Last updated on August 4th, 2023 at 05:36 pm
One of the most fast-evolving sports in today's world full of sports enthusiasts, that has captured the attention of millions of people worldwide is Tennis. It was around the 1970s when tennis became more of a mainstream sport than a sport for the privileged, especially in the United States. Several generations of players have come and gone among them some players have stood in the limelight during their peaks while some just got fade away.
Whilst, some players have several era-open records, it's somehow difficult to compare players of different eras in any sport due to technology changes and higher fitness standards. Selecting the best among the best is a big deal even so we can agree on witnessing the three of the greatest player ever in history, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic.
Here’s a list of the 10 most famous Tennis players of all time.
1. Roger Federer
Listing the famous tennis players and not mentioning Roger Federer is something not acceptable. Born in the year 1981 in Bottmingen, Switzerland, Federer surely has managed to establish himself as a legendary tennis player of all time in his 23 years long career run.
His 20 Grand Slam titles and 310 weeks rank makes him deserving at no. 1 on the list of famous Tennis players of all time. Even at the age of 39, he is still winning and competing at the highest levels. He has a record under his name being ranked number one in the world for 237 consecutive weeks from 2004 to 2008.
Source: Instagram @rogerfederer
Started Career: 1998
Status: Current Playing
Career prize money: $129,946,683
103 career titles
20 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 6 Australian, 1 French, 5 US Open, 8 Wimbledon
2. Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal is at no. 2 on the list of famous Tennis players of all time. Born in the year of 1986 in Spain, Nadal, also referred to by the name of "Rafa" and "The King of Clay" already has 20 Grand Slam titles on his name at just the age of 34. His impressive performance on clay courts has earned him the title of "The King of Clay", Rafa.
He won the 2008 Olympic Gold Medal at Beijing Summer Olympics. His 2020 French Open title gives him 20 Grand Slams Championships tieing him with Roger Federer for most Grand Slams of all time. If he hadn't gone through the recurring tendinitis in his knees, and wrist injuries, he surely would have achieved more Grand Slam Championships to his name.
Source: Instagram @rafaelnadal
Started Career: 2001
Status: Current Playing
Career prize money: $123,482,764
86 career titles
20 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 1 Australian, 13 French, 4 US Open, 2 Wimbledon
2008 Olympic Gold Medalist - Beijing Summer Olympics
3. Novak Djokovic
Known to be the only player to complete the career Golden Masters(which he has done twice), Novak Djokovic is surely on the list of most famous Tennis players of all time. Born in the year of 1987, in Belgrade, SR Serbia, SFR Yugoslavia, Novak has several records under his name notably the only player to win all of the "Big Titles" on the modern ATP Tour i.e. all four Grand Slam tournaments, all nine ATP Masters events, and the ATP Finals.
In his career run of just 18 years, he holds a record for being No. 1 for a total of 318 weeks and finishing as year-end No. 1 on six occasions. With his records in tennis, he has made his way to joining "Big Three", the three men who have dominated men's tennis for more than a decade including Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
He is currently ranked as world No. 1 by the Association of Tennis Professionals(ATP). He has won the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year award four times and is also a recipient of the Order of St. Sava, the Order of Karađorđe's Star, and the Order of the Republika Srpska.
Source: Instagram @djokernole
Started Career: 2003
Status: Current Playing
Career prize money: $145,861,177
82 career titles
18 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 9 Australian, 5 Wimbledon, 3 US Open, 1 French Open
4. Serena Williams
Widely regarded to be one of the greatest tennis players of all time, Serena Williams holds several records including the most Grand Slam titles in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles combined among active players. She is even the former world No. 1 in women's singles tennis.
Born in the year of 1981, in Saginaw, Michigan, U.S., Williams has reached a milestone in her 25 years long career. She is even the most recent female player to have held all four Grand Slam singles titles simultaneously(2002–03 and 2014–15).
She has won a record of 13 Grand Slam singles titles on hard court, the Open Era record for most titles won at the Australian Open and with 39 Grand Slam titles put her joint-third on the all-time list and second in the Open Era.
She is ranked at No. 7 in the world by the WTA as of February 22, 2021.
Source: Instagram @serenawilliams
Started Career: 1995
Status: Current Playing
Career prize money: $94,236,271
73 career titles
23 Grand Slam single Titles
5. Rod Laver
An Australian former tennis player, Rod Laver is widely regarded to be one of the greatest tennis players of all time. Born in the year of 1938, Laver started his professional career since the year of 1963, earning 200 single titles; the most titles in tennis history in his career run of 16 long years.
