The Best Tennis Players of all Time


Posted: April 15, 2020

Updated: April 15, 2020

  • Open Era started in 1968 with players getting professional
  • John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors and Bjorn Borg fought big battles
  • Roger Federer has the most Grand Slam titles with 20

After re-watching some of the greatest tennis finals of recent years, it has become more obvious to me that today we’re very lucky to watch players like Federer, Nadal and Djokovic. But there were great players before their trio as well, who also impressed fans and experts. Let’s see the best tennis players of all time. 

The Open Era of men’s tennis started in 1968 just like its female version. Of course, men’s tennis was already very popular at that time. For example, the Davis Cup has been held since 1900. But the rise of the sport’s popularity meant that a new, professional version was born, where all players could win money with their victories and make a living from tennis. In this era, we could see the rise of some players to heights and popularity which were unimaginable before.

The first superstars in the best tennis players of all time

Of course, American players belong to the best tennis players of all time, from John McEnroe to Andre Agassi. They all became world-famous even though not everyone loved them after their behavior including outbursts and arguments with the umpires.  But these were all parts of their play, making the sport even more entertaining. 

best tennis players of all time
The best of the bests.

John McEnroe was one of the earliest top players, winning 7 Grand Slam titles during his career. He still has the highest number of combined wins with 77 singles and 78 doubles titles in the Open Era. McEnroe was the best on hard-courts and was known for most of his shot-making skills. He played great battles with another American, Jimmy Connors, online sportsbooks in the US still remember their games. 

Jimmy Connors dominated the sport in the 1970s, he was world No1 for 160 consecutive weeks between 1974 and 1977. He also holds a record, the one for the most singles wins with 109 including 8 Grand Slam victories. Connors had a long and successful career, as he only retired in 1996, at the age of 43. 

Other great American players from newer eras

Andre Agassi appeared first on a tennis court at the end of the 1980s with a very unique appearance. Long hair, colorful shirts, and rock star attitude. Agassi definitely brought some fresh air to the world of tennis. At the same time he was a great player as well, he won eight Grand Slam titles. He also managed to win all four GS plus the Olympic Games in 1996. In the 2000s he seemed to become more serious, but still played great tennis until his retirement in 2006. Agassi married one of the best women tennis players, Steffi Graf in 2001. 

Around the same time as Agassi, another American tennis player emerged in the 1990s, Pete Sampras. He was world No1 between 1993 and 1998, winning 14 Grand Slam titles. 7 in Wimbledon but none in the French Open. He was superior on hard-courts, but didn’t play well on clay. Sampras still belongs to the best tennis players of all time after dominating it for so many years, playing great matches against Agassi. His last one was against him as well, when he won the US Open in 2002 for the fifth time. 

Great tennis players from other countries

There was another long-haired top tennis player in history, Bjorn Borg from Sweden. Borg played big battles against the US stars, McEnroe and Connors. But he was totally different to them, a cool, always calm player. He reached his successes in Wimbledon and in the French Open, winning eleven GS titles in total. Borg turned professional at a very young age, when he was only 17, which might be the reason for his early retirement 10 years later, in 1983. 

best tennis players of all time
Not only the US has great players.

The Czechoslovakian Ivan Lendl was a similarly quiet character, with great victories as well. He was leading the world ranking for 270 weeks and won 94 singles titles including 8 Grand Slam titles. He managed to win everywhere except in Wimbledon. Lendl was the first player who took care of his condition by paying attention to his diet and doing exercises every day. Now he works as a coach, Lend helped Andy Murray to win his first Grand Slam titles and to reach the world No1 ranking. Murray will take part in a virtual Madrid Open later this month, odds will be available for these games as well on Unibet. 

Today’s top players

Considered as the best tennis player of all time, Roger Federer emerged first from today’s top three players, at the end of the 1990s. He has won 20 Grand Slam titles, which is the most number of victories in the men’s competition, including a record 8 wins in Wimbledon. He is 38 years old now, but still keeps on playing in top form. His last win is from 2018, from the Australian Open. But he was in the final of last season’s Wimbledon, where he played a marathon game against Novak Djokovic.  It’s hard to mention all of his wins, from winning the Olympic Games in 2008 in doubles to leading the world ranking for 310 weeks. But it’s not just his results, also his style which makes him the best tennis player for many people. 

One of Federer’s biggest rivals is Rafael Nadal, who has a similarly successful career. Nadal won 19 Grand Slam titles so far. He is five years younger than the Swiss, so he might have a chance to surpass him. But while 12 victories from them are from the French Open, Federer’s record is more equally distributed between the four major tournaments. Still the Spanish player is not only the ‘King of Clay’ as his fans call him. It was proved in his latest victory in the 2019 US Open, where he also won in a five-set game. Nadal is a big favorite to win in the postponed French Open again with the odds of 2.05 at Unibet Sportsbook.

The current world No1

The giant Serbian player, Novak Djokovic is leading the world ranking and winning Grand Slams again after his comeback from injuries and missing almost a year. He has won 17 Grand Slam titles so far and he is only the third player to hold all four GS titles in the same year. Djokovic also helped the Serbian team to win the Davis Cup in 2010, which they will try to repeat this year as well. They are in the favorites with the odds of 5.50. Online gambling sites in the US are also predicting Djoko’s win in the US open, where he is likely to meet all of his biggest rivals. At the age of 33, he still has many years in front of him, and the chance to become the best tennis player of all time. 

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