15 Best Hard Court Players of All Time

Having success on the hard courts in tennis can be one of the most challenging things for any professional tennis player. While it might not seem like it at the time, hard courts are very unforgiving on the body. It takes a toll on a player throughout a fortnight when they are going for a Grand Slam title.

These 15 players have found a way to dominate on hard courts a little bit better than most. Their consistency in the biggest tournaments is why they are deserving of the ranking.

15. Lleyton Hewitt

  • Win Percentage (Hard-Court): 70.2%
  • Grand Slam Titles (Hard-Court): 1

The prime for Layton Hewitt was not all that long, but he did dominate the sport of tennis right before Roger Federer took over. From 2000 and 2002, he was the guy to beat on hard courts.

It would’ve been great to see him stay a little bit healthier throughout his career, but it just wasn’t meant to be for the Australian. He ended up fading away as far as Grand Slam contention was concerned just a few years later, and only made one legitimate run at the Australian Open, losing in 2005 final.

14. Andy Roddick

  • Win Percentage (Hard-Court): 75.5%
  • Grand Slam Titles (Hard-Court): 1

Andy Roddick is yet another casualty of the Roger Federer era. He actually had his best success in between Lleyton Hewitt and Federer, winning his one and only grand slam at the 2003 US Open.

He was always a challenger at the hardcourt events, and he played well on grass as well. Making the semifinal four separate times at the Australian Open shows his level of consistency, but he was never able to get over the hump other than that one time in New York City.

13. Andy Murray

  • Win Percentage (Hard-Court): 77.6%
  • Grand Slam Titles (Hard-Court): 1

A lot of people seem to forget just how good Andy Murray was in his prime on hard courts. Not only is he a winner of several non-Grand Slam events on hard courts, but he was a 2012 U.S. Open winner to give him the first major title of his career.

The Australian Open always went fairly well for Murray, except when it came to the championship. He reached the final five different years, but never took home the top prize.

While not technically retired, his days of making legitimate runs at Grand Slam events are probably done. His all-around game made him very tough to challenge on hard courts, especially in best-of-five formats.

12. Stefan Edberg

  • Win Percentage (Hard-Court): 78.6%
  • Grand Slam Titles (Hard-Court): 2

The reason why Stephen Edberg was able to have so much success on hard courts came down to a combination of great serving an outstanding foot speed.

He was able to put the ball pretty much wherever he wanted on his serve, and getting to the net proved to be fairly easy at times. All it took was a solid volley to back up the serve, and he was in control of the point.

He finished his career with two U.S. Open titles, as well as two titles of the Australian Open. However, those Australian Open titles did not come on hard courts, so they didn’t show his ability on the surface. When he was locked in at the U.S. Open, it was pretty much impossible for any of the top players to give him a challenge.

11. Jim Courier

  • Win Percentage (Hard-Court): 70.6%
  • Grand Slam Titles (Hard-Court): 2

Jim Courier is one of the few players on this list without a US Open title. It is a bit surprising given his love for hard courts, but he also only reached one final in 1991.

The reason why he is included in the 15 best comes down to his back-to-back titles at the Australian Open.

10. John McEnroe

  • Win Percentage (Hard-Court): 81.6%
  • Grand Slam Titles (Hard-Court): 3

As a native New Yorker, John McEnroe always seems to relish playing on the hard courts at the U.S. Open. He was able to win four U.S. Opens and countless other tournaments on different types of hard courts.

He finished his career with one of the best winning percentages of the U.S. Open, as well as a winning percentage of over 81% on hard courts in general. Serving and volleying was the way for him to dictate points, and the faster the hard court, the better.

9. Boris Becker

  • Win Percentage (Hard-Court): 77.4%
  • Grand Slam Titles (Hard-Court): 3

Becker loved hitting a big serve and getting to the net as quickly as possible to finish things off. He was a little bit better at pulling this off on grass courts, but the hard courts played to his game as well.

He didn’t have a ton of longevity since the way he played took a toll on his body, but no one wanted to match up against him when he was locked in. On hard courts, he had superb movement and never seemed to slip.

8. Ivan Lendl

  • Win Percentage (Hard-Court): 82.6%
  • Grand Slam Titles (Hard-Court): 5

Ivan Lendl gets a lot of doubt thrown his way because of his poor record in the finals. It’s true that he reached 11 finals on hard courts at Grand Slam events, winning only five times. However, even getting to that point is pretty remarkable, and shows just how consistent he played throughout his career.

