The Best Tennis Male And Female Tennis Players Of All Time Ranked
Who’s the best tennis maestro to grace the courts? Who’s the best of the best? In this article, we’ll reveal the best male and female tennis players. It wasn’t an easy task, to say the least. Read on to find out.
Best 10 Male Tennis Players of All Time
10. Andre Agassi
Record: 870 – 274 (76.0%)
Grand Slams: 8
Nickname: The Punisher
Whispers of greatness trailed Andre Agassi ever since he dropped out of school to pursue a professional career in tennis. Six years after his debut, Agassi defeated Goran Ivanisevic in a five-set thriller to become king of Wimbledon. It was his first Grand Slam. He would go on to seven more Grand Slams and have many gruelling fights with another great, Pete Sampras.
The Punisher, now 53 Years, lives in Las Vegas with his wife Steffi Graf.
9. Ivan Lendl
Career: 1978 – 1994
Record: 1068 – 242 (81.5%)
Grand Slams: 10
Nickname: Ivan the Terrible
Lendl is the name that springs to mind when we think of nutrition and topspin. The Czech-American was so good at one time, he held No.1 for 270 weeks and had over 90% win-success ratio.
Lendl’s rise to glory was not without its obstacles though. His biggest one: John McEnroe. The Terminator used his forehand topspin and lobs to overcome the then-dominant McEnroe in the French Open. This cleared the path for him to nine more Grand Slams in the years to come.
Today, Lendl, aged 63 Years, is a revered tennis coach.
8. Jimmy Connors
Career: 1972 – 1996
Record: 1274 – 283 (81.8%)
Grand Slams: 8
Nickname: Brash Basher of Belleville
American Connors was hardly a power player. Average in height, his strongest weapons were his indomitable spirit, two-handed backhand, and a cunning service return. He wielded these swords well, against the zeitgeist of the time, to snatch no less than eight Grand Slams. The US Open was his thing, winning on home turf five times throughout his career. Connors dominated until 1979, but his stranglehold was gradually loosened by Borg, Lendl, and McEnroe.
Connors, now 71 Years, lives in Santa Barbara, California with his wife.
7. John McEnroe
Career: 1978 – 1994
Record: 883 – 198 (81.7%)
Grand Slams: 7
Lovers of tennis get a clear image when they hear ‘You cannot be serious!’ followed by the sound of a racket breaking. McEnroe was eccentric, passionate, and uncompromising to referee mistakes. But his explosive character is hardly the reason we included him in this list. McEnroe was one of the most dominant players in tennis history between 1979 and 1984. SuperBrat would go on to win all nine singles Grand Slams.
Today, McEnroe, 64 Years, regularly appears as a commentator for tennis tournaments.
6. Bjorn Borg
Career: 1973 – 1983, 1991 – 1993
Record: 654 – 140 (82.4%)
Grand Slams: 11
Swedish tennis great Bjorn Borg is touted as the inventor of the modern way of playing tennis: elite endurance, strategic positioning, and refined striking technique. These attributes, and his unshakable calmness under duress, helped Borg make his mark on tennis in the 70s and early 80s. The Iceman, as they called him for his steady nerves, went on to win 11 Grand Slams in his career.
Nowadays, Borg is 67 Years. He lives in Stockholm with his wife Patricia Ostfeld. His son is a professional tennis player.
5. Rod Laver
Career: 1963 – 1979
Record: 1689 – 538 (75.8%)
Grand Slams: 11
Australian Laver played an astounding number of tennis games pre-Open era. Although short in stature, many credited Laver’s success to his technical adroitness. Underspin, overspin, volleys, lobs, he had it all. And he used it equally well on all courts. All in all, Laver is less known by those with surface knowledge about tennis, but he was, undoubtedly, one of the best tennis players of all time.
We are privileged to have Laver still with us at the ripe age of 85 Years. He lives in California.
4. Pete Sampras
Career: 1988 – 2002
Record: 762 – 222 (77.4%)
Grand Slams: 14
Nickname: Pistol Pete
Ah, Sampras, one of those sportsmen with terribly linear careers filled with success. He was one of the greatest tennis players of all time. His wide bag of tricks led him to dominance throughout the 90s. Pistol Pete’s clashes with compatriot Andre Agassi remain an absolute tennis classic for the ages. Sampras’ career culminated with a 2002 US Open triumph over his nemesis.
