Iga Swiatek’s 37 wins in a row and past ‘long’ deeds in tennis history

“Probably now I will take closer look at the numbers,” Iga Swiatek tweeted on Sunday in response to a social media post from the WTA on the Pole’s incredible win streak this season. It lasted 37 matches and 135 days before it was ended by an inspired Alize Cornet of France in the third round of Wimbledon.

With the world No. 1’s best-in-this-century run over, we look at the most dominant winning streaks in the history of women’s tennis. A couple of legends piled on relentless runs multiple times while a Swiss did it aged 16.

Martina Navratilova: 74 (1984)

When Martina Navratilova ended her 54-match winning streak in January 1984, one thought it would take something extraordinary to better it. It didn’t take too long, and it didn’t take another player. The American responded to a rare defeat that season by stringing together an even longer and legendary run, one that till date holds the record for most consecutive match wins in the Open Era. From February to December, Navratilova won 74 back-to-back matches, pocketing 13 titles and three Grand Slams (French Open, Wimbledon and US Open). In those days, the Australian Open was played at the end of the season, and that’s where the streak reached its conclusion when Navratilova lost to Helena Sukova in the semi-finals despite being a set up. The 18-time singles Grand Slam champion figures three more times in the top-10 list of WTA’s longest win streaks: 58 in 1987, 54 in 1984 and 41 in 1982.

Steffi Graf: 66 (1989-1990)

Steffi Graf’s 1988 season had four Grand Slam titles and an Olympic gold. Her 1989 season had an Australian Open title, a French Open defeat to 17-year-old Arantxa Sanchez Vicario and a winning run that is topped by only one woman till date. Graf scripted a breathtakingly consistent chapter with winning notes at the Wimbledon and US Open to end the year with an 86-2 win-loss record. The 1990 season began no differently as Graf lifted the Australian Open trophy and titles in Tokyo, Amelia Island and Hamburg. Her 66-win juggernaut was halted by the then 16-year-old Monica Seles at the German Open. Although not as lofty in volume, Graf had such rousing runs in the seasons prior, most notably in her Golden Slam year of 1988 (46) and 1987 (45).

Margaret Court: 57 (1972-1973)

Between 1960 and 1971, Margaret Court won a jaw-dropping 21 Grand Slam singles titles which included a Calendar Slam in 1970. The Australian did not compete in the first three Slams of 1972 due to the birth of her first child, but returned to the Tour in July as if she’d never gone away. After making the semi-finals of the US Open, Court embarked upon a 57-match unblemished run towards the end of the season that also stretched into the beginning of 1973. Part of that streak was the 1973 Australian Open title beating Evonne Goolagong 6–4, 7–5 in the final. Court’s solid show of consistency was finally ended by Billie Jean King when the American beat her in the semi-finals of the Indianapolis tournament in February. According to the WTA, Court’s record streak stood for more than a decade.

Chris Evert: 55 (1974)

Chris Evert lost in the final of the 1974 Australian Open, but the American was only warming up for the season with that. An ITF tournament in Dallas in March saw the start of 55 consecutive victories that comprised tournament triumphs at the Italian Open, Roland Garros, Eastbourne, Wimbledon and Toronto, to name a major few. She entered the US Open winning in Newport as well and looked set to swell her win count before Evonne Goolagong beat her in the semi-finals in New York. Evert, the 18-time singles Grand Slam champion, also stitched together a 41-match win run across the 1975 and 1976 seasons that was stopped by Navratilova.

Martina Hingis: 37 (1997)

What made Martina Hingis’s 37-match winning streak—which Swiatek equalled—in 1997 special was her age: 16. The Swiss sensation produced the most remarkable start to a season—the best by a woman player since 1988—by winning 37 matches on the bounce. It began with titles on the hard courts of Sydney and the Australian Open in Melbourne, the indoor carpets of Tokyo and Paris, the Miami crown that made her the youngest women’s world No 1 in history and the green clay of Hilton Head before a knee injury applied the brakes to her dominant ride. Hingis returned for the French Open and stormed into the final to carry her streak to win No 37. Expected to get the 38th, the Swiss was stunned by Croatia’s Iva Majoli, the 19-year-old who became the then lowest seed to win a Grand Slam in the Open Era, in straight sets in one of the biggest upsets.

Longest WTA win streaks

Martina Navratilova: 74 (year ended: 1984)

Steffi Graf: 66 (1990)

Martina Navratilova: 58 (1987)

Margaret Court: 57 (1972)

Chris Evert: 55 (1974)

Martina Navratilova: 54 (1984)

Steffi Graf: 46 (1988)

Steffi Graf: 45 (1987)

Chris Evert: 41 (1976)

Martina Navratilova: 41 (1982)

Martina Navratilova: 39 (1983)

Iga Swiatek: 37 (2022)

Martina Hingis: 37 (1997)

Martina Navratilova: 37 (1978)

Source: Australian Open

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