For almost every professional tennis player, the most important goal of their career is to clinch at least one of the four major titles of the sport – the US Open, French Open, Wimbledon, or the Australian Open. However, there are a number of talented tennis players out there who might be exceptional at the game or even the best during a particular period, but who sadly missed out on clinching even a single Grand Slam title. Whether you blame it on luck, lack of physical form, low self-belief, or lack of focus, the following are 5 great female tennis players who fell short of conquering a Grand Slam title.
A professional tennis player hailing from Denmark, Caroline Wozniacki is a young, talented, and ambitious player who has yet to secure a Grand Slam singles title to her name. Wozniacki held the world no.1 ranking in October, 2010, and continued to hold this position for almost 67 weeks. She was the first Scandinavian woman to hold the #1 position. Her closest chance to winning a major title came during the US Open finals in 2009 against Kim Clijsters. However, Wozniacki lost in straight sets to the Belgian top seed. As of October 2013, Wozniacki has clinched 21 WTA singles titles, as well as the 2006 Wimbledon Girls’ Singles, but the young Dane is yet to grab a women’s Grand Slam title.
Currently a prominent tennis broadcaster for ESPN, Pam Shriver is one of the best female tennis players America has ever produced. In her entire tennis career spanning more than 16 years, Shriver has hundreds of accomplishments to her name, including 21 singles titles, 106 doubles titles, and overall more than 600 victories in both singles as well as doubles tournaments. Her career ranking peaked to world #3 in February 1984, and she made it to the semifinals seven times at majors. The closest she got to a Grand Slam was at the 1978 US Open finals as a 16-year-old, which she eventually lost to Christ Evert. Shriver is remembered for her stunning doubles performances, most of which were with Martina Navratilova, winning 79 women’s doubles titles together.
Reaching the Grand Slam finals four times during the 1980s, Helena Sukova is yet another great female tennis player who never managed a Grand Slam singles title to her name. Originally from Czech Republic, Sukova won 14 Grand Slam titles during her tennis career, out of which nine were in women’s doubles, and five were in mixed doubles. Whether it was Sukova’s bad luck or the fact that she played tennis during the same era as German top player Steffi Graf and American tennis great Chris Evert, she fell short of clinching a major title. She lost two Grand Slam finals to Steffi Graf, once each to Chris Evert (1984 Australian Open), and once to Martina Navratilova (1986 US Open). However, Sukova did make it to the world #4 position in March 1985 and ranked #1 in doubles, besides being able to boast of 10 singles titles and 69 doubles titles in her kitty.
As far as Russia’s contribution to women’s tennis is concerned, Elena Dementieva is hands down one of the finest players the country has ever produced. Between 2000 and 2010, Dementieva reached nine Grand Slam semi-finals, out of which she made it twice to the finals during the 2004 French Open and 2004 US Open. During the 2004 French Open, she upset Lindsay Davenport in the fourth round, sailed past Amelie Mauresmo in the quarterfinals and Paola Suarez in the semifinals, all in straight sets, before going down against fellow Russian Anastasia Myskina in the finals. In the US Open, she stormed past Mauresmo and Jennifer Capriati, before once again being defeated by a fellow Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova. Dementieva went on to grab the world #3 title in April 2009, and also clinched the Olympic gold in 2008, a victory as commendable as a Grand Slam title.
A former world #1 (August 2008), Serbian tennis player Jelena Jankovic is yet another brilliant tennis player who sure did make it to the top in world rankings, but so far has been unsuccessful in conquering a Grand Slam title. Jankovic came close to winning a major championship title during the 2008 US Open finals, which she lost 6-4, 7-5 to American top seed Serena Williams. The other major highlights of her career include reaching the Grand Slam semifinals in 2007, 2008, and 2010, as well as her epic win in the 2007 Wimbledon Mixed Doubles titles with British tennis player Jamie Murray. This Mixed Doubles win made her the first Serbian to win a Grand Slam title, as she went on to defeat Jonas Bjorkman and Alicia Molik with partner Jamie Murray.
What do you think of our list? Did we miss out any legendary ladies who fell short of that elusive Grand Slam? Let us know in the comments!