Serena Williams and Venus Williams have shared 12 Wimbledon women’s singles titles between them, but which female player has won the most of all?
While the Australian Open, French Open and US Open tournaments are prestigious, it is hard for any of those grand slam events to match the prestige of Wimbledon.
The tournament at the All England Club has a remarkable history, having first been played in 1877.
Many of the leading tennis stars past and present have admitted they see the sport’s only grass-court major as the ultimate prize.
Winning Wimbledon just once would be a dream for most of the players on the ATP and WTA Tours, but there is a small group of stars who have won the tournament on multiple occasions.
We have previously looked at Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Pete Sampras and the men’s players with the most Wimbledon titles.
Now it is time to analyse the Wimbledon women’s singles titles, with a look at some of the great female champions in the Open Era.
Martina Navratilova: 9 Wimbledon Titles
With nine Wimbledon titles, Navratilova has the most women’s singles titles at Wimbledon.
Navratilova’s nine titles are also the most won by any female player at a single grand slam tennis event.
The left-hander had a remarkable Wimbledon record and was a constant figure in the latter stages of the tournament for more than two decades, racking up a total of 120 match wins.
Navratilova made 23 appearances at Wimbledon overall, with her first coming in 1973. She played for 22 consecutive tournaments until she was runner-up in 1994, making a brief return to singles competition one more time at the age of 47 in 2004.
Success was not immediate for Navratilova, who did not reach the final in her first five attempts. She got close in 1976, but narrowly lost a three-set semi-final against eventual champion Chris Evert, with whom she shared a historic rivalry.
Her first two successes came consecutively in 1978 and 1979, as Navratilova got the better of Evert in both finals.
She lost semi-finals in the next two years, against Evert and Hana Mandlikova, but then embarked on a stunning six-year run, winning the Wimbledon Championships every year.
The consecutive titles were secured with three finals wins over Evert, and successes in the showpiece match against Mandlikova, Andrea Jaeger and Steffi Graf.
Her 1983 season on the WTA Tour was dominant, with Navratilova going 86-1, with the only loss that year coming in the French Open.
Graf got revenge on Navratilova with two straight Wimbledon final wins in 1988 and 1989.
But a victory in straight sets over Zina Garrison – who had caused an upset by seeing off Graf in the 1990 semi-finals – gave Navratilova a sensational ninth crown in London.
She pushed hard to make it 10 crowns, reaching the last eight once, semi-finals twice and the final once in the following four years.
At the age of 37, a heart-breaking close loss to Conchita Martínez in the 1994 Wimbledon final was followed soon after by the end of her full-time singles career.
Navratilova was also a formidable doubles player. She won 11 doubles titles at Wimbledon (the women’s doubles seven times and the mixed doubles on four occasions), giving her a total of 20 titles across all formats at the tournament.
Serena Williams: 7 Wimbledon Titles
With 98 match wins, 11 finals and seven Wimbledon titles, Serena Williams had a historic Wimbledon career.
Having previously lost out in a semi-final at Wimbledon to sister Venus Williams, she got final wins over her sister in 2002 and 2003 to open her account in style. Serena’s first success in 2002 saw her win the tournament without dropping a set.
Serena and Venus would face each other in four Wimbledon finals, with Serena winning three of them.
Teenager Maria Sharapova beat Serena Willians in the 2004 final, denying the Amrican a third straight triumph, and it was four years until she got back in the final at Wimbledon.
That time it was Venus’ sole success in all-Williams Wimbledon finals, with Serena then picking up her third title by beating Venus in the last meeting in 2009.
Serena comfortably saw off Vera Zvonareva to win a fourth championship in 2010, not facing a break point in the final and repeating her feat of not dropping a set throughout the tournament.
She lost in the last 16 to Marion Bartoli in 2011 to miss out on a fourth straight final, but was back at her dominant best a year later, defeating Agnieszka Radwańska in three sets.
Shock defeats in the first week against Sabine Lisicki and Alizé Cornet briefly slowed her Wimbledon record pursuit but once more Serena bounced back with her sixth and seventh successes coming in back-to-back years against Garbine Muguruza and Angelique Kerber.
Making an impressive return to action as she came back to the WTA Tour having given birth to her daughter, Serena made two straight Wimbledon finals.
But that 2016 win over Kerber would end up being her last at Wimbledon, despite determined attempts to defy age and injuries to add to her grand slam tally. Ultimately, she fell marginally short of matching Margaret Court’s all-time major record, but did pass Graf for the Open Era grand slam titles record.
Kerber defeated her in 2018 and Simona Halep came out on top 2019, with Serena also losing US Open finals to Naomi Osaka and Bianca Andreescu during that period.
The pandemic-forced cancellation of the 2020 event did not help Serena as she began to struggle more with injuries and a lack of match practice, which hindered her in her last two Wimbledon attempts in 2021 and 2022, which at least gave the British crowd a chance to show their appreciation.
As well as her incredible legacy as a singles player, Serena also teamed up with sister Venus Williams to win the women’s doubles at Wimbledon six times, and additionally enjoyed mixed doubles success with Max Mirnyi on the grass.
Steffi Graf: 7 Wimbledon Titles
Graf won every tennis major at least four times across a sensational career, but Wimbledon was her most successful grand slam event, as she won seven titles.
The German had an incredible 74-7 record at the British grand slam tournament. She had made the fourth round twice and missed a year through injury by the time she made her first final, having just turned 18, at the 1987 Championships.
Navratilova beat her on that occasion but Graf avenged those losses in each of the next two years, both times claiming the final set to beat her rival, and ending the run of six straight tournament wins for her more experienced opponent.
