1. Margaret Smith Court
The namesake of Melbourne Park's third largest arena has won the singles title four times in the Open era alone, and a total of 11 times in the tournament's history. Playing in an era when tweeds, flannels and plaids were du jour, Margaret Smith Court honoured the traditions of the tennis fraternity by sticking with block colours. But that button-up cut was so on trend given women’s fashion in the '70s was becoming more relaxed and androgynous.
She is photographed above (from left to right) at a Wimbledon match (undated), at the Battle of the Sexes, California in 1973, and recently, at an event in Melbourne in 2015.
2. Virginia Wade
Virginia Wade is the only British woman to successfully take home the singles title during the Open era (as of this writing). In the fashion stakes, Wade was a master of detail: a white ribbon bowed over an empire waist dress, an embroidered strip inspired by the arts and crafts movement. What style! She is photographed above (from left to right) at the Wimbledon semi-final in 1976 and on a clay court in 1970.
3. Evonne Goolagong Cawley
Australia's Evonne Goolagong Cawley won her first Australian Open singles in 1974 after contesting in the final for the three years prior. She went on to win it another three times after that. Evonne Goolagong Cawley was a trailblazer. She rose to the top of the tennis world and then in retirement dedicated her time and energy to helping the next generation of players. For her service she was named Australian on the Year and awarded an MBE. On the style front, she was almost unrivalled: scalloped hems, sailor neckline, halter-neck, sleeveless dresses, and classic white with a hint of colour. And let’s not forget that neck scarf. That’s style for you.
Cawley is photographed above at the Wimbledon in January 1976 (left) and June 1976 (right).
4. Kerry Melville Reid
The third Aussie to win Melbourne's Grand Slam is Kerry Melville, taking the title from Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1977. Like others playing at the top level of women’s tennis in the ‘70s, Melville embraced the fashion of the day opting for a sleeveless tennis dress with a pleated hem. But style is in the detail and Melville’s choice of ruffled undershorts was inspired.
She is photographed above (left to right) at Wimbledon in 1971 and during her introduction to the Tennis Hall of Fame at Melbourne Park in 2014.
5. Chris O'Neil
Chris O'Neil is the most recent Australian to grab the Australian Open women's singles title. Though by recent, we mean 1978. She was also the first unseeded woman to win it, after defeating Betsy Nagelsen in two sets.
When you find a style that works, own it. And that’s what Chris O’Neil did with the wrap skirt. Elegant and functional, what more can you ask for?
She is photographed above (from left to right) at Roland Garros in 1979 and in Melbourne with the 2007 winner's trophy.
6. Barbara Jordan
7. Hana Mandlíková
Hana Mandlíková from Czechoslovakia won the singles title in 1980, and again seven years later. By the ‘80s colour and pattern was creeping onto the court at the Australian Open. So too were the accessories, and if anyone deserves a standing O for style it is Mandlíková for her badass bandana look.
She is photographed above (left to right) at the 1985 US Open and the 1983 French Open.
8. Martina Navratilova
Martina Navratilova contested in the singles finals six times, the first under the flag of Czechoslovakia. She won the title three times. Navratilova dominated the game of tennis for decades and typically hit the court in outfits that suited her style of play: no nonsense. But then she started to wear shorts and the world stopped on its axis. Yes Martina, yes!
She is photographed above (left to right) at the US Open in 1981, at Wimbledon also in 1979 (estimated), and at an IPTL promotional match in India in 2015.
9. Chris Evert
At the age of 16, Chris Evert made her Grand Slam debut. She may have looked cute with ribbons in her hair, but Evert went on to be world number one for five consecutive years from 1974-1978, and again from 1980-1981. Of her 18 singles grand slam titles, she won two in Australia.
She is photographed above (left to right) at the US Open in 1983 and at the same major in 1971.
10. Steffi Graf
Steffi Graf is widely regarded as the greatest female tennis player of all time. She held the World No.1 position for a record total of 377 weeks and won 22 Grand Slam titles, four of which were in Australia. Graf glided through the tumultuous decades of the ‘80s and ‘90s without putting a fashionable foot wrong. No big hair and bad headbands (we’re looking at you Agassi), no scrunchies or pastel.
