Like any major sport, there have been several greats in tennis. Some tennis players are universal, and we know their names even if we weren’t necessarily old enough (or even alive) to see them play. Who are these greats of tennis, though? Everybody has their own opinions, but same names stand out more than others and are repeated time and time again. We’ve taken on the challenge and come up with the best men and women tennis player
Who is the Best Men’s Tennis Player Ever?
Andre Agassi won over 60 career titles before retiring in 2006, and this American tennis player’s record of 8 Grand Slams, is tough to beat. John McEnroe may have 7 Grand Slams himself, but he is more famously regarded for losing his temper and slamming is racket down in defeat. Both of those pale in comparison to Björn Borg. With 11 Grand Slam titles over a 10-year career, this Swedish star is regarded as one of the best in the business. And who can forget Pete Sampras? His 14 Grand Slam titles over a 14-year career is still remarkable, even today.
The big winners are all involved in the current game, though. As good as Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray are, they don’t hold a candle to Rafael Nadal, whose 16 Grand Slams and 75 career titles grow each year. Inevitably, the all-time best men’s tennis player, though, must be Roger Federer. The Swiss started in 1998, has won 96 career titles, earned over $115m and won 20 Grand Slam titles. There’s just no matching that, really – not even for Nadal.
And the Best Women’s Tennis Player?
Picking the all-time best female tennis player is more challenging, as the competition is a lot fiercer. Justine Henin, Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova, and Monica Seles are all right up there, as is Billy Jean King is still a firm favourite with tennis fans. King’s 15-year career saw her win 129 career titles, and 12 grand slams, with her aggressive play much admired even today.
Going into the past, Australia’s Margaret Court and the USA’s Chris Evert dominated in the 70s and 80s, respectively, and deserve to be towards the top of the list. Serena Williams is most people’s pick for the all-time best ladies’ tennis player, but to be honest, many people are biased in this regard. She may be more famous, but she hasn’t won anywhere near as many titles as our top two.
Few real tennis fans would argue that Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf are duking out for the top spot. We couldn’t pick a winner between these gals, with the Czech winning 167 career titles and 18 Grand Slams from 1975-1994, and her German counterpart bagging 107 career titles and a record 22 Grand Slams between 1982 and 1999. By contrast, Serena Williams has just 72 career titles and 23 Grand Slams. Serena may go on to eventually take our title, but as far as we’re concerned, Navratilova’s double record, and 190 Grand Slam Mixed Doubles titles, and Graf being the first woman to win the Golden Slam but them out in front.