The first success in 1988 was part of a historic calendar Grand Slam. She was the first to achieve the feat since Margaret Court in 1970 and it has not been repeated in more than three decades since Graf achieved it.
That tournament win also means Graf is one of five players to have won the women’s singles title at Wimbledon as a teenager in the Open Era – a group which also contains Evonne Goolagong Cawley, Evert, Martina Hingis and Maria Sharapova.
Graf reached 13 consecutive grand slam finals in a row during this stretch of success, and won nine, with the run ending at Wimbledon with the last-four loss against Garrison in 1990.
At the peak of her powers, Graf then won five more titles in the space of six years to take her total to seven overall.
She beat Gabriela Sabatini, Monica Seles and Jana Novotna to reach five titles.
A shock first-round to Lori McNeil ended the streak, but consecutive wins over Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in 1995 and 1996 cemented her status as a Wimbledon great.
Injury ruled her out in 1997 and there was a third-round loss Natasha Zvereva a year later, but a run to the final in 1999 gave Graf a shot at an eighth crown.
Ultimately, she was beaten by Lindsay Davenport, meaning she lost two of her nine Wimbledon finals overall – the first and last ones that she played.
Despite having such a long and successful career, having turned professional so young, Graf was just 30 when she retired and was still among the sport’s top-ranked players.
Venus Williams: 5 Wimbledon Titles
Venus Williams is another memorable Wimbledon champion, with five singles titles to her name.
After receiving a wildcard for the 2023 tournament at the age of 43, she appeared in the main draw for a 24th time, surpassing the Open Era record previously held by Navratilova.
Her first appearance came way back in 1997. She is playing 23 years on from her first title, which arrived in 2000 with a win over fellow American Davenport, having seen off Hingis and sister Serena Williams en route.
That was followed up by a second straight triumph the next year, with a 6-0 deciding set win over Justine Henin in the final.
Serena denied Venus in consecutive finals in 2002 and 2003, before a shock loss to Karolina Šprem ended her hopes of making a fifth straight final.
But a second showpiece win over Davenport in 2005, having saved a match point, made her a three-time winner and Marion Bartoli was then beaten in the 2007 final. Venus was ranked 31 in the world at that time and it was a success that made her the lowest-ranked women’s player to win Wimbledon. That record was not broken until Marketa Vondrousova claimed a shock win in 2023, triumphing as an unseeded player.
Venus finally got the better of Serena in a grass-court major final, taking the title in 2008, her fifth success overall. Serena only had two Wimbledon titles then, but she would get revenge on Venus a year later in 2009 and later surpass her older sibling’s tally.
It was then eight years until Venus Williams was able to get back to the final. She had made the semis in 2016, losing to Kerber, who Serena would beat in the final that year. The following campaign she went one step further, only for the veteran to be beaten by Garbine Muguruza in the final.
Other Multiple Women’s Wimbledon Champions
There have been other notable multiple women’s singles champions in the Open Era. Chris Evert had three Wimbledon titles, while Evonne Goolagong is a two-time champion.
While the Williams sisters dominated Wimbledon for much of the modern era, Czech star Petra Kvitova was able to win the tournament twice.
She triumphed in 2011 and 2014, earning final wins over Maria Sharapova and Eugenie Bouchard.
Most All-Time Wins
With nine titles, Navratilova also tops the all-time winners’ list at Wimbledon.
She is run close by Helen Wills Moody when the amateur era is factored in. She won eight Wimbledon titles between 1927 and 1938.
Billie Jean King is one of the all-time greats of the women’s game and had notable achievements at Wimbledon. She won six singles championships at All England Club, her first in 1966 and last in 1975.
King was – like Navratilova – a formidable doubles player too, and won a total of 20 tournaments at Wimbledon across all formats, meaning the pair share that record.
Suzanne Lenglen and Blanche Bingley were also six-time Wimbledon champions in the women’s singles.
Most Women’s Wimbledon Final Appearances
After reaching the final 12 times, Martina Navratilova holds the record for most appearances by a women’s tennis player in the Wimbledon showpiece.
Serena Williams is close behind with 11, while Chris Evert made the showpiece match on Centre Court 10 times. However, Evert lost seven of her 10 appearances in the Wimbledon final, giving her an unwanted record for most defeats.
Evert won two of her first three, but then was beaten in six of her last seven attempts. Navratilova was her tormentor, beating Evert in all five of the Wimbledon finals they played.
Steffi Graf, Venus Williams and Billie Jean King all made it to nine Wimbledon finals in the women’s singles.
Most Consecutive Wimbledon Titles and Finals
Martina Navratilova’s run of six consecutive Wimbledon titles is a record in the women’s singles, and also surpasses the highest such streak achieved by a male player, which stands at five (jointly held by Roger Federer and Bjorn Borg).
Since Navratilova’s run of wins ended in 1988, Graf is the only player to have won three straight titles (1991-1993) and no other player has been able to win more than two in a row.
Navratoliva also has the record for the most consecutive Wimbledon finals by a female tennis player, with nine between 1982 and 1990. She only lost two of them, both against Graf.
Evert is in second place after reaching the singles final five straight times between 1978 and 1982, with Venus Williams in third place after making four in a row from 2000 until 2003.
Despite her incredible Wimbledon record, the most consecutive finals reached by Serena Williams was three, something she achieved twice in separate streaks.
After the 2023 event was won by Vondrousova, there has been a different champion in the women’s singles for seven straight Wimbledon tournaments.