9 Best US Tennis Players Of All Time

Currently, men’s tennis is not thriving nearly as much as it has in the past as far as players from the United States are concerned. While some talented players put up their best effort, they are not winning Grand Slams and dominating like throughout history.

In fact, out of the 9 players to make the all-time list, only one is active. Domination might eventually come back for the United States, but the best of the best are playing in other countries now. Who are the best US tennis players of all time? These 9 could compete against the best from any country.

9. Michael Chang

  • Grand Slams: 1
  • ATP Titles: 34
  • Highest Ranking: 2

It is pretty remarkable just how much Michael Chang was able to accomplish in his career. At age 17, he won the 1989 French Open, even though he was one of the smallest players on tour at a time. He never did win another Grand Slam, but he reached the final of the Australian Open, U.S. Open, and another French Open later on in his career.

Since he was so undersized, he had to rely on the defensive ability for the most part. His speed was one of the best on tour, and he could drive many opponents crazy. He never did reach number one in the world, but he peaked at number two in the world in 1996.

As a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, Chang is well respected amongst his peers. Not only was he well respected in the United States, but with family roots in Taiwan, he became a bit of an Asian celebrity as well.

8. John Isner

  • Grand Slams: 0
  • ATP Titles: 16
  • Highest Ranking: 8

Only one modern player is still on tour to make this list, and that is John Isner. The American had modest expectations when he joined the tour after college, as he was a bit of a late bloomer compared to his peers. However, he is still playing at a high level, maintaining a ranking in the top 30 for quite a while. He reached as high as number eight in the world and had one semifinal appearance at a Grand Slam to his name.

It might seem a bit shocking to put him above Michael Chang in these rankings, but it comes down to competition. Isner has been playing through the Big Three era, and it is challenging to win any Grand Slams during that time. He has won a few bigger tournaments, and he has 15 singles titles to his name in total.

Without question, Isner is near or at the top of the most dominant servers ever. He is consistently leading the ATP tour with aces, and it is nearly impossible to break him when he is on. The game that he plays is suited for longevity, as there is an excellent chance he could be playing five more years on tour until he is 40 or older.

7. Andy Roddick

  • Grand Slams: 1
  • ATP Titles: 32
  • Highest Ranking: 1

In another era, there is a good chance that Andy Roddick would be considered one of the best tennis players in the sport’s history. He is still in the top 10 as far as Americans are concerned, but only winning one Grand Slam title certainly hurts his case a little. Of course, his prime lined up almost exactly with Roger Federer, who is arguably the top player of all time.

Winning the U.S. Open in 2003 is still the last time the American man won a Grand Slam title. Many thought that he was destined for many more wins, but he could never get over the hump again. His three Wimbledon finals certainly sting, as he was very close to taking home the prestigious title. The fact that he never really had much success on clay courts is another knock on why he is a little further down his list.

He does get credit for being one of his era’s most intimidating players, including having a devastating serve. He ranked number one in the world shortly after his U.S. Open title and stayed a competitive player in majors for quite a bit.

6. Jim Courier

  • Grand Slams: 4
  • ATP Titles: 23
  • Highest Ranking: 1

A lot of people forget about just how good of a player Jim Courier was during his prime. He was able to win a total of four Grand Slam titles, and he was relatively close to winning all four majors at some point in his career. He reached the final of Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, but never took home the trophy.

What makes him such a well-respected player is that he was pretty steady for quite a while. Not only was he a mainstay on the Davis Cup teams for the United States, but he was able to stay in the top 10 for a good amount of his career.

He did reach number one in the world in 1992, and although he did not stay there for too long, it was long enough for him to be considered one of the best of the best to do it for the United States.

5. Ivan Lendl

  • Grand Slams: 8
  • ATP Titles: 94
  • Highest Ranking: 1

Lendl was the one player on this list who represented another country before switching to the United States. The native of Czechoslovakia became one of the most consistent players on tour when he first joined in the 1970s, and he was playing at a high level all the way into the mid-1990s.

As if the eight Grand Slam titles are not enough, he has the record for most runner-up finishes with 11. Some people knock him for not being able to win the big one as consistently as he should, while others are impressed by making 19 finals in that way.

The one championship that eluded him was Wimbledon, as he was a two-time finalist in London. Many thought that he found a way to maximize his ability, and his heavy topspin on the ball ushered in a new style of play still used today.

4. Jimmy Connors

  • Grand Slams: 8
  • ATP Titles: 109
  • Highest Ranking: 1

People tend to go back-and-forth debating between Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe, but many agree that McEnroe had a better prime. In contrast, Connors had a long career as a strong competitor in majors. Connors had a stretch from 1974 to 1978 when he was the world’s top-ranked player, and he accumulated 119 victories.

As much as they were rivals, McEnroe and Connors shared the distinction of just falling short at the French Open. Some would say that meant that he could not play on clay, but he did win the U.S. Open title on grass, clay court, and hardcourt. He is the only player in tennis history to pull that feat off.

A person could go either way on which one of these two is best, but they deserve to be third and fourth on this list. He was not a perfect player, and sometimes his emotions got the best of him, but if it was not for his attitude, there is a chance that he would not be this high in the first place.

3. John McEnroe

  • Grand Slams: 7
  • ATP Titles: 77
  • Highest Ranking: 1

John McEnroe is known just as much for his success on the court as he is for his outbursts. He is credited as one of the players who helped popularize tennis during his prime, and he is still very much talked about as a commentator in today’s game.

With a total of seven Grand Slam titles, he was able to more than just hold his own in an era with quite a few dominant players. His game is a bit outdated compared to players now, but he was a classic serve and volleyer who competed for every single point.

Did his attitude cost him a few shots at additional majors at some point in his career? Many people believe that it did more harm than good at times, but he would not be near as remembered now as he is if it was not for that attitude.

2. Andre Agassi

  • Grand Slams: 8
  • ATP Titles: 60
  • Highest Ranking: 1

Sampras might have Agassi be on total Grand Slams, but it is hard to argue against Andre Agassi being the best all-around tennis player of all time. He was able to win Grand Slams on every surface, and his ability to adapt during his career makes him one of the all-time greats.

Agassi burst onto the scene as one of the flamboyant young players who seemed to play and do things his way. He was not shy about taking tennis to another level, and it certainly seemed like it worked for him from the beginning.

How does he rank second? His Grand Slam championships certainly help, and he also has a gold medal to his name by winning it all in 1996. He was ranked number one in the world multiple times, and even had a bounce back in his career after doing so well early on.

1. Pete Sampras

  • Grand Slams: 14
  • ATP Titles: 64
  • Highest Ranking: 1

Pete Sampras has the most Grand Slams in tennis history when looking at players from the United States. The outstanding serve and volleyer were able to have a lot of success with his playstyle, which led to a long and successful career overall. He might not be the most well-rounded player in tennis history, but he was dominant while forcing players to adapt to him.

The crazy thing about Sampras is that he could have so much success without really evolving with the rest of the game. He was notorious for keeping the same racquets throughout history and stuck to a game plan that was simple yet effective. It is hard to argue with the results.

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