The Best Tennis Players of All Time

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No matter your criteria – the number of titles won, expert opinions, or fan support – there are various ways of ranking the greatest tennis players of all time.

Federer stands out as an unparalleled icon in tennis, with 20 grand slam titles to his name. He excels in speed, precision, and power on all surfaces he plays on.

1. Roger Federer

Roger Federer may have lost to Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon, but no one can dispute that he remains one of the greatest tennis players ever. This Swiss maestro is an impressive tennis player with record grand slam wins to his name – his forehand is one of the prettiest shots in the game, and his serve and volley skills are top-notch.

Federer has an uncommon combination of skill and style, enabling him to excel under any playing condition. He is unrivaled on the court from baseline play, attacking at the net, dropping shots, and more. Most great tennis players have some weakness or flaw; Federer is one of a select few capable of dominating in all aspects.

Martina Hingis stands as an outstanding player of all time. Often overlooked as Serena Williams’ rival in playing ability, Martina won two Golden Slam calendar tournaments and held the record for most weeks at number one. A fantastic all-around player who could excel on any surface, she was an excellent rival to Roger Federer during her prime. Additionally, she is well-known as a philanthropist with an endearing personality.

2. Rafael Nadal

No player in history has won as many Grand Slam titles as Rafael Nadal has since he first turned pro at age 15. Furthermore, only Andre Agassi and Rafael have achieved the unmatched feat of winning all four major tournaments plus an Olympic gold medal – something only three other men (Agassi being the other one) have accomplished so far.

Nadal holds 22 Grand Slam titles, placing him third behind Federer and Djokovic. Nicknamed the “King of Clay,” no player has ever been more dominant on that surface than Nadal.

Nadal was nearly unstoppable during his prime, even beating former world No. 2 Andy Roddick in a Davis Cup final and helping Spain claim victory.

He was best known for his aggressive, passionate play and fiery persona on the court, earning many fans the belief that he was one of the greatest players ever due to his fierce and intense nature in every match he participated in.

3. Martina Hingis

Hingis made her mark during an era of scandal in women’s tennis, becoming one of its brightest stars. A powerful dynamo who dominated with speed and finesse, Hingis proved herself a formidable matchup for top hitters while her punishing groundstrokes gave her an edge against her competition.

Hingis was known for her charm both on and off the court. Her sarcastic sense of humor and outgoing personality helped make her one of the most beloved figures in tennis history, yet at times; she could come off as being somewhat arrogant; at one point in 1999 at the Australian Open, she made some controversial remarks against openly gay opponent Amelie Mauresmo causing widespread condemnation from her fans and opponents alike.

Countless excellent tennis players could be added to this list; these are only some of the finest. From Rod Laver and Margaret Court in earlier days to Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic today, there has been no lack of talent on tennis courts, making the sport richer as a result.

4. Bjorn Borg

Bjorn Borg is widely recognized as one of the greatest male tennis players ever. He started his stellar career early, winning both French Open and Wimbledon titles as an early teenager – never once losing in either competition from 1976 – 1981! Borg earned 11 Grand Slam titles during his impressive career spanning 11 Grand Slam tournaments!

Borg was widely revered for his mastery on both clay and grass courts, winning six French Open’s and five Wimbledons, respectively. His remarkable ability to adapt his game for both surfaces remains something few players today can match.

Borg was known for his poise and demeanor on the court, preferring fitness over flash to beat opponents such as Jimmy Connors or John McEnroe. Dubbed “Ice Man” due to his cool and calm demeanor during matches, Borg is considered a legendary tennis ambassador worldwide. He was one of its most significant influences in growing its popularity worldwide.

5. Ivan Lendl

Ivan Lendl was an exceptional tennis player during the 1980s. With his powerful serve, forehand play, and physical fitness, Lendl earned a world number one ranking for 270 weeks – winning eight grand slam titles and his fierce competition against John McEnroe. Lendl later became a coach, helping Andy Murray win Wimbledon and US Open tournaments under his tutelage.

Bjorn Borg was another tennis giant, taking the 80s by storm with his pioneering baseline play style and potentially winning many more grand slams had he remained. Borg is an iconic rival to John McEnroe himself, an inspiration and legend today.

Margaret Court remains one of the iconic figures from tennis, and her winning standards remain unparalleled. A fierce competitor with strong views about homosexuality, Margaret was unquestionably one of the greatest players ever.

6. John McEnroe

John McEnroe was a trendy tennis figure known for his seven Grand Slam titles and engaging style on the court. Well-known for his aggressive on-court play that often got him into trouble with umpires, John loved pushing himself and his opponents hard on the court – always exciting to watch!

His battles against Borg and Connors were legendary and, like all aspects of his career, defined by McEnroe’s penchant for controversy and willingness to risk it all in pursuit of success. McEnroe’s temperament often put him into heated matches while his argument helped raise tennis’ profile in America.

He won three of four Grand Slam finals against Borg – his defeat at the US Open and 1981, as well as victory at Wimbledon, are widely considered two of the greatest matches ever witnessed on the court – and five year-end championships, such as those which inspired both ATP Masters Series and WCT Finals events, now combined into one event.

Margaret Court holds 24 Grand Slam singles titles and 19 doubles titles across both Amateur and Open Eras, making her one of the greatest players ever to grace tennis. Although her controversial views regarding same-sex marriage have caused some damage to her legacy, Margaret remains one of tennis’s legendary figures and may never be eclipsed.

7. Jim Courier

Jim Courier briefly held the best player status worldwide during his five-year run as World No. 1. An American; Courier was one of tennis’s most physically aggressive players with powerful forehand and compact two-handed backhand shots that quickly took an opponent down the line. He made up for what Courier lacked in talent with hard work and an aggressive attitude.

Courier was an integral figure in the development of US tennis, playing an instrumental part in shaping it towards modernity. He was part of a generation of young power players, including Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras – two names he defeated to claim his first major tournament victory at the 1991 French Open Final. Fighting off Stefan Edberg over five grueling sets was no mean feat!

Although she may not make our list of greatest tennis players ever, Court’s achievements remain noteworthy. Her combination of fitness, finesse, and court awareness set winning standards that may never be equaled again. While her controversial views regarding same-sex marriage may have hindered her on-court performance, her brilliance cemented her place in tennis history.