Top Ten: The world’s greatest male tennis players

Updated: September 2, 2013

A top ten list of the world’s best male tennis players is possibly one of the hardest lists to compile; there are so many excellent athletes to choose from.

Since the modern day Open Era started back in 1968, we have seen some incredible stars take part in the sport, and there have been wonderful rivalries.

Having taken into account Grand Slam wins in the modern era, ATP World Tour wins and their competition at the time this is our Top Ten tennis players.


10) Novak Djokovic

There is no doubt that this man will be much higher in this list with time, but for the moment the Serbian has to settle for tenth.

Djokovic has won six Grand Slam single titles, including the Australian Open four times. In 2011, he won the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open; all that he is missing is the French Open.

Last year he reached the final in Paris, but lost to Rafael Nadal 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5 despite being the top seed.

9) Jimmy Connors

An incredible player who had a fiery rivalry with John McEnroe, he was number one in the world from July 29th 1974 until August 22nd 1977. During his distinguished career Connors won eight Grand Slam singles titles and two doubles.

1974 was the highlight of his career when he became only the second player in the history of the sport to with three or more Grand Slam titles during a calendar year.

It must also be noted that he won 109 titles in total, the most tournaments by an individual.

8) John McEnroe

A very talented player who excelled at both singles and doubles, he won seven Grand Slams but is often remembered for his infamous outburst on court – He was even banned from the 1990 Australian Open.

His rivalry right with Jimmy Connors is legendary, when the two players met you were guaranteed to see fire and some class tennis.

McEnroe won Wimbledon three times and the US Open on four occasions. In 1984 he won the two competitions but lost in the final of the French Open to Ivan Lendl.

7) Ivan Lendl

An eight-time Grand Slam winner, who spent 270 weeks at number one, something that has only been beaten by Federer and Sampras.

The only negative was that despite getting to the Wimbledon twice, he never managed to win that title.

6) Andre Agassi

He won eight Grand Slams, and is part of a special club of players who has won a  ‘career Grand Slam’, which is where the player wins all four Grand Slam events.

Agassi was actually the first male competitor to win the Slams on three different surfaces (clay, grass and hard). He also won Olympic gold on home soil when he beat Spaniard Sergi Bruguera 6-2,6-3, 6-1 at the 1996 Atlanta games.

He is married to Steffi Graff, one of the greatest ever women tennis players.

5) Björn Borg

Now we move onto the big hitters, Borg won 11 Grand Slams, what makes this even more impressive was that he retired from tennis at 25 years old.

He won the French Open six times and had five consecutive Wimbledon win from 1976 until 1980. Unfortunately he struggled when he travelled to the United States where he failed to win the US Open even though he got to four finals.

4) Rod Laver

An 11-time Grand Slam winner, five of which were in the modern Open Era. In 1969 Laver showed his class as he won a ‘career Grand Slam’ in a calendar year.

During his incredible career he won 200 career titles and was ranked number one in the world for SEVEN consecutive years between 1964 and 1970.

He managed to win every Grand Slam event at least twice, something that nobody has equalled since the Australian managed to do it in 1969, when he won his SECOND career Grand Slam.

Laver has had the centre court at in Melbourne’s Park Complex, where the Australian Open is played, named after him.

3) Rafael Nadal

The 12-time Grand Slam winner is a clay expert, he has won Roland Garros eight times (an all-time record), and is probably the best ever clay player in the history of the sport.

Nadal enjoyed a 32-match winning run in 2008, during that year he won the French Open and Wimbledon as well as beating Chilean Fernando González 6-3, 7-6, 6-3 in the Olympics in Beijing.

By winning the 2010 US Open meant that he completed his ‘career Grand Slam’.

2) Pete Sampras

Pistol Pete won an incredible 14 Grand Slam titles, half of which were won at Wimbledon. He dominated world tennis during the 1990s, and spent an incredible 286 weeks as number one in the seedings.

He was known for his serve and volley game, many feel that was ‘all’ he had, but his power was incredible and he was often unplayable.

The one disappointment for Sampras was his failure to win the French Open; he did manage to get to the 1996 semi-final but that was as good as it got.

1) Roger Federer

At the moment there can only be one number one, and that is 17-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer.

In 2009, he proved he was the perfect all-rounder, when he beat Robin Söderling 6-1, 7-6, 6-4 in the final of the French Open to add his name to the ‘career Grand Slam’ winners.

He seems to love grass surface, he has won seven Wimbledon titles, four Australian Opens and five US Opens.

The one missing victory is at the Olympics, he did get to the final at London 2012, but lost to Andy Murray who he had beaten in Wimbledon a month earlier.

At 31-years-old Federer could and is likely to add to that tally of 17 Grand Slam wins.


One Comment

  1. Will

    12 June 2013 at 9:26 pm

    Good piece Scottie. Nasal is awesome – to have won 8 French titles by the time he’s 27 is incredible. That said, for Borg to have won 4 French titles and 5 successive Wimbledon titles (plus reach 4 US Open finals) and still pack it in at 25 is amazing. I think Borg’s success in just a few yrs sets him out. Maybe you should put them in a league table and see comes out on top?!

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