Who are the best male tennis players of all time? It’s a difficult question that has to take into account several eras of the game and the challenges that were faced at those time. Some players dominated at a time when there was minimal competition while you wonder just how many extra grand slams the likes of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic would have won each if their careers hadn’t coincided. Below are our picks for the 7 best male tennis players of all time.
- 101 career titles
- 11 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 6x French Open, 5x Wimbledon
Björn Borg dominated tennis in the late 1970s and was the first player of the modern era to win more than 10 majors. The Swede achieved a phenomenal run at Wimbledon, winning five times in a row between 1976 to 1980. Borg retired at a young age, he was just 26 years old, but still won 11 Grand Slam Singles Titles during his brief career. It begs a question about how he might compare to other top players if he had kept on playing for a longer time.
- 200 career titles
- 11 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 3x Australian Open, 2x French Open, 2x US Open, 4x Wimbledon
The now 81-year old is the only player to have twice won the Grand Slam in a single season, once as an amateur in 1962 and again as a pro in 1969. Laver dominated the game during his active career winning 11 Grand Slam titles despite the fact that he was not allowed to compete for five years in the middle of his career. Eventually retiring in 1979, he is undoubtedly one of the best male tennis players of all time.
- 110 career titles
- 12 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 6x Australian Openn, 2x French Open, 2x US Open, 2x Wimbledon
In the 1960s, Roy Emerson won 12 Grand Slam singles titles when Australian tennis players were dominating the sport. However, in 1964, Emerson failed to become the third man to achieve the Grand Slam in a season. He won Wimbledon, the Australian Open and the US Open but failed to defend his French Open title. He did win five consecutive Australian Open titles which is a phenomenal feat in itself.
- 64 career titles
- 14 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 2 Australian, 7 Wimbledon, 5 US Open
Sampras has ‘only’ won 14 Grand Slam Singles as he competed in a difficult era against other strong players such as Boris Becker, Andre Agassi and Pat Rafter. When Pete Sampras played his last match at the 2002 US Open, he had won more Grand Slams than any other man and was considered by many to be the best ever. However, that is an opinion that soon changed after who followed him at the top of the game. Regardless, Sampras can easily be considered among the best male tennis players of all time.
- 78 career titles
- 17 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 8x Australian Open, 5x Wimbledon, 3x US Open, 1x French Open
His technique, although perhaps less aesthetically pleasing in comparison to Roger Federer, is methodically perfect. Djokovic, alongside Rafa Nadal, can be considered the best player in the world at the moment and he retains the potential to win many more Grand Slam titles. With 17 Grand Slam titles currently under his belt, he has the potential to surpass Federer’s total of 20 in the coming years.
- 84 career titles
- 19 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 1x Australian Open, 12x French Open, 4x US Open, 2x Wimbledon
- 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist – Beijing Summer Olympics
Rafael Nadal is unquestionably the greatest clay court player of all time and his dominance on the surface has been among the most impressive domination in any sport. The Spaniard has won 19 Grand Slam single titles and at 33-years-old, he will likely break Roger Federer’s current tally of 20. Is it fair to say that the player who retires with the largest collection of Grand Slam singles titles will go down in history as the best ever? Probably not. However, Nadal has one more to go until he can claim that accolade.
- 103 career titles
- 20 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 6 Australian, 1 French, 5 US Open, 8 Wimbledon
Roger Federer dominated male tennis between 2003 and 2010, winning 16 of the his 20 Grand Slam singles titles during that period, more than any other male tennis player in the history of the game. His elegance and creativity are phenomenal and should get him extra points when judging who is the best tennis player of all time. However, even if you ignore playing style and just look at the statistics, Federer should be considered the best at the moment.
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