Considering the number of great players it is literally impossible to say who is the greatest of all time. But like every sport there are a select few who are the best of the best. Like a pantheon of tennis gods, here is a list of the top 10 greatest tennis players of all time.
The 36-year-old Spaniard is undoubtedly one of the most influential and greatest tennis players of all time. Having won 22 Grand Slams, he has a total of 103 career titles: 92 singles titles and 11 doubles. He has been ranked a career-high world no. 1 by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) for 209 weeks. Being part of the Big Three he has dominated men’s tennis along with Roger Federer and Novack Djokovic for a good part of the last decade. Winning 63 singles titles on clay courts Rafael has also been known as “The King of Clay” and is regarded as the greatest clay-court player ever.
The names of Nadal or Djokovic might sound unfamiliar to the ears outside the tennis fraternity. But Roger Federer is a name that even the most ignorant of individuals associated with tennis. Holding the world no. 1 spot for 237 straight weeks from 2004 to 2008, Federer set a record that might never be broken. His 24-year career has allowed him to collect a total of 111 titles: 103 in singles and 8 in doubles. Roger Federer was unquestionably the greatest player of all time as of 2018 after winning the 2018 Australian Open following his spectacular 2017 campaign in which he won Wimbledon and the Australian Open. Yet, given Nadal and Djokovic have continued to win Grand Slams, it might be impossible to name a GOAT until all three players have completed their careers. Read More: 10 Best Tennis Umpires In The World
Certainly, the most technically qualified and a player who lives up to their legacy. Still holding the world no. 1 spot, he’s been on top for a total of 376 weeks. At 35 years old he can undoubtedly win more Grand Slam championships in the future. Tied with Nadal for the most Grand Slam titles with 22 each, he has a total of 94 titles: 93 in singles and 1 in doubles, and a bronze medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. It was evident that Novak Djokovic was one of the finest players in the world in 2021 after his dominant start to the season, including victories at the Australian Open, French Open, and Wimbledon.
Holding the top spot in the global rankings for seven consecutive years (1964–1970), Laver has won a total of 200 career championships, more than any other player in tennis history. Laver is the only player in tennis history to complete a Grand Slam twice, once as an amateur in 1962 and as a professional in 1969. Who knows how many titles Laver would have obtained had he not been barred from Grand Slam competition for five years in the middle of the 1960s. It was known as the pre-open era of the Grand Slam where only amateurs were allowed to participate. The “open era” started in 1968 and professionals were officially allowed to participate in the competitions.The Top 10 Rules of Tennis Everyone Must Know.
She has been ranked world no. 1 in singles by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) for 319 weeks, including a joint-record 186 straight weeks. And having won the year-end No. 1 spot five times, Williams is undoubtedly considered to be one of the greatest players ever. A career spanning over three decades, she has accumulated a total of 96 titles: 73 singles titles and 23 doubles, many of which came from her partnership with her sister Venus Williams. Serena is also the only player to have a Career Golden Slam in both singles and doubles.
Ranked world no. 1, the blonde Swede was known for his impressive ground game. Dominating the tennis game in the 1970s he was ranked world no. 1 by the ATP in 1977. He was also the first player to win 11 Grand Slam singles titles: six at French Open and five at Wimbledon. Throughout his extensive career, he gathered a total of 70 titles: 66 singles titles and 4 doubles. His rivalry with John McEnroe is considered to be the greatest in sporting history and was also the subject of a biographical film called Borg vs McEnroe starring Shea LeBeouf and Stellan Skarsgard.
Ranked world no. 1 for 160 consecutive weeks, a then-record, Connors’ extensive career spanning almost three decades allowed him to achieve a staggering 125 titles: 109 singles titles and 16 doubles. Which also makes him the Open Era men’s singles record holder for the most titles. He also holds the Open Era men’s singles record for the most matches played and almost won. He dominated the 1970s and was challenged by his contemporary and rival Bjorn Borg. In 1974 he also became the second Open Era player to win three major titles in a calendar but was not allowed to continue onto the fourth, the French Open. Read More: Top 10 Tennis Tournaments in the World
Agassi is the fifth player and the second of five men to complete a career Grand Slam in the Open Era. He is also the only player to win a lifetime Super Slam and the first of two men to complete the career Golden Slam (career Grand Slam and Olympic gold medal) (career Grand Slam, plus the Olympic gold medal and year-end championships). Agassi is the most recent American to win the French Open (in 1999) and the Australian Open. He was the first guy to win all four singles majors on three distinct playing surfaces (hard, clay, and grass) (in 2003).
ATP ranked him world no. 1 for 41 weeks, and he ended the year as the top player in 2016. In addition to making 11 major finals, Murray has won three Grand Slam singles championships—two at Wimbledon and one at the US Open. From July 2008 through October 2017, Murray spent all but one month in the top 10, and in eight of the nine year-end rankings during that time, he never fell below No. 4. Murray has won 14 Masters 1000 tournaments in addition to his 46 ATP singles victories. He was also part of the Big Four along with Nadal, Federer, and Djokovic.
The only male tennis player in history, McEnroe, is the current world No. 1 in both singles and doubles. The only other male player to ever reach No. 1 in both was Stefan Edberg, albeit at different times. The most men’s combined total of championships won during the Open Era belongs to McEnroe, who concluded his career with 77 singles victories on the ATP Tour and 78 doubles titles. In both the men’s singles and men’s doubles divisions, he is the only male player to have amassed more than 70 titles.