Many would argue that it is almost impossible to pick one tennis player, may it be from the past or the present, who is undoubtedly the greatest ever to play this game.
Every decade since the 1960s, after the Open Era has started (1968), had something special about it, has produced many superb athletes and great rivalries between them.
But if we were to pick the TOP 10 greatest tennis players of all times, this would be our list:
1. Roger Federer – 17 time Grand Slam winner, 7 time Wimbledon champion, 6 time ATP World Tour Finals winner. Spent 285 weeks at the top of the rankings. Has won all 4 Grand Slams. Probably the most elegant and complete tennis player that has ever played the game. Many critics were questioning his no.1 spot until he had captured the last Grand Slam that was eluding him, the Roland Garros in 2009. One can argue that he was lucky not to play Nadal in the final that year, but regardless of that what a great achievement it was! Some other great champions, like Pete Sampras and Boris Becker never managed to claim the French Open crown.
2. Pete Sampras – 14 time grand Slam winner, 7 time Wimbledon champion, pistol Pete as they called him, dominated the 90s and was the holder of numerous records (until Federer matched them and overtook him eventually). One record Federer couldn’t break for a long time was Sampras’ 286 weeks at the top of the rankings (however, this is history now as in 2012 Federer reclaimed the no.1 spot from Djokovic and got ahead of Pepe). Sampras’ serve and his lethal forehand were the most feared amongst all the other players on tour and the way he managed to keep his cool on and off the court was simply amazing.
3. Rafael Nadal – 12 time Grand Slam winner, 8 time Roland Garros champion. Most probably the best clay court player in history of tennis. In 2011, he bested Bjorn Borg’s 6 Roland Garros titles and in 2013, he captured his 8th French Open title, making him forever immortal in the city of Paris. Just like Federer, he managed to win all 4 Grand Slams and has got an astonishing head to head record against the Swiss (18-10).
4. Rod Laver - 11 time Grand Slam winner (5 in Open Era). In 1962, but more importantly in1969 he achieved a Grand Slam (he won Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon and US Open in the same year).
5. Bjorn Borg – 11 time Grand Slam winner, 6 time Roland Garros champion. He never managed to win the US Open title and never competed at the Australian Open. Many tennis experts think that Borg would have won more Slams hadn’t he retired from tennis at the age of 25.
6. John McEnroe – 7 time Grand Slam winner, he was not only famous for his outbursts, but his magic touch often left his opponents mesmerized. McEnroe played some outstanding and unforgettable matches against his biggest rival at the time, Jimmy Connors. He was also a fantastic doubles player.
7. Ivan Lendl – 8 time Grand Slam winner, held the no.1 ranking spot for 270 weeks in total (only Federer and Sampras surpassed him). Lendl never managed to win Wimbledon, despite beeing in the final twice.
8. Jimmy Connors – 8 time Grand Slam winner, won the most tournaments in history (109 titles).
9. Andre Agassi – 8 time Grand Slam winner, he is one of the 4 tennis players who won a Career Grand Slam (all 4 Grand Slam tournaments). Agassi rivalry against Sampras was just as big as the Nadal – Federer one. He was an amazing entertainer on and off the court.
10. Mats Wilander – 7 time Grand Slam winner, he followed the footsteps of Bjorn Borg and didn’t dissapoint in the end. Just like Lendl, he never managed to conquer Wimbledon.
One player that could mix up all our rankings is Novak Djokovic, who has been playing some spectacular and almost superhuman tennis for in 2011. Time will tell, but if he can keep up this pace then our TOP 10 will be changing very soon.
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