If you take a look at the ladies’ singles draw for Wimbledon 2013 today, you’ll notice something pretty interesting. Three of the top five and and eight of the top fifteen women were eliminated in the first week. Gone are Victoria Azarenka, Maria Sharapova, Caroline Wozniacki, and Maria Kirilenko, which most observers would say leaves only Agnieszka Radwanska between Serena Williams and her sixth Wimbledon title.
Is it a foregone conclusion that Serena will win? Not technically, no. But if you bet against her you’re crazy.
In any case, in anticipation of (possibly) another victory on the grass courts of the All England Club for Serena Williams, today we’re going to get an idea of where she stands among the Wimbledon greats. So what follows is a list of the women with the most singles championships in the history of the tournament.
Now, often when compiling lists like this, writers will either tacitly or explicitly limit the field to championships won in the so-called “Open Era”—i.e., that period of time when pro tennis players were allowed to play the major tournaments. However, for this list we’re including champions from the Open Era and the Amateur Era. One reason is that there aren’t enough multiple winners in the Open Era to make a whole list. But another reason is that, in this case, it didn’t seem right to exclude some of these pioneering female athletes who were so dominant.
Are five Wimbledon titles in the Amateur Era as impressive as five in the Open Era? I’d say no. But I’ll leave those qualitative assessments to you and present just the fact.
So, shall we begin?