One last time? (WTA and ATP’s longest streaks between first and last singles titles)

2

February 25, 2014 by Parveer Mann

In a year already full of surprises, Venus Williams’ win in Dubai last week surely registers. Not only was it her first title since October 2012 but it came against a good field (she beat five current Top 33 players). The quality of opponent and the fact she was able to perform day after day (something that has become rare after her Sjogren’s diagnosis) reminds us all how good Venus can be and how long she’s been at it.

Her first WTA title came in 1998, an amazing 16 year span of success and relevance.  I thought I’d take a look at how her streak compares to some of the other tennis greats on both the WTA and ATP tours since the Open Era began:

Table 1: WTA Tour

Player

Years

Notes

Martina Navratilova 20 (1974-1994) The all-time WTA leader with 167, won at least one WTA title for 20 consecutive years
Chris Evert 17 (1971-1988) Her first title came as a 16 year old.
Conchita Martinez 17 (1988-2005) Her last win in Pattaya came five years after her previous title in 2000.
Venus Williams (Active) 16 (1998-2014) Would need to win a title in 2019 to surpass Navratilova.
Billie Jean King 15 (1968-1983) Her first title at any level came in 1959.
Steffi Graf 15 (1984-1999) The 1999 French Open title would be the last of her 107 singles titles.
Lindsay Davenport 15 (1993-2008) Her best year came in 1999 when she won seven tournaments including Wimbledon.
Serena Williams (Active) 15 (1999-2014) In last 15 years, has only failed to win at least one title in 2006.

It’ll be awfully tough for either Williams sister to surpass Navratilova’s streak but it does help remind younger fans how long Martina played this game at a high level.

Table 2: ATP Tour

Player

Years

Notes

Andre Agassi 18 (1987-2005) He kept winning late in his career; his last title came at 35.
Jimmy Connors 17 (1972-1989) His 109 titles are the most among men in the Open era.
Lleyton Hewitt (Active) 16 (1998-2014) His win in Brisbane this year vaults him up this list.
John McEnroe 13 (1978-1991) Only 10 of his 77 titles came after 1985.
Ivan Lendl 13 (1980-1993) Won 15 titles in 1982.
Michael Chang 12 (1988-2000) Won a title in San Francisco at only 16.
Pete Sampras 12 (1990-2002) His last win was famously at the 2002 US Open.
Roger Federer (Active) 12 (2001-2013) His first title came in Milan in 2001.

After winning this year, Hewitt is now only two years behind Andre Agassi and could plausibly tie him in a few years and I wouldn’t put it past Hewitt to have a chance as he seemingly wants to play forever.

Note: All career statistics found on wtatennis.com and atpworldtour.com.

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2 thoughts on “One last time? (WTA and ATP’s longest streaks between first and last singles titles)

  1. Gurveer Mann says:

    I think it’s equally impressive that Navratilova won a title for 20 consecutive years.

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