Top 10 oldest WTA singles champions: Billie Jean King top, but Venus and/or Serena Williams could pip her

Tennis Top 10
Billie Jean King in action

Tennis icon Billie Jean King has been the oldest WTA singles title winner for nearly four decades, but fellow greats Venus Williams and/or Serena Williams could still end up on top of the list.

King won her final title aged 39 years, 7 months and 23 days in 1983, but Venus will claim the No 1 spot if she wins another title while her sister Serena will either jump to No 1 or No 2 (depending on Venus’ success) if she collects another trophy after May this year.

Top 10 oldest WTA singles title winners

10 Helga Schultze – 34 years, 5 months, 6 days

The German, whose best Grand Slam performance was a run to the semi-final of the 1964 French Open, won the 1974 Swiss Open Championships at the ripe old age of 34 years.

At the time Schultze, who reached a career high of No 5 in the WTA Rankings, was the oldest women’s player to capture a professional singles title. Her only other previous title was at the 1970 German Championships.

9 Maria Bueno – 34 years, 11 months, 26 days

The most successful South American women’s player in history competed mostly during the amateur era and won 63 titles in total and achieved a career-high No 1 in 1959. She won her three Wimbledon and four US Open singles titles in the amateur era.

The Brazilian played only part time during the Open Era and won her first and only professional title at the 1974 Japan Open.

The tennis great died in June 2018.

8 Marie Pinterova – 35 years, 2 months, 3 days

The Czechoslovakia-born Pinterova won only two women’s singles titles with the final one coming at the 1981 Japan Open.

7 Helga Niessen Masthoff – 35 years, 5 months, 1 day

Masthoff reached a career high of No 6 in the WTA Rankings and was the first German to reach a Grand Slam final in the Open Era, finishing runner-up to Margaret Court at the 1970 French Open.

She won the Monte Carlo Open three times with her final success in 1977 also her final title.

6 Venus Williams – 35 years, 7 months, 28 days

One of only two players still active, Williams could still set the record for the oldest WTA Tour singles title winner if she ends up winning another trophy before calling it a day.

The former world No 1, currently aged 40, won the last of her 49 titles at the 2016 Taiwan Open.

She reached another four finals after that, including the 2017 Australian Open and Wimbledon finals, but finished runner-up on each occasion.

5 Francesca Schiavone – 36 years, 9 months, 23 days

Italian Schiavone’s professional career spanned from 1998 until 2018 and during that time she won eight WTA singles titles and reached a career-high No 4 on the WTA Rankings.

Her moment of glory came at Roland Garros in 2010 when she won her only Grand Slam while her final title was the 2017 Copa Colsanitas.

4 Martina Navratilova – 37 years, 4 months, 2 days

The tennis icon won numerous Grand Slam mixed doubles titles after turning 40. In fact, she collected her final mixed doubles major at the 2006 US Open, just a few weeks before her 50th birthday.

However, the former world No 1 won the last of her 167 singles titles at the 1994 Open Gaz de France when she was 37 years, 4 months and 2 days old.

3 Serena Williams – 38 years, 3 months, 17 days

The 23-time Grand Slam winner is still going strong at the age of 39 and should she win a title at the end of May this year then she will move to the top of the list, providing sister Venus doesn’t win another title.

However, as things stand, Williams is currently third with the 2020 ASB Classic the last of her 73 singles titles.

2 Kimiko Date-Krumm – 38 years, 11 months, 30 days

The Japanese great reached the semi-finals of the US Open, French Open and Wimbledon and reached a career-high No 4 in the WTA Rankings before retiring in 1996.

However, she made a comeback in April 2008 and it was a successful one as the following year she won the Korea Open, just a few days before her 39th birthday.

It was her first title in 13 years and also turned out to be the last of her eighth singles trophies on the WTA Tour.

1 Billie Jean King – 39 years, 7 months, 23 days

The great Billie Jean King turned pro in 1959 and only hung up her racket in 1990. However, she played mostly doubles during the latter stages of her career.

By the time she called it a day in singles, she had won 129 singles titles, including 12 Grand Slams, and reached No 1 in the rankings with her 1983 Edgbaston Cup success proving to be the final trophy.

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