20 Greatest Men’s Tennis Players Of All Time

Who is the best tennis player of all time? Ask that question to any tennis fan and you will be up for a long and hectic debate. It’s extremely hard to rank players that had their prime in different era’s, but there are some major things to consider before ranking the best players of all time in tennis.

One thing that I’ve considered prior to making this list is grand slam wins and overall ranking throughout their whole career. Many players can claim that word No.1 spot for a year, but not many can hold it for 2, 3 or even 5 years. Here are the 20 greatest men’s tennis players of all time.


20. Stan Wawrinka

  • Country: Switzerland
  • Born: 1985
  • Turned Pro: 2002
  • Grand Slam Titles: 3
  • Career Titles: 16
  • Prize Money Winnings: $33.6M

Stan Wawrinka have during his whole career been in the shadow of his compatriot Roger Federer. He was born in the wrong era, if Nadal, Djokovic and Federer wouldn’t exist, Wawrinka would have added many more Grand Slam titles to his current 3.

To win 3 grand slam titles in the toughest era of all time, shows the greatness of Wawrinka and no-one can say that he doesn’t deserves a spot on this list. For over 15 years, Stan has consistently been one of the most competitive players on tour and one of few that can beat the big 3. Known for his one-handed backhand, it’s always entertaining to watch “Stan The Man” play tennis.


19. Guillermo Vilas

  • Country: Argentina
  • Born: 1952
  • Turned Pro: 1969
  • Retired: 1992
  • Grand Slam Titles: 4
  • Career Titles: 16
  • Prize Money Winnings: $4.9M

The Argentinean Guillermo Vilas was one of the dominating players during the serve and volley era in the 70s & 80s. He was the first ever south American to ever win a grand slam title, and at his retirement day, he had scraped up 4 grand slam titles.

Vilas holds several different world records, including a 46 match win streak in the 1977. He also holds the record for most singles titles won in one single season, with 16 ATP titles during the same 1977 season.


18. Jim Courier

  • Country: USA
  • Born: 1970
  • Turned Pro: 1988
  • Retired: 2000
  • Grand Slam Titles: 4
  • Career Titles: 23
  • Prize Money Winnings: $14M

The former world No.1 Jim Courier was one of the best tennis players during the 90s. He spent an impressing 58 weeks at the No.1 spot during the 1994-95 season and have won a total of 4 Grand Slam titles. Including 2 Roland Garros and 2 Australian Open titles.

Jim Courier is one of the best players to ever play on a hard court, but to claim a higher spot than 18th on this list, he needs to have a better overall game that works on all surfaces. He wasn’t able to get anything near the same results during the clay and grass season.


17. Andy Murray

  • Country: Great Britain
  • Born: 1987
  • Turned Pro: 2005
  • Grand Slam Titles: 3
  • Career Titles: 46
  • Prize Money Winnings: $61M

Andy Murray was just like Wawrinka, born in the wrong era. Despite being in the shadow of the big 3 during most of his career, there is no other player that have been as competitive against them than Andy Murray himself. For several years when Andy Murray was in his prime, there are arguments that the big 3 should be renamed big 4 with Andy Murray included.

He was actually the world No.1 for half a year during the 2016-2017 season, which isn’t the easiest task with Djokovic, Nadal and Federer playing aside. He got an impressing 3 Grand Slam titles to his name, but that could be much more, he lost during his career, 8 grand slam finals.

Winning 3 out of 11 Grand Slam finals is one of the worst results in the history of tennis, but it really shows how consistent Andy Murray have been at the top, despite “only” winning 3 Grand Slam titles


16. John Newcombe

  • Country: Australia
  • Born: 1944
  • Turned Pro: 1967
  • Retired: 1981
  • Grand Slam Titles: 6
  • Career Titles: 34
  • Prize Money Winnings: $1M

The former world No.1 John Newcombe is one of the few players that have attained the world No.1 ranking in both singles and doubles. He won a total of 6 Grand Slam singles titles and a former world record of 17 doubles titles.

John Newcombe was known for his speed, deadly forehand and serve. Newcombe was also known for being at his best in the most important matches. An example of this is that he played 10 Wimbledon finals during his career and only lost one of them.

He was also one of the most consistent players in the world, being ranked inside the top 10 for over 10 consecutive years (1965-1975). John Newcombe successful career have gone down in the history as one of the greatest of all time.


15. Mats Wilander

  • Country: Sweden
  • Born: 1964
  • Turned Pro: 1981
  • Retired: 1996
  • Grand Slam Titles: 7
  • Career Titles: 33
  • Prize Money Winnings: $8M

Most talented tennis player born in the 19th century? Mats Wilander was only 17 years old when he won hist first French Open title 1982, which is still today the youngest player ever to win a Grand Slam title. That is not his only Grand Slam record, he also holds the record of most Grand Slam titles won before turning 20 (4 titles).

