The yellow ball attracts more and more fans. From generation to generation, tennis players have brightened up the courts during the various tournaments. Even if the sport has evolved, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish a player from the lot. However, we have gone back in time to unearth the best tennis players in history. Names will surprise you. Here is our list, enjoy!
10. Ivan Lendl
The Czech has a pretty powerful serve. This is what makes him one of the most influential players of the 80s. Ivan remains a discreet and imperturbable player who exhausted his opponents with his powerful shots and his formidable physical form.
From 1981 to 1991, Lendl landed 11 Grand Slams and managed to spend more than 270 weeks at the top of the world rankings. Note that at this time, John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors dominated men’s tennis.
9. Jimmy Connors
In the mid-1970s, Jimmy Connors spread his hegemony over men’s tennis. The proof is that in 1974 he won the three Grand Slam tournaments in which he participated. Remember that it was forbidden to participate in Roland-Garros that year.
In all, he spent 160 consecutive weeks as the world number one in the ATP rankings. Only the Swiss Roger Federer will beat later. However, Jimmy still holds the record for most men’s singles titles to this day. In total, he achieved 109 tournament victories throughout his career.
8. John McEnroe
John McEnroe is known for his fiery attitude and occasional bad-player behavior. This personality makes him a player loved by some and hated by other fans. Deep down there was a very competitive athlete who hated losing and sometimes letting his emotions rule him. John remains the absolute record holder for the most singles and men’s doubles titles. He accumulated for his entire career more than 150 titles. The memory of his duels with Jimmy Connors his defeat in five sets against Bjorn Borg in the Wimbledon final in 1980 remain engraved moments.
7. Andre Agassi
André Agassi made his appearance in the world of tennis at the end of the 80s. He is the 7th player of all time in our top 10. The illustrious victory at Wimbledon in 1992 by beating Boris Becker, John McEnroe then at final Goran Ivanisevic in 5 sets is still vivid in the memories. His powerful attacks and service returns arguably make him one of the best of his generation. This is why he is seventh in our ranking.
6. Bjorn Borg
Björn Borg dominated tennis at the end of the 1970s. He delivered memorable games against his competitors of the time who were none other than John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors. Borg left his mark on Wimbledon. Indeed, on the English turf he won five titles in a row. Which naturally makes him one of the best tennis players of all on this surface.
We still remember his victory over McEnroe in the 1980 Wimbledon final. Bjorn Borg ended his career at just 26 years old. In all, he won 11 Grand Slam titles, all won at Wimbledon and Roland-Garros.
5. Rod Laver
Rod Laver made his mark on world tennis in the 1960s. The Australian has a long list of 11 Grand Slam titles. From 1964 to 1970, he was world number one for seven years in a row. He is the only tennis player to have won the Grand Slam twice. Note that without his exclusion from tournaments for several seasons in the mid-1960s, his record would be even richer.
4. Pete Sampras
Pete Sampras comes fourth in our top 10 best tennis players of all time. He won only three of the four Grand Slam tournaments in his career. Sampras is not a clay court ace, however, through his tenacity and determination, he has come to impact world tennis. He won a total of 14 titles on hard and grass in particular, his favorite surfaces. In 2002, Pete Sampras stopped his career.
3. Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic distinguished himself for the first time by beating Roger Federer in the Wimbledon final in 2014. With this victory, the Serb became the first tennis player to defeat the Swiss at the four Grand Slam tournaments. In addition, thanks to his victory at Roland-Garros in 2016, he becomes the eighth player to achieve the Grand Slam in his career. In all, Novak Djokovic has already won 20 Grand Slam titles. He is one of the best tennis players today.
It’s hard not to list Roger Federer among the greatest players of all time. The Swiss has even long been rightly considered the best tennis player in the world. And his story begins when at 19 he beat Pete Sampras in 2001 at Wimbledon. His record 20 Grand Slam titles speak for themselves. At almost 40 years old today, Roger Federer dreams of returning to the tennis courts, he who, due to injuries, is nowadays rare in tournaments. With a total of 310 weeks at the top of the ATP rankings, he set a new record. Note that between 2004 and 2008, the Swiss remained 237 consecutive weeks in first place in the world, a record that will be far from being beaten.
Clearly, Rafael Nadal is the best clay-court player of all time. He won his 14th title at Roland-Garros last May. With this new coronation, Rafa brings his total of Grand Slam titles to 22, quite simply a record. His record at the French Open in 2022 makes it hard to imagine anyone better on clay. Nadal shows both combativeness and experience today. Diminished by his incurable ankle injury, he lost his legendary power and aggressiveness that characterize him. We remember as if it were yesterday his victory against Federer at Wimbledon in 2008 in five sets which lasted almost 6 hours. It is only logical that we vote him number one in our top 10 best tennis players of all time.
Here is our ranking of the ten best tennis players in history. However, we give honorable mentions to several other tennis players who could have appeared in our top 10. This is the case of Ken Rosewall, Mats Wilander and Boris Becker. The former won 63 titles in total between 1957 and 1980 and 8 Grand Slam tournaments. The second won 7 Grand Slam tournaments between 1982 and 1989, including a Musketeers trophy at the age of 17 in 1982 (precocity record). Finally Boris Becker with 6 grand slam tournaments won, also distinguished himself as one of the best of his time.