian player after Alex de Minaur. Together, they’re some of the hottest Aussie icons in sports.
3. Kerry Melville
Date of birth: August 7, 1947
Place of birth: Mosman, NSW
Pro since: 1963
Achievements: Singles No. 5 (1971), 1 Singles Grand Slam title, 3 Doubles Grand Slam titles
In the 1966 Australian Championships, Kerry Melville defeated Billie Jean King, who was then No. 1 and is widely considered one of the greatest women’s tennis players of all time. This is just one highlight in a career of excellence for Kerry, who has four Grand Slam titles, a Federation Cup team, and four Federation Cup finals appearances to her name.
2. Ashleigh Barty
Date of birth: April 24, 1996
Place of birth: Queensland
Pro since: 2010
Achievements: Singles No. 2 (2019), 1 Singles Grand Slam title, 1 Doubles Grand Slam title, 5 WTA Singles titles, 4 ITF Singles titles, 10 WTA Doubles titles, 9 ITF Doubles titles
Ashleigh Barty is one of the strongest women’s tennis players in the world today. Just recently on June 10, she made it to the No. 2 spot following her win over Marketa Vondroušová, becoming the first Australian woman since Margaret Court to land a French Open Singles title.
A tennis prodigy, Ashleigh has been a professional player since the tender age of 14, but she’s been kicking butt since she first took up the racket when she was just four years old.
1. Margaret Court
Date of birth: July 16, 1942
Place of birth: Perth
Pro since: 1968
Achievements: Singles No. 1 (1962), 24 Singles Grand Slam titles, 19 Women’s Doubles, 21 Mixed Doubles
Margaret Court is considered not just one of the greatest female players of all time, but also among the greatest players of all time, full stop. Her record of 64 Grand Slam titles is unchallenged in both the men and women’s tennis, and her 11 Australian Open wins in the 1973 Grand Slam was a world record until very recently on June 9, 2019, when Rafael Nadal landed 12 French Open wins. And of course, she reached the world No. 1 spot in 1962.
She’s also one of three people in history to win singles, doubles, and mixed doubles titles in each of the four Grand Slam events, the so-called ‘Grand Slam Boxed Set’. In fact, she’s done it twice, making her the only person to have done so! Margaret Court’s utter dominance in women’s tennis all over the world puts her at the very top of our list of Australian tennis champions.
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