A sport followed by over 1 billion fans globally, tennis in the open era has transcended from just another sports or recreational activity to fiercely contested matches, which attracts tremendous numbers of viewers, ultimately resulting in a large sum of revenue being generated. The attention tennis has continued to receive can not be attributed to the dynamics of tennis alone, but to the emergence of key players who have dominated the tennis scene and entertained fans with their unique antics.
Throughout history, several tennis players have gained the admiration of fans, thanks to their adept skills. But narrowing these tennis greats to top-10 can be a difficult task. Considering the influence they wielded during the summit of their careers and essentially, the number of Grand Slam titles won, we bring to you an updated list of the Top-10 Greatest Tennis Male Players Of All-Time.
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10. Ken Rosewall
Fast and agile, Ken was nothing short of a phenomenal tennis player who played so well that his relevance during the pre-open era transcended into the post open era. His relevance during the pre-open era was solidified after he won 15 Pro Slam titles. He cemented his title as one of the best in tennis, by winning 8 Grand Slam titles, which includes 4 Australian Opens, 2 French Opens and 2 US Opens. On four occasions, he emerged a finalist at the Wimbledon. He won the Davis cup and a total of 133 titles, throughout his career.
9. John McEnroe
Whether he was loved or hated by tennis fans, is a question for the fans, but fans would agree that John McEnroe was a great player. Though he had a knack for confronting match officials and umpires, that was no obstruction to his reign as one of tennis greatest. He won 7 Grand Slam titles, 3 Wimbledons and 4 US Opens. He emerged a finalist in the French Open once and a semi-finalist in the Australian Open. He won the Davis Cup as well as the WCT Finals and the ATP Finals. In total, John McEnroe won 77 titles.
8. Jimmy Connors
Between 1974-1977, Jimmy Connors was top of the ATP rankings for 160 successive weeks and a total of 268 weeks. His incredible performances resulted into 8 Grand Slam Singles win, 1 Australian Open, 2 Wimbledons and 5 US Opens and 2 Grand Slam Doubles titles, 1 Wimbledon and 1 US Open. He also won the Davis Cup, the Tour Finals and WCT Finals. He won 109 singles titles, the most in the open era.
7. Ivan Lendl
His strokes were powerful, his conditioning could be said to be perfect and his topspin forehand skill was incredibly instrumental in defeating opponents. This paid off for Lendl who won 8 Grand Slam singles, 2 Australian Opens, 3 French Opens and 3 US Opens. He won the Tour Finals, five times, 2 WCT Finals and a Davis Cup. He won a total of 94 singles titles and 6 doubles in his career. One of his memorable achievements, a record of 270 weeks he spent in the number 1 spot in the ATP rankings.
6. Bjorn Borg
From 1977 to 1980, Bjorn Borg was undoubtedly the top player in tennis. After winning 11 Grand Slam singles titles, Bjorn Borg became the first player in the Open era to achieve the feat. Bjorn Borg won 6 French Opens and 5 Wimbledon titles. Though he reached the US Open final, four times, Bjorn Borg failed to secure a win. He won the Davis Cup, the Tour Finals and the WCT Finals. Bjorn Borg is one of the few players in tennis who have won 3 Grand Slam singles without losing a set. In all, he won 64 singles titles in his career.
5. Pete Sampras
“Pistol Pete” as Pete Sampras was nicknamed, enthralled fans with a powerful serve which he did with a single backhand. Pete Sampras ended his career in styles after winning the 2002 US Open. Pete Sampras won a total of 14 Grand Slam singles titles, 2 Australian Opens, 7 Wimbledons and 5 US Opens. On 5 occasions, Pete Sampras won the Tour Finals and the Grand Slam Cup and Davis Cup, twice. In total, Pete Sampras won a total of 64 singles titles.
4. Rod Laver
The man dubbed the Rocket was invincible at the commencement of the Open era, but even before the Open era, began in 1968, Rod Laver had already become a household name in the world of tennis. From 1964 – 1970, Rod Laver held the number 1 spot in the world rankings. During those years, Laver won 11 Grand Slam singles events, 3 Australian Opens, 2 French Opens and 4 Wimbledon titles.
Before the Open era began, he won 3 US Pro, 4 Wembley Pro and 1 French Pro. In the Grand Slam Doubles, he won the Australian Open, the French Open and the Wimbledon. Aside from this, Laver won the Davis Cup, 5 times and the Grand Slam Mixed Doubles in the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon. His 200 singles titles are the most in the history of tennis.
3. Novak Djokovic
The name Novak Djokovic is prominent in modern-day tennis, but his emergence as one of the greatest in tennis comes as no surprise to tennis fans. The Serb man has won several titles in recent years that his name is synonymous to success in tennis. He has won 16 Grand Slam singles, 6 Australian Opens, 1 French Opens, 5 Wimbledons and 3 US Opens. His wins include the Tour Finals which he has won 5 times and the Davis Cup. He has won 77 singles titles, the 5th highest in the open era and is currently ranked the 2nd player in the latest round of the ATP World rankings released in November 2019.
2. Rafael Nadal
Since Rafael Nadal turned Pro in 2001, he has progressed to become one of the most proficient and prolific tennis players on the planet. The Spaniard who is nicknamed “King of Clay” as a result of his exceptional performance on clay, has won 19 Grand Slam Singles in his career, 1 Australian Opens, 12 French Opens, 2 Wimbledons and 4 US Opens. He has won the Davis Cup and won Gold in the singles at 2008 Beijing Olympics and in the Doubles at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics Games in 2016.
Nadal has won about $115 million in prize money so far in his career. He has won 84 singles titles in his career, which is the 4th highest in the open era. He is currently ranked no. 1 in the world in the ATP rankings released in November 2019.
1. Roger Federer
The best in the game, Roger Federer is the man who has always been at summit despite stiff competition from Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. The Swiss man has spent 310 weeks in the number one spot in the ATL rankings, and 237 of those weeks were consecutive. He has also finished in the number one spot at the end of the year five times. Since he turned Pro in 1998, Federer has won 20 Grand Slam Singles, 6 Australian Opens, 1 French Opens, 8 Wimbledons and 4 US Opens. He has won the Tour Finals, 6 times and won Gold at the Doubles event at the Bejing 2008 Olympics and Silver at the singles event at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016.
Federer has won $128 million in prize money since he turned Pro. He has won 103 singles events in his career, the 2nd highest in the Open era. Federer is currently ranked 3rd in the World in the latest round of the ATP rankings released in November 2019.
There you have it—Our Top-10 Greatest Tennis Players Of All-Time as updated in 2020. What do you think? Which of the tennis greats did you expect would make this list? Please share with us in the comment section below.