The Longest Open Era Tennis Winning Streaks

Spread the love

Building a lengthy winning streak at the elite level of tennis is a feat largely reserved for all-time greats.

Suzanne Lenglen won a remarkable 182 consecutive matches from 1921-1926.

That stands as the all-time record, while Bill Tilden’s formidable run of 98 straight wins in 1924-1925 tops the men’s list.

Winning streaks are arguably even more impressive in the Open Era, though, with the depth and level of competition.

Here is a look at the record singles winning streaks on the respective tours since the Open Era started in 1968:

Martina Navratilova – 74 matches (1984)

Martina Navratilova eclipsed the 56-match women’s singles record – set by her great friend and rival Chris Evert – with a superlative run 10 years after Evert’s 1974 streak.

After losing to Hana Mandlikova in the Oakland final in January, Navratilova won 13 straight tournaments – dropping just six sets.

The 10-month streak started at the U.S. Women’s Indoor Championships and featured titles on hard, clay, grass and carpet courts.

Navratilova beat Evert six times during the run – including a straight-set best-of-five win in the Virginia Slims Championships final at Madison Square Garden, New York City.

The Czechoslovak-American also beat Evert 6-3, 6-1 in the French Open final, and in a straight-set Wimbledon championship match.

She then edged past doubles partner Pam Shriver 7-5 in the third in the final in Mahwah, New Jersey.

Navratilova came through another tough test at the US Open – beating Evert 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the title match.

After collecting three more WTA titles, the World No.1 headed to the year’s final major – the Australian Open in November.

The Melbourne tournament was then played at Kooyong Stadium on grass – a surface on which Navratilova had incredible success.

Navratilova was widely expected to complete the calendar Grand Slam, but she was stopped two wins short of that feat.

Helena Sukova stunned Navratilova 1-6, 6-3, 7-5 in the semi-finals, ending her monumental winning streak at 74 matches.

Steffi Graf’s 66-match run in 1989-90 – which Monica Seles ended in Berlin – is the closest anyone has come since.

Guillermo Vilas – 46 matches (1977)

Certain sources, including the International Tennis Hall of Fame, state Bjorn Borg achieved winning streaks of 49 in 1978 and 48 in 1979-80.

However, both sequences featured walkovers given by Borg and wins at events not listed by the ATP.

The ATP recognise Guillermo Vilas’ 46-match run as the official men’s Open Era record.

After winning the 1977 French Open, Vilas lost to Billy Martin in the third round of Wimbledon.

Following that defeat, he won seven tournaments and lost only 16 sets in a brilliant streak played entirely on clay.

The stretch started in July in Kitzbuhel, where Vilas saw off Jan Kodes in a five-set final.

Vilas then won events in Washington, Louisville, South Orange and Columbus prior to the US Open – which was played on Har-Tru green clay courts at Forest Hills for the final time.

There, the Argentine recovered from a set down to overcome Jimmy Connors in the final for his second Grand Slam title.

Vilas then won two four-set singles rubbers as Argentina lost to Australia in the Davis Cup semi-finals.

After Vilas added a title in Paris, his run came to a controversial end in the Aix en Provence final.

Trailing Ilie Nastase by two sets to love, Vilas retired due to the Romanian’s use of a double-strung ‘spaghetti’ racquet.

The racquet was banned by the ITF the next week as it created a large amount of spin and unpredictable bounces.

Despite this, Vilas had surpassed Connors’ record of 36 consecutive wins in 1975.

Ivan Lendl (44 matches in 1981-82) and Novak Djokovic (43 matches in 2010-11) have since come tantalisingly close to matching Vilas’ winning streak.

Main Photo: