1. Venus winning Wimbledon (showed that no one is done in that game!)
2. The Serena Slam (with finals against Vee each time)
3. Maria winning Wimby (she started the young and talented trend, brought attention to the tour)
As for Martina H, i'll have to wait few more months to say how good it was.
The first is arguably Capriati winning her first slam in Australia 2001, defeating Hingis in convincing fashion in the final. Following it up with 2 more slam wins within a year. I think this story has probably been the best "feel good" story for tennis this century.
-Jennifer Capriati at last fullfills her potential
-Equal prize money at the Australian and US Opens.
-The success of the Williams sisters, hopefully inspiring more African-American ladies (and guys) to take up the game.
-The Russian invasion.
-Hingis makes a successful comeback and adds some much needed variety to the current game.
-Justine Henin proves that even in the tennis of the 21st century little girls can make it big.
1. The Williams Sisters everything that they both bring to the game.
2. Hingis's game and everything she brought to the game.
3. Anna Kournikova. The player who never won a title but is so popular. NOT A BEST thing but the turn of the century tennis highlite.
No other player's stories were or are at the moment bigger than anything of these three above. I am not hatin on your favorites but it is just true. Also everything about the three above do not happen to be ALL good. WHICH is why they are all the BEST. To be HUGE in this century you have to have positive stories and negative stories.
A close 4th is Jennifer Capriati. She doesn't beat out the three but she is a close 4th. If she got arrested in the year 2000 then I would say she does but she didn't.
All things that boosted the popularity of the game and drew in more fans, making it seem exciting, dramatic, athletic.... all the things that are GREAT about women's tennis.
#1. VENUS & SERENA WILLIAMS - love 'em or hate 'em they are household names more than ANYONE else you can think of this century. 12 Grand Slam Singles Titles, one Career Slam in Singles and THE Grand Slam in Doubles.
#2. THE RUSSIAN INVASION - Anastasia, Elena, Svetlana to name a few and of course..... Maria Sharapova is the new 'it' girl of tennis. Whether she's a one slam wonder or she becomes an all time great the fact is - she wins titles and people love her (and hate her... a sign of greatness)
#3. THE BELGIAN BABES - Justine and Kim provided the power and drama we were desperate for while the Williams were out and the new breed of Russians were just starting to rise in the ranks.
When you put these three together, the Top 20 gets very crowded. If you include the rest of the big babes, Lindsay, Mary - you name it.... you have a lot of very satisfied WTA fans.
Russian invation : 3 Slams and Fed Cup, the flag flew so high. Especially Fed Cup, cos they played for the pride of their nation.
Serena Slam : impressive, althought she beated my fave.
Hingis's comeback : good job Martina.