Most influential women in sports

When it comes to women in sports who hold strong influence, we consider how they changed the game they played, how they influenced the younger generation to overall population to play sports and take lead, the number of titles they have won, how strong and potent their social and digital channels of communication are and how the leading global and national brands are behind them to build strong brand sponsorship partnerships.

Along with these, these women have been largely recognized by their own countries with national awards, influential editorial magazines globally, international associations and bodies and have various entertainment brands building docuseries to movies on their personal and professional life.

Stefanie Graf

Graf has been a global superstar in the world of Tennis who has been a true source of inspiration for millions. She started her career at the age of 13 years and is a 25 time major title champion. She won the gold medal in 1988 in Seoul Olympics.

Graf is known to win the ‘Golden Grand Slam’ – which essentially means winning all four majors and an Olympic Gold Medal in the same year. She indeed is one of the greatest women players in tennis history. Her versatile style of play with her strong and devastating inside-outside forehand has helped her gain world No. 1 ranking for 377 cumulative weeks – longest for any male or female in history.

Graf founded The Steffi Graf Youth Tennis Centre in Leipzig, Germany – her home country. She also founded and is the Chairperson of Children for Tomorrow, an NPO with the aim to implement and develop projects to support children who have been traumatized by war and other crisis situations.

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Serena Williams

A global sports star and influencer, Serene needs no introduction. Generations of people are her super fans, and everyone believes in her power and how women should lead with no hesitation. She is undoubtedly one of the greatest tennis players of all time. Her reign is omnipresent with her incredible 23- Grand Slam titles.

Williams is known to push for equal pay along with Osaka and Biles and is the queen at influencing young ones to join the sports for years now. With her strong social media presences – she holds one of the most searched names for women in sports.

Maria Sharapova

The Russian tennis player, Sharapova is another global sports sensation and still holds a prominent influential name globally. She is a former five-time world number one holding a title win in each of the four major grand slams/ major tennis championships. Her first grand slam win was in 2004 when she won the Wimbledon Championship by defeating the global star, Serena Williams.

With a whopping 28 million social media followers on her social media channels, she remains to be a voice of note and one of the strongest supporters of women in sports.

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Brittney Griner

The former Baylor star, Griner’s pro career has been on the rise and how for experts. She is one of the most transformative influences on both the game and the cultural landscape surrounding it. She is known as the most dominant and electrifying player in NCAA women’s basketball.

With her 6’8 height, she is unquestionably a shot-blocking powerhouse with 18 career dunks as a college player and has helped Baylor to a national title in 2012. She is an openly gay pro athlete and has been a strong influence on the LGBTQ+ community to lead, take control of their life and has set an example for all other gay athletes present and future.

Mary Kom

Kom is one name known to have fought all odds to become one of the most influential women in sports. She broke the glass ceiling of a cricket frenzy nation and has a movie made on her boxing and personal journey played by global star Priyanka Chopra Jonas.

The Manipur boxing champion is an Olympic bronze medallist, along with a five-time AIBA World Amateur Boxing Champion – out of which two were won post her becoming a mother and a four-time Asian Women’s champion. She has also been the first amateur boxer to be awarded the Padma Bhushan award.

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Sania Mirza

Most successful Indian female tennis player of all time, Sania Mirza is known to have defeated the top-10 women in tennis like Svetlana Kuznetsova, Martina Hingis, and Nadia Petrova in her days.

She was the WTA Newcomer of the year in 2005. She is featured by the TIME magazine for being one of the strong influencers in the Indian and global Tennis community and has been awarded the Arjuna Award, Padma Shri, Khel Ratna and Padma Bhushan as honours for her outstanding contribution to the sport of Tennis and India sports.

She and Martina Hingis collectively came back to win 2015 Wimbledon and US open and 2016 Australian Open in women’s doubles climbing up the top world ranking in tennis.

Mirza has won six grand slams in total.

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Martina Hingis

A global name, Hingis is a 25-time major champion with 114 career titles to her name. She has the youngest major title under name, winning at the age of 12 at the French open. She was the world no. in tennis rating in 1998 and the youngest ever to hold that position. The Czech-born Hingis won the Australian Open championship at the age of 16 in 1996 and has been a force to reckon with since.

Leading the Swiss Fed Cup team from 1995-1008 and then in 2015-2017, she led them to the final in 1998. She was also a member of the 2011 Hopman Cup championships team drafting the US team.

Teaming with Sania Mirza, Hingis won 3 women’s doubles championships making them both two of the strongest and most influential women in sports.

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Author: Mankiran