The 5 Most Exciting Women Tennis Players in the 80s
There will never be another era as emphatically exciting in women’s tennis as the 1980s.
It is the equivalent of the current era of Novak, Rafa, and Roger but for women’s tennis. In the 1980s, the world was gifted with Navratilova, Evert, and Graf, all playing at the highest level, and at the same time. What a time to be a tennis fan! It wasn’t just those three that dominated the headlines. Here’s a look at our top five list.
Hailing from Florida and born in 1954, Chris Evert was a force to be reckoned with on the court. Evert made her professional Grand Slam debut at the 1971 US Open at the age of 16. From there she would go on to feature in 34 Grand Slam singles finals, winning 18 of them. She was the quintessential counterpuncher, lurking around the baseline and making players hit that extra shot. Her movement was graceful and her strokes fluid. She was also a strategist of the highest level. She was almost like a chess player, with the ability to see two to three shots ahead.
This Czech-born American tennis champion burst onto the scene in 1971 and quickly became one of the most respected athletes of all time. During her career, she won a record nine Wimbledon singles titles as well as 18 Grand Slam singles titles overall. If Evert was grace and fluidity from the back of the court, Martina was fitness, professionalism, and quickness around the court and especially at the net. She had amazing hands and would play serve and volley to perfection. She would always look to chip and charge with her effortless slice approach shots putting pressure on opponents on every point.
German tennis star Steffi Graf began playing professionally in 1982 and quickly rose to fame due to her incredible skill and athleticism on the court. In 1988 she won the calendar Grand Slam; an accomplishment no other woman or man has done since the Open Era. She was ranked number one in the world for a record 377 weeks—an astonishing feat that has yet to be matched by any other player! She eventually retired with 22 Grand Slam singles titles under her belt—a number that was only eclipsed by the one and only Serena Williams who has 23.
The Argentinian was one of the most popular players on tour in the 80s and 90s. She was a flamboyant baseliner with a knack for hitting her groundstrokes with heavy topspin on both ends. This was very rare in the woman’s game at that time. Although she only collected one Grand Slam during her career (1990 US Open), she was routinely in the semis of grand slam tournaments from 1985 to 1995, reaching 17 semifinals, three of which ended in Grand Slam finals.
The youngest player to ever win a professional tournament at age 14 years old, Tracy Austin is one of the most decorated female players of all time. Over her career, she won two US Open championships and 44 total singles titles. Unfortunately, her career was cut short by numerous injuries sustained during her playing career. She’ll forever be remembered as a tennis prodigy, pushing established players like Evert and Navratilova to their limits. These days she can be found in the commentator booth during Grand Slams throughout the year.
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