Laver was also ranked world No. 1 in nine different years, which is a record in tennis, and was ranked No. 1 for 4 years from 1964 to 1970. He has won 11 Grand Slam singles titles also is the second and last male player to win each grand slam twice after Roy Emerson. In honor of him, "The Laver Cup Tournament" and "The Rod Laver Arena" are named after him.
He was also inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 1981.
Started Career: 1962
Career prize money: $1,565,413
200 career titles
11 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 3 Australian, 2 French, 2 US Open, 4 Wimbledon
9 Pro Slam Singles Titles: 3 US Pro, 4 Wembley Pro, 1 French Pro, 1 Wimbledon Pro
Inducted into Tennis Hall of Fame: 1981
6. Pete Sampras
Pete Sampras is on the list of most famous Tennis players of all time at no. 6. Born in the year of 1971, in Washington, D.C., U.S., Sampras started his career in the year of 1988 becoming the only man in the open era to have won the final Grand Slam tournament at which he competed.
In his 15 years long career, he won 14 Grand Slam singles titles with 64 singles titles in total. He reached world No. 1 in 1993, and held that position for a total of 286 weeks. With his precise and powerful serve in the game, he earned the nickname "Pistol Pete".For his contribution to tennis history, he was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2007.
Source: Facebook @petesampras
Started Career: 1988
Career prize money: $43,280,489
64 career titles
14 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 2 Australian, 7 Wimbledon, 5 US Open
Inducted into Tennis Hall of Fame: 2007
7. John McEnroe
Known for his shot-making and volleying skills, John McEnroe is undoubtedly one of the most famous Tennis players of all. Born in the year of 1959, John started his career in 1978 earning the ATP Player of the Year Award and the ITF World Champion three times each: 1981, 1983, and 1984 in his career run of almost 20 years.
He has won seven Grand Slam singles titles and 105 career titles becoming the world No. 1 ranking in both singles and doubles. Most notable winning singles year-end championships of his were at the Masters Grand Prix and the World Championship Tennis(WCT) Finals.
One of the greatest matches in Wimbledon history includes his epic battles with rival Jimmy Connors and his five-set loss to Bjorn Borg in the 1980 Wimbledon final. He was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 1999.
Started Career: 1978
Career prize money: $12,547,797
105 career titles
7 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 3 Wimbledon, 4 US Open
Inducted into Tennis Hall of Fame: 1999
8. Bjorn Borg
The first male player to win 11 Grand Slam singles titles and 5 Wimbledon titles ever in the Open Era was none other than Bjorn Borg. Born in the year of 1956, Borg started his career in 1973, and just in tenure of 10 years, he held several histories including the first player to win six French Open singles titles.
He is also the only one to win the French Open and Wimbledon finals for three consecutive years. He is considered to have been the No. 1 player in the world for (1977-80). The long-blonde-haired Borg dominated tennis in the late 1970s even dominated Wimbledon, winning the title five consecutive years from 1976 to 1980. Borg was the first player of the modern era to win more than 10 majors.
He was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 1987.
Started Career: 1973
Career prize money: $3,655,751
101 career titles
11 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 6 French, 5 Wimbledon
Inducted into Tennis Hall of Fame: 1987
9. Jimmy Connors
Considered to be one of the greatest tennis players of all time, Jimmy Connors surely makes an easy way up to the list. Born in the year of 1952, Connors made his choice to play tennis in the year 1972 and never let anyone down with his life-changing choice. Having held top Association of Tennis Professionals(ATP) ranking for a then-record 160 consecutive weeks from 1974-1977, he surely did dominate the early 1970s tennis world. He is even the first male player to be No. 1 for more than 200 weeks.
In his prolific career run of 24 years, Connors holds three prominent Open Era men's singles records: 109 titles, 1,557 matches played, and 1,274 match wins. He has 147 career titles and 8 Grand Slam Singles Titles making him one of the beloved tennis players ever in history. He along with Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe were the male-dominating players of their time.
Connors was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 1998.
Started Career: 1972
Career prize money: $8,641,040
147 career titles
8 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 1 Australian, 2 Wimbledon, 5 US Open
Inducted into Tennis Hall of Fame: 1998
10. Martina Navratilova
Considered to be one of the best female tennis players of all time, Martina Navratilova ranks at no. 10 on the list. Having her career started in the year 1975, Martina holds several history records including the only player in history to have held the top spot in both singles and doubles for over 200 weeks in her 31 years long career run till 2006.
She is also one of just three women ever to have accomplished a Career Grand Slam in women's singles and doubles. She even holds the records for most singles (167) and doubles titles (177) in the Open Era.
Started Career: 1975
Career prize money: $21,626,089
59 career titles
18 Grand Slam single Title