The following is a list of all the women tennis players who have won career Grand Slams since the Open Era began in 1968. Prior to the Open Era, only amateurs could play in the Grand Slam tennis events.
As you will see, the list is not terribly long though it is much longer than the men's list, as it's very difficult to win all four majors in tennis because of the different surfaces the matches are played on. I've been following tennis for over four decades and have seen almost all of these players compete at all of the Grand Slam events.
Winning all four majors requires players to be good at playing on clay (French Open), grass (Wimbledon), and hard-court (Australian Open and U.S. Open) surfaces. If you've never played on clay or grass, the ball definitely bounces differently than it does on a hard-court surface. The speed of the ball is also different on the varying surfaces.
A great player and a true champion can overcome all obstacles and win on each surface. I'm also listing great women players who failed to win on a certain surface.
Women tennis players who have won career Grand Slams
1. Margaret Court (27 years old when she completed career Grand Slam in Open Era)
Australian Margaret Court was the first women to complete a career Grand Slam during the Open Era. Court was 27 years old when she won Wimbledon in 1970 to complete the career Grand Slam in the Open Era.
Margaret Court had previously won the Australian Open, French Open, and U.S. Open in 1969. In 1970, Margaret Court won a true Grand Slam by winning all four majors in the same calendar year.
Prior to the Open Era, Margaret Court won 13 Grand Slam singles titles, and completed a career Grand Slam in 1963 (just days before turning 21) when she won Wimbledon for the first time. For her career, Margaret Court won 24 Grand Slam singles titles (13 before the Open Era and 11 after).
Incredibly, Margaret Court also won 64 total Grand Slam titles (including doubles and mixed doubles) counting both before and after the Open Era.
2. Billie Jean King (28 years old)
Billie Jean King was 28 years old when she won the French Open for the first and only time in 1972, which gave her a career Grand Slam in the Open Era. Billie Jean had previously won the Australian Open (1968), Wimbledon (1968), and the U.S. Open (1971) during the Open Era.
For her career, Billie Jean King won 13 total Grand Slam singles titles, with 10 of them coming during the Open Era. Billie Jean also won 39 total Grand Slam titles (13 before the Open Era, and 26 after).
3. Chris Evert (28 years old)
Chris Evert was also 28 years old (just days shy of 29) when she won the Australian Open for the first time in 1982 giving her a career Grand Slam. Chrissy had previously won the French Open and Wimbledon for the first time in 1974, and the U.S. Open in 1975.
In 1974, Chris Evert did play in the Australian Open for the first time and she made the final where she lost to Evonne Goolagong. Chris Evert then did not play the Australian Open again until 1981. The Australian Open was not that big a deal back then, like it is now, and many top players would often skip that tournament.
For her career, Chris Evert won 18 Grand Slam singles titles, and 26 overall Grand Slam titles. Chrissy would have won many more had she played the Australian Open regularly during her prime.
4. Martina Navratilova (26 years old)
Martina Navratilova was 26 years old when she won the U.S. Open for the first time 1983, giving her a career Grand Slam. Martina had previously won Wimbledon for the first time in 1978, the Australian Open in 1981 and the French Open in 1982.
For her career, Martina Navratilova won 18 Grand Slam singles titles. Martina also won 31 Grand Slam doubles titles, and 10 mixed doubles titles, for a career total of 59.
5. Steffi Graf (19 years old)
German Steffi Graf was just 19 years old when she won the U.S. Open for the first time in 1988, giving her a career Grand Slam. Steffi had previously won the French Open in 1987, and the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 1988.
During the calendar year 1988, Steffi Graf won all four majors in tennis for a true Grand Slam. She became just the second woman in the Open Era to accomplish the feat.
For her career, Steffi Graf won 22 Grand Slam singles titles, the most by any player (male of female) since the Open Era began in 1968. Also in 1988, Steffi Graf won the Olympic gold medal in tennis in Seoul, giving her the so-called Golden Slam.
6. Serena Williams (21 years old)
Serena Williams was 21 years old when she won the Australian Open for the first time in 2003, giving her a career Grand Slam. Serena had previously won the U. S. Open for the first time in 1999, and the French Open and Wimbledon in 2002.
So far in her career, Serena Williams has won 18 Grand Slam singles titles. Serena has also won 13 mixed doubles Grand Slam titles and two mixed doubles titles for 33 total Grand Slam titles.
7. Maria Sharapova (25 years old)
Russian Maria Sharapova was 25 years old when she won the French Open for the first time in 2012 which gave her a career Grand Slam. Maria had previously won Wimbledon for the first time in 2004, the U. S. Open in 2006, and the Australian Open in 2008.
So far in her career, Maria Sharapova has won five Grand Slam singles titles. I've always been a huge Maria Sharapova fan. Despite having won the fewest Grand Slam titles of all the women on this list, Maria Sharapova is probably the biggest star of all of them. With certainty, she is the highest paid.
Women tennis players who missed career Grand Slams by one tournament
To date, five women tennis players (all retired) won three of the four majors, just missing a career Grand Slam due to the failure to win one tournament.
Evonne Goolagong Cawley never won a U.S. Open. Evonne made the finals at the U.S. Open for four consecutive years from 1973-1976, and lost all four times (three times consecutively to Chris Evert from 1974-76).
Martina Hingis and Lindsay Davenport failed to win the French Open on its clay surface. Justine Henin and Monica Seles failed to win Wimbledon. In fairness, Monica Seles would probably have won Wimbledon if not for the unfortunate stabbing incident which derailed her career.