One of the greatest tennis doubles players, Japan’s Ai Sugiyama won 37 doubles titles, including three Grand Slams – the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open, one with Frenchwoman Julie Halard-Decugis and two with Belgium’s Kim Clijsters.
She was also a losing finalist at Wimbledon four times and the French Open twice. She reached the final of the Australian Open in 2009 but lost, so unfortunately narrowly missed completing the Career Doubles Grand Slam.
Among her other partners over the years have been Liezel Huber, Daniela Hantuchova and Katarina Srebotnik.
In her career she won six singles titles and reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open in 2000 and Wimbledon in 2004. Her highest singles world ranking was No. 8, which she reached in February 2004. In 1999 she won the US Open mixed doubles with Mahesh Bhupathi.
Ai Sugiyama held the all-time record, for both male and female players, for her 62 consecutive Grand Slam main draw appearances, until she was passed by Roger Federer in 2015. In 1999 she received the WTA Sportsmanship Award.
She retired in October 2009 and created her own tennis academy to coach talented Japanese youngsters.