Let’s say we asked you to pick the best tennis player (male) ever, who would you have picked? Would it be Rafa, the dynamic machine, or Djoker (Novak Djokovic), the one who never gives up? Oh, we can hear Roger’s fans yelling! Or maybe they are admirers of Pete Sampras and John McEnroe. Tennis courts worldwide have been graced with some incredible personalities — both classic and contemporary, calm and aggressive, unconventional and elegant. So, who do you think will make it to our list of all-time top tennis players? Read on to uncover.
So let’s take a look at Top 10 Greatest Men’s Tennis Players of All Time
10. John McEnroe
Johnny Mac, as he’s known world over, clinched 7 Grand Slam singles titles, won 77 ATP-listed singles tournaments, and took home over US$ 12 million as career prize money. Well, he was more than these stats; an ardent, fiery competitor who had several run-ins with the court officials due to his short temper. He surely gave the likes of Jimmy Connors and Bjorn Borg a run for their money. No mean feat!
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9. Andre Agassi
With his clean ground strokes and exquisite return of serve, Andre won over the tennis world as a pure champ. His 20-year career saw him win 8 Grand Slams and 60 singles career titles. The American had a superb tenacity to come back so much so that after major dip in his rankings in 1997, he went on to seal the French Open title and an Olympic gold within two years. If that’s not special, what is!
8. Roy Emerson
Though not as popular as the others on this list, this Australian athlete, who was nicknamed ‘Emmo’, prevailed victorious in 12 Grand Slams of the pre-open era. His supreme fitness and agility meant he was absolutely at comfort playing on all three surfaces. Until Sampras’s victory in Wimbledon 2000, Roy held the record of winning most Grand Slam titles. Pretty impressive, huh?
7. Jimmy Connors
Easily one of the fiercest competitors of the open era, Jimmy’s achievements feature 8 Grand Slam singles titles and 109 ATP tour titles — the most an open-era player has ever won. Though he wasn’t as tall as his rivals McEnroe and Borg, his sheer perseverance to win took him places. His long career was graced with an ‘ATP Player of the Year’ award in 1982 and then an ‘ATP Comeback Player of the Year’ in 1991.
6. Bjorn Borg
During his short 10-year career, this Swede was the king of Wimbledon in the second half of 1970s. With 11 Grand Slam titles and 64 ATP tour titles, he was the very first athlete of the open-era to go past 10 majors. Though he was known for his sweeping ground strokes, many don’t know that his real strength was his sense of composure that had helped him overcome the legendary likes of McEnroe and Connors.
5. Novak Djokovic
The Serbian, who stands tall at No.1 of the ATP rankings, is known for his grit and never-say-die attitude to the game. This has translated well into a record 83% match win rate, the best in the open era. With 12 Grand Slams singles and 66 ATP career titles to his name, he’s been hailed as a ‘legend’ by many legends. With his supreme court coverage, deep ground shots, and exquisite defense, he has so much more ahead of him.
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4. Rafael Nadal
Rafa, the ‘King of Clay’, has amassed a hefty 14 Grand Slam singles titles and 69 career titles, thanks to his outstanding behind-the-baseline play and extraordinary athleticism. This Spaniard just doesn’t give up! Despite recurring knee injuries haunting him, he made a strong comeback in 2013 sealing two majors. When he’s at his best, he is known to give nightmare for contemporary greats – Djokovic, Murray, and Federer. Simply remarkable!
3. Rod Laver
This Australian holds the record of winning more career titles (200) than anyone in the Tennis history. Add to that 11 Grand Slam titles and a World No.1 ranking held from 1964 to 1970. He could have easily won the highest number of majors had he not been excluded from Grand Slams during the pre-open era. Despite this, the above numbers are a testament to Rod’s greatness on the court.
2. Pete Sampras
This American, who had a bolt of a serve, was one of the most celebrated tennis icons of the 1990s. With 14 Grand Slam majors and 64 ATP tour titles to his name, he was the first to break Roy Emerson’s pre-open majors record of 12 titles. His heroic on-court battles with Agassi were a treat to tennis fans world over. Plus, who can ever forget his rocket-like service and volleys? Not us, at least!
1. Roger Federer
This Swiss master par excellence needs no introduction! While he may have lost a bit of ground to others lately, he is easily regarded as the greatest tennis player of all time. You simply cannot overlook his feats. He has won 17 Grand Slams, more than anyone in the sport (7 of them at Wimbledon). He’s held the World No.1 ranking for 302 weeks (237 weeks consecutively), proving his imposing dominance behind his calm demeanor on court. According to us, there is no doubt Roger is the all-time great. Period.