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Greatest French Open Champions of All Time – The Women

The French Open is the only Grand Slam event played on clay, and is the most physically demanding of the four.
Published on May 24, 2023

Chris Evert - French Open
Chris Evert

The French Open is the only Grand Slam tournament played on clay, and considered to be the most physically demanding. Accordingly, here’s our list of the greatest female players in French Open history.

Greatest Female French Open Champions

  • Arantxa Sánchez Vicario (1989, 1994, 1998)
    As a 17-year-old, she became the youngest winner (at the time) of the women’s singles title at the 1989 French Open, defeating World No. 1 Steffi Graf in the final. Also, Sánchez Vicario won the French Open mixed doubles title in 1990 and 1992.
  • Chris Evert (1974-75, 1979-80, 1983, 1985, 1986)
    Unquestionably the greatest female French Open champion of all time. In addition to her seven French Open singles titles, Evert won the doubles titles in 1974-75. Additionally, one could argue that Evert was the top female player on clay surfaces.
  • Iga Świątek (2020, 2022)
    Świątek has described her style of play on clay as “a big serve, topspin, and backhand down the line”. Certainly, given the fact that she has two French Open titles at the age of 21, Świątek’s style of play my lead her to surpass Evert’s record.
  • Justine Henin (2003, 2005, 2006-07)
    Tennis fans remember Henin for many unique traits — a formidable one-handed backhand, phenomenal court speed and the angles she generated. Also, her one-handed backhand was so formidable that John McEnroe called it “the best single-handed backhand in both the women’s or men’s game.”
  • Margaret Court (1962, 1964, 1969, 1970, 1973)
    One of the greatest female champions of all-time with 24 Grand Slam singles titles (including five French Open wins), her career has been tainted by some of her controversial political stances. In fact, several tennis greats actively advocate for never mentioning her name at major events.

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  • Maria Sharapova (2012, 2014)
    Sharapova is a powerful and aggressive player, but she has traditionally struggled on clay because it is a slower surface that rewards consistency and defense over power. However, Sharapova worked hard to improve her game on clay and she was able to win the French Open in 2012 and 2014.
  • Martina Navratilova (1982, 1984)
    In 1985, Navratilova played in what many people consider the best woman’s match of all time, against rival Chris Evert. This memorable match took place at the French Open final, in which she was unable to defend her title.
  • Monica Seles (1990-92)
    In 1990, Seles became the youngest-ever French Open champion at the age of 16. Seles was on her way to a historic career after three consecutive French Open titles. However, she was attacked and stabbed during a match by a deranged fan in 1993. She was never the same after the attack.
  • Serena Williams (2002, 2013, 2015)
    The second most successful women’s player of all-time behind Margaret Court (by career Grand Slam titles), Williams’ first title at Roland-Garros came at the expense of her sister, Venus.
  • Steffi Graf (1987-88, 1993, 1995-96, 1999)
    Second only to Chris Evert in career French Open singles titles, Graf’s dominance over her career has many fans referring to her as the greatest female tennis player of all time.

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