She is photographed above (from left to right) at the 1989 Australian Open, her last Australian Open in 1999, and with husband Andre Agassi at a charity event in Las Vegas in 2015.
11. Monica Seles
Monica Seles won the Australian Open title four times, under the Yugoslavian flag for three consecutive years, and as an American for the fourth. Monica Seles leaped into the ‘90s with aplomb: pastels, patterns, scrunchies, houndstooth!
She is photographed above (left to right) at the 1991 and the 1996 Australian Open.
12. Mary Pierce
Axl Rose tried it, Mary Pierce owned it: we love the chunky bandana! Canadian-born French champion Mary Pierce won the women's singles once in 1995. She is photographed above at the 1995 Australian Open and at a WTA Finals gala in Singapore in 2015.
13. Martina Hingis
Martina Hingis reached the women's singles final for six consecutive years and won in three of them. She is currently ranked World No.1 in women's doubles. Hingis vertically grew up on the court in front of the cameras, and she jumped from one style to the next decade by decade: pleated skirts, tube skirts, dresses, leggings (huh?), patterns, classic white. But she made a statement when she started to wear black, one of the few top tier players to do so.She is photographed above (left to right) at Wimbledon in 1993, Australian Open in 2007, and also at the Australian Open in 2016.
14. Lindsay Davenport
Lindsay Davenport won in Australia in 2000, taking the crown from title defender Martina Hingis. At 6ft 2" Davenport was imposing on court, and she typically went for a classic look: tube skirt and T-shirt. Simple. Let's get on with the tennis.
She is photographed above (left to right) at the Australian Open in 2000 and 2008.
15. Jennifer Capriati
Jennifer Capriati succeeded in preventing Martina Hingis from winning another singles title in Melbourne after she dominated their 2001 and 2002 matches. She is photographed above (left to right) as a young competitor in 1990 and at the Australian Open final in 2002.
16. Justine Henin
17. Amélie Mauresmo
Andy Murray's current coach was a superstar in her own right. Amelie Mauresmo made it to the singles final twice at the Australian Open, first against Martina Hingis, and then against Justine Henin, which she won after Henin retired in the second set. Mauresmo was an awesome player to watch; strong, focused and completely cool. I mean come on, she wore sunglasses on court. Love it.
She is photographed above (left to right) at Roland Garros in 1996 and at the Australian Open final in 2006.
18. Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova began her WTA career in 2001 and currently sits at No.5 in the world rankings. When Sharapova isn’t playing on court, she’s often modelling for luxury fashion and lifestyle brands. She’s into fashion, and for better or worse it shows on court. Remember the blue and teal organza shift dress? Hmm.
She is photographed above (left to right) at the 2008, 2010, and 2016 Australian Open
19. Kim Clijsters
20. Victoria Azarenka
Victoria Azarenka reached the final of the Australian Open twice in 2012 and 2013, and in both times successfully took home the trophy. She is photographed above (left to right) as a young athlete competing for the Australian Open junior title in 2005 and right after she won in Melbourne in 2012.
21. Li Na
Before announcing her retirement in 2014, Li Na took the singles title in Melbourne. It was her last grand slam win. She is photographed above (left to right) at the 2005 and 2014 Australian Open.
22. And Serena Williams
The current reigning champion at the Australian Open and the No.1 WTA player in the world has had a lengthy and successful run in Melbourne. She won her first Australian Open singles title in 2003, against her sister, Venus. She went on to win it another five times.
On the fashion front, there's too much to cover. At a very young age Williams screwed up the tennis style book and said "that's not for me". Year after year she has broken the mould bringing new cuts, colours and looks onto the most prestigious tennis courts in the world. For that, we love you Serena.
She is photographed above (left to right) as a young athlete in 1992, at the 2005 Australian Open final, and in Melbourne in 2016.
This post was partially curated by Getty Senior Research Editor (Fashion) Rebecca Hamilton.