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Best Male Tennis Players of All Time

Who are the best male tennis players of the open era? Immediately one’s mind goes to the Big 3 of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. However, each decade has its star players who can make a case to be in the Top 10. Subscribe to Fubo so you don’t miss out on any tournaments and Grand Slam events. The final one this year is the U.S. Open, which is set to begin Aug. 28 in New York City.

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The Greatest Tennis Players of All Time

With so many tournaments and majors during a tennis season, it is hard to pick who the Top 10 players of all time are. That’s also the case because of the changing of the game throughout the years. Today it is a baseline-to-baseline sport, where in other decades it was all about the serve and volley.

10. Ivan Lendl

Lendl always let his play do the talking. In total, he won 144 career titles, including eight Grand Slam titles. Those included two Australian Open, three French Open and three U.S Open titles. With a big serve, he was the most dominant player of the 1980s. Lendl wore down his opponents with his powerful ground strokes, topspin forehand, and an incredible level of conditioning. He was the world’s top-ranked player for four years, and he held the No. 1 ranking in the world for 270 weeks, a record in the day. He is also Lendl the only man in professional tennis history to have a match-winning percentage of over 90 percent in five different years (1982, 1985, 1986, 1987, and 1989).

9. John McEnroe

McEnroe may be known for his flamboyant personality on and off the court, but his success was undeniable. He won 77 titles, including seven Grand Slams. He won three Wimbledon titles and four U.S. Open titles. He won those back-to-back in 1983 and 1984. His singles match record of 82–3 in 1984 remains the best single-season win rate of the Open Era. What also sets McEnroe apart from a lot of other players on this list is his success in doubles. He also won 77 titles. This remains the highest men’s combined total of the Open Era. He had nine Grand Slam men’s doubles titles and one Grand Slam mixed doubles title.

8. Jimmy Connors

One of McEnroe’s biggest foes was Jimmy Connors, who won a total of 107 titles and eight Grand Slams. In 1974, he became the second man in the Open Era to win three major titles in a calendar year and had a 99–4 record that year, winning 15 tournaments of the 21 he entered. Connors finished No. 1 in the ATP rankings from 1974 to 1978. In 1982, he won both Wimbledon and the US Open and was ATP Player of the Year. Connors also continued to compete against younger men well into his early 40s. In the 1991 US Open, Connors made it all the way to the semifinals at the age of 39.

7. Andre Agassi

Agassi finished his career with 60 titles, including eight Grand Slams. He is the only man to win a career Super Slam (career Grand Slam, plus the Olympic gold medal and the year-end championships). Dubbed the best serve-returner in history by many of the top players who have faced Agassi, he had incredible hand-eye coordination. He was a truly dominant force on the hard courts, winning 46 of his 60 career titles on concrete, including six of eight slams. His first and last slams came over 10 years apart. The first was a Wimbledon championship in 1992 and then an Australian Open win in 2003.

6. Rod Laver

Laver was one of the best players before the Open Era began and after it. In 1969 he made history by completing a calendar year Grand Slam, winning all four titles. The left-hander from Australia did things never before seen with a racquet. He revolutionized the way the game was played, spinning the ball and showing his skill at volleys. He is credited with 198 singles titles (40 in Open Era) and 11 Grand Slams (five in Open Era). Laver was also successful in the doubles game, showcasing his mastery while partnered with Roy Emerson, where they won two Major Championships.

5. Pete Sampras

Pistol Pete was simply impossible to beat on grass. He won seven Wimbledon championships and a total of 14 Major titles. In total, he won 64 titles. Sampras had literally no weaknesses in his game. His serve could win points. His forehand was deadly. And his net game was unparalleled. While clay may have been his kryptonite, only getting as far as the semifinals at Roland Garros, he was a primetime performer who had an 84 percent winning percentage in Grand Slams.

4. Bjorn Borg

The Swedish machine, Borg could adapt to any surface. What makes his stats remarkable (63 titles, 11 Grand Slam wins) is that he retired at the age of 26. The question many ask is how many he would have wound up with if he had stayed in the game longer. He won back-to-back French Open and Wimbledon titles three straight times and won Wimbledon five consecutive years from 1976 to 1980. Borg was also the first player of the modern era to win more than 10 Majors.

3. Rafael Nadal

Nadal will always be considered the King of Clay. With 22 career Grand Slam titles, 14 of those have come at Roland Garros. He also won two at the Australian Open, two at Wimbledon and four at the US Open, totaling 92 career titles. Nadal has proven that he deserves serious consideration in the discussion for the greatest of all time. His impressive start to the 2022 season with wins at the Australian Open and French Open gave Rafa 22 Grand Slam Championships to surpass Roger Federer with 20. He’s reaching the end of his career as knee injuries continue to plague him. Much of that has to do with the fiery spirit that has made him a fan favorite.

2. Roger Federer

Roger Federer went through much of his career with many already anointing him the best of all time, and rightfully so. His 20 Grand Slam titles (103 total titles) and 310 weeks ranked as No. 1 speak for themselves, and even at the age of 40, he was still capable of competing at the highest levels thanks to his fitness. From 2004 to 2008, Federer went 237 consecutive weeks being ranked No. 1 in the world, a record that may never be surpassed. He won a record eight men’s singles Wimbledon titles, an Open Era joint-record five men’s singles US Open titles, and a joint-record six year-end championships. A versatile all-court player, Federer’s grace on the court made him popular among tennis fans.