None of his numbers particularly stand out when compared to the best of the best, but his modern style of play made it very tough for serve and volley players to beat him. He had a pretty prolonged prime, which allowed him to accumulate stats as well to plead his case as one of the best ever to play on hard.

7. Mats Wilander

  • Win Percentage (Hard-Court): 72.3%
  • Grand Slam Titles (Hard-Court): 4

Mats Wilander might not make this list if not for his superb 1988 season. He won the Australian Open, French Open, and the US Open all in the same year, showing that he is one of the most consistent hard-court players in the game.

A big reason why he was able to transform his game a bit during the middle of his career is that he started serving a little bit better, and came up with a slice backhand that drove a lot of people crazy. This allowed him to dictate points and keep opponents off-balance.

6. Andre Agassi

  • Win Percentage (Hard-Court): 78.9%
  • Grand Slam Titles (Hard-Court): 6

Andre Agassi found a way to compete on every single surface during his prime. He always got an extra boost at the U.S. Open, and that allowed him to make some pretty deep runs during his tenure.

At the Australian Open, he also found quite a bit of success, being the best player from the United States ever at that tournament.

Agassi loved taking the ball early, even though the hard courts were very fast. Sometimes that worked to his advantage, and it threw the opposition off to the point that they could not compete.

5. Jimmy Connors

  • Win Percentage (Hard-Court): 83.1%
  • Grand Slam Titles (Hard-Court): 5

Jimmy Connors finished his career with a total of five US Open titles, but only three of them happened on hard courts. He also never won the Australian Open on hard courts, but that has more to do with their scheduling than his overall ability. As far as hard courts are concerned, many would say that it was his strongest surface.

He finished his career with 48 hard court titles, including almost all of the major tournaments outside of the Grand Slams. He sometimes played the villain role at the US Open, but he became a very endearing player in 1991 when he made a surprising run to the semifinals.

His all-around game was very tough to beat on hard court, giving him the edge compared to other surfaces.

4. Rafael Nadal

  • Win Percentage (Hard-Court): 77.8%
  • Grand Slam Titles (Hard-Court): 5

People don’t always seem to give Rafael Nadal the credit for what he has accomplished on hard courts. The truth of the matter is, he has won quite a few Grand Slams at the US Open and Australian Open. Not only that but he’s won plenty of other tournaments as well.

Nadal will always be a star player on clay courts, but hard courts have slowed him down enough for him to be very effective.

He also does a good job of flattening out shots during the hard court season, and his speed is always going to be a huge asset as well. In his prime, he was every bit as dominant as some of the best ever to play.

3. Pete Sampras

  • Win Percentage (Hard-Court): 80.6%
  • Grand Slam Titles (Hard-Court): 7

Pete Sampras won his first Grand Slam on a hard court in 1990. He won his last in 2002. Every single year between that, he was a huge threat to win the US Open or the Australian Open.

His game was perfect for the hard courts, as he was able to hit his big serve and put it just about anywhere. Getting to the net was pretty easy with strong footing, which is why Sampras always enjoyed playing on hard courts. It helps that he also grew up playing the style of tennis so that he could really have success.

2. Roger Federer

  • Win Percentage (Hard-Court): 83.5%
  • Grand Slam Titles (Hard-Court): 11

Roger Federer redefined the way tennis is played on hard courts when he first started coming up. He may no longer hold the number one spot right now, but it’s hard to deny everything he’s accomplished.

He won multiple titles on the courts at the US Open and the Australian Open, and it goes beyond that as well. His ability to win Masters 1000 series on hard courts and other big tournaments does not go unnoticed.

Anyone who can win the US Open five times consecutively is doing something right. His best days might be behind him now, but he is still a player many envies to this day.

1. Novak Djokovic

  • Win Percentage (Hard-Court): 84.2%
  • Grand Slam Titles (Hard-Court): 12

Novak Djokovic is the most dominant player in the history of the Australian Open. He also has found a way to win three U.S. Opens, which isn’t bad for someone still looking for more.

All that adds up to him being the most dominant player in the history of the sport on the surface. His consistency not only at the Grand Slams but regular tour events also play a factor.

The reason why he’s able to have so much success comes down to his all-around game. He has no actual weakness, and he never tires. It takes a monumental effort to beat him in a Grand Slam on hard courts.

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