Mats Wilander wasn’t able to to keep that good streak going throughout his whole career, but he still managed to win another 3 Grand Slams before retiring at the age of 32. He was ranked the world No.1 during the 1988-89 season and was considered to be one of the greatest tennis players of all time back in the 90s.


14. Roy Emerson

  • Country: USA
  • Born: 1936
  • Turned Pro: 1953
  • Retired: 1983
  • Grand Slam Titles: 12

The best tennis player before the Open Era? Roy Emerson have gone down in history as the most talented and successful tennis player before the Open Era. He had his prime in the 60s and was ranked No.1 in the world during the 1964-65 season and no-one was even near his level back then.

Roy Emerson managed to win a total of 12 Grand Slam titles during his career, which was the record for many years before the 21th century era with the big 3 began. He is not only known as one of the most successful tennis players of all time, but also due to his 30 year long career. He retired at the age 47, which would be pretty much impossible in todays tennis world.


13. Stefan Edberg

  • Country: Sweden
  • Born: 1966
  • Turned Pro: 1983
  • Retired: 1996
  • Grand Slam Titles: 6
  • Career Titles: 41
  • Prize Money Winnings: $20.6M

The former world No.1 Stefan Edberg was one of the most successful tennis players during the 90s. After he won the Wimbledon title 1990, he claimed the No.1 spot for the first time in his career and he held that for over 70 weeks. Edberg is to this date the only player to win all the 4 Junior Grand Slams in one calendar year (1983).

Stefan Edberg broke the record of most consecutive Grand Slam appearances (54) in the late 90s, which eventually got broken by the American Wayne Ferreira. During his career, Edberg achieved 6 Grand Slam titles. 2 at Wimbledon, 2 US Opens and 2 at the Australian Open.


12. Ken Rosewall

  • Country: Australia
  • Born: 1934
  • Turned Pro: 1956
  • Retired: 1980
  • Grand Slam Titles: 8
  • Prize Money Winnings: $1.6M

Ken Rosewall is one of the most consistent players in the history of tennis. He was ranked inside the top 20 for over 25 years, which no-one had achieved before. Ken won one of his 8 Grand Slam titles at the age of 38, which makes him the oldest player to ever win a Grand Slam title.

He was a machine on court and many compare him to the Spaniard tennis star Roberto Bautista-Agut, who have a very similar play-style. Winning 3 Grand Slam titles after turning 35 is certainly impressing, will anyone ever break that record?


11. Boris Becker

  • Country: Germany
  • Born: 1967
  • Turned Pro: 1984
  • Retired: 1999
  • Grand Slam Titles: 6
  • Career Titles: 49
  • Prize Money Winnings: $25M

The German tennis legend Boris Becker is another former world No.1 player. He started of at the age of 17 as one of the most promising talents in the history of tennis 1984, which he showed by winning 6 singles titles that year. The success didn’t end here, only 1 year later, he won the Wimbledon Championships, making him the youngest player ever to win that title.

During his career, he won 6 Grand Slam titles. 3 Wimbledons, 2 Australian Opens and 1 at the US Open. He was ranked No.1 in the world for a brief period during the 1991 season.


10. Jimmy Connors

  • Country: USA
  • Born: 1952
  • Turned Pro: 1972
  • Retired: 1996
  • Grand Slam Titles: 8
  • Career Titles: 109
  • Prize Money Winnings: $8.6M

The American Jimmy Connors is by many considered as one of the greatest of all time. Back then, he had the record of most weeks spent at the world No.1 spot, with an impressing 268 weeks. That record is today held by Roger Federer with 310 weeks.

Jimmy is one of the few players that have won three Grand Slams during one calendar year (he didn’t participate in the 4th). He had one of the longest careers at the professional level in the history of tennis as the retired at the age of 43.


9. Ivan Lendl

  • Country: Czechoslovakia
  • Born: 1970
  • Turned Pro: 1978
  • Retired: 1994
  • Grand Slam Titles: 8
  • Career Titles: 94
  • Prize Money Winnings: $21M

Mostly known today for being the coach of the 3 time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray, but for about 30 years ago, he had one of the most successful careers tennis in the history of the sport.

Ivan Lendl was considered as the greatest tennis player in the world during the late 80s. He held the world No.1 spot for over 270 weeks in the 80s and was the dominated force in all the Grand Slam tournament during that time. Lendl achieved a total of 8 Grand Slam titles during his career, 2 Australian Opens, 3 French Opens and 3 at the US Open.


8. John McEnroe

  • Country: USA
  • Born: 1959
  • Turned Pro: 1978
  • Retired: 1994
  • Grand Slam Titles: 8
  • Career Titles: 94
  • Prize Money Winnings: $12.5M

The American tennis legend John McEnroe was known for his volley artistry and his controversial on-court behavior that more often than not, landed in troubles with the umpires and other connected tennis authorities. He is known for his rivalry against Jimmy Connors and Björn Borg, which 3 continuously switched between No.1,2 and 3 spot in the world.

His controversial behavior made tennis fans either hate or love him. McEnroe hated to lose and sometimes it got a little to far, but wouldn’t tennis