  1. Novak Djokovic

While he may be in the late stages of his career, 36-year-old Novak Djokovic shows no signs of slowing down. He’s won 94 career titles and has the most Grand Slam wins of all-time with 23. He also has a head-to-head advantage in matches against both Federer and Nadal.

The start of the 2023 season had Djokovic back in top form as he dominated the 2023 Australian Open. He only lost one set on his way to securing Grand Slam title No. 22. At Roland Garros, with Nadal out with an injury, Djokovic got Grand Slam title No. 23. He is now the only man in the history of the game to win each of the Grand Slam titles at least three times.

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Other Great Male Tennis Players

Mats Wilander

From 1982 to 1988, Wilander won seven Major Championships (three at the French Open, three at the Australian Open, and one at the US Open). His breakthrough came suddenly and unexpectedly when he won the 1982 French Open at the age of 17. His ability to win at a young age continued when he won his fourth major title at the age of 20, becoming the youngest man in history to have achieved the feat. In total, he won 33 titles.

Arthur Ashe

Ashe won 33 titles during his career, including three Grand Slams. He was the first black player selected to the United States Davis Cup team and the only black man ever to win the singles title at Wimbledon, the US Open and the Australian Open. He defeated fellow American Jimmy Connors in 1975 at Wimbledon to claim his final championship.

Ken Rosewall

If you were to look up the definition of consistency, you’d see a picture of Ken Rosewall. He was a Top 20 player in the world for 25 straight years, and even won the Australian Open at 38 years old. He was an active player from 1950-1980. He is credited with 132 titles (25 in Open Era) and 12 Grand Slams (six in Open Era). With a renowned backhand, Rosewall achieved a Pro Slam in singles in 1963 by winning three Pro Majors in one year and he completed the Career Grand Slam in doubles.

Boris Becker

Playing for 15 years, Boris Becker accomplished quite a lot. He won 49 career titles, six of which were Grand Slams. He won three at Wimbledon, which included becoming the youngest-ever winner of the gentlemen’s singles title, doing so at age 17 in 1985. He also won two Australian Open titles and one U.S. Open title. Becker also won an Olympic Gold in Barcelona in 1992 and led the West German Davis Cup team to a dramatic victory over the United States in 1989, beating Andre Agassi in five brutal sets. Becker won an unheard of 26 titles on indoor carpet courts over the course of his career, still a record today.

Illie Nastase

Nastase won Grand Slam titles in every way possible. He won two in singles, three in doubles and two more in mixed doubles. His most impressive win was over Arthur Ashe in the 1972 US Open, where it took the Romanian five sets and close to five hours to seal the deal. He also won the French Open in 1973. In 1973, Nastase won 17 tournaments, including the French Open, a doubles title at Wimbledon, and a third Masters title. He was the world No. 1 in the ATP rankings that year.

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How to Watch Tennis Without Cable

Want to watch the rest of the 2023 tennis season? Then make sure you’re subscribed to Fubo, which gives you access to all nationally televised tennis matches (CBS, NBC, FOX, ESPN), as well as coverage on the Tennis Channel. Throughout every season, you’ll get to watch all four Major tournaments, along with matches in between.

Fubo is the leading sports-first live TV streaming platform, offering 100+ live TV channels and regional sports networks. The service includes a DVR as well as on-demand content and focuses on sports programming. Fubo is the only live TV streaming platform with every Nielsen-rated sports channel. Leveraging Fubo’s proprietary data and technology platform optimized for live TV and sports viewership, subscribers can engage with the content they are watching through interactive product features like FanView, an in-video experience showcasing live game, team and player stats and scores in real-time. Fubo was also the first virtual MVPD to enable simultaneous viewing on up to four screens (Multiview on Apple TV) and the first to stream in 4K HDR. The service was ranked #1 in Customer Satisfaction among Live TV Streaming Providers by J.D. Power (2022).

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FAQs

Who is the No. 1 men’s tennis player?

After beating Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final, Carlos Alcaraz became the No. 1 player in the world. He currently has 9,225 points.

Who are the Top 5 women’s tennis players?

Iga Swiatek of Poland is currently the No. 1 women’s tennis player in the world with 9,490 points. Aryna Sabalenka is No. 2 with 8,845. A bit of a drop off occurs after that with Elena Rybakina tallying 5,465 points, Jessica Pegula totaling 5,395 points, and Ons Jabeur with 4,846 points.

Who are the best pre-Open Era tennis players of all time?

Tennis is the most difficult sport to rate players through the years. The problem is that the four Majors (Australian, French, Wimbledon, U.S.) were not available to the best players for most of the 40s, all of the 50s, and most of the 60s. That’s considered the pre-Open Era. From a numbers perspective, Ken Rosewall won 16 championships, while Rod Laver and Pancho Gonzales won 12. Laver’s game translated best once the Open Era began.

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