Today, Sampras, 52 Years, lives with his wife Bridgette Wilson in California.
3. Rafael Nadal
Career: 2001 – Active
Record: 1068 – 220 (82.9%)
Grand Slams: 22*
It’s hard to argue that, in his prime, Rafa was probably in better physical shape than a well-trained SAS soldier. The man with endless energy and a never-say-die attitude has decorated his shelves with every title imaginable. Twenty-two Grand Slams testify to that. Fourteen of those were French Open titles, making Rafa the greatest clay court player of all time. His career is littered with gruelling clashes with arch-rivals Djokovic and Federer.
Logic dictates that Nadal is nearing retirement at the age of 47 Years, but what’s logic to this man?
2. Roger Federer
Career: 1998 – 2022
Record: 1251 – 275 (82.0%)
Grand Slams: 20
Nickname: Darth Federer
Arguably, the greatest male tennis player of all time, Federer has won everything and has done it in style – from youth to retirement in 2022. Jimmy Connors’ quote ‘In an era of specialists, you’re either a clay court, grass court, or hard court specialist…or you are Federer’ rings no truer. Federer’s versatility led him to 20 Grand Slam triumphs. Mind you, against two of the other best players in history: Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. That speaks volumes.
Today, Federer is 42 Years. He retired in late 2022.
1. Novak Djokovic
Career: 2003 – Active
Record: 1046 – 207 (83.5%)
Grand Slams: 22*
The Serbian wonder of sports, Novak Djokovic, has it all. Build, technique, indomitable spirit, passion, confidence – all. He’s won so many Grand Slams, it’s unbelievable. With a win percentage of 83.5%, it’s hard to deny that Djoker leads the tennis greats. He’s done it against the toughest opponents too. He’s put his hands on all four Grand Slam trophies – many times over.
Djokovic, who is 36 Years continues to carve his path to unreachable heights today.
Had fun? Now find out who is GOAT of tennis in the female division.
Best 5 Female Tennis Players of All Time
5. Monica Seles
Career: 1989 – 2008
Record: 595 – 122 (83.0%)
Grand Slams: 9
Born in former Yugoslavia, Monica Seles hit the ground running as soon as she set her feet on the court aged 15. At 16, she won the French Open. At 17, the Australian Open, French Open, and US Open. At 20, she had already won eight Grand Slams. If it wasn’t for the terrible 1993 stabbing incident, Seles would’ve surely become the best of all time.
4. Martina Navratilova
Career: 1974 – 2006
Record: 1442 – 219 (86.8%)
Grand Slams: 18
Czech-born Martina Navratilova had a long and illustrious career, festooned with more than 120 trophies. Her aggressive style, technical prowess and understanding of the game overwhelmed her opponents. Her peak years were in the 80s, which, if cut out from the rest of her career, we would have no problem putting her at No.1.
Today, Navratilova is 67 Years and is a huge advocator of animal rights.
3. Margaret Court
Career: 1960 – 1977
Record: 1180 – 107 (90.9%)
Grand Slams: 24
Australian Margaret Court is one of the greatest female tennis players of all time. She won 24 Grand Slams throughout her career, her first being at 21. Court took the meaning of ‘high year’ to another level in 1970 when she bagged all four Grand Slams. She continued to lift trophies well into the mid-70s, setting the bar high for future generations.
2. Steffi Graf
Career: 1982 – 1999
Record: 900 – 115 (88.7%)
Grand Slams: 22
German-born Steffi Graf was unbeatable in the late 80s and early 90s. She was a late bloomer, starting in 1982 and only achieving her breakthrough in 1987. But all was history after that. In 1988, Graf achieved a Golden Slam (all four Grand Slams and an Olympic gold medal). She would continue to obliterate all opposition until her retirement.
Graf, 54 Years, is married to Andre Agassi.
1. Serena Williams
Career: 1995- 2022
Record: 858 – 156 (84.6%)
Grand Slams: 23
The only female player to have won 23 Grand Slams, Serena Williams was exemplary of the union between raw power and refined technique. At her peak, Williams was a nightmare for any of her opponents, simply bulldozing them through to trophies. She was so dominant and successful before her retirement in 2022 that she cast a doubt on whether the future will have a better female player than her. We’ll see. Maybe not in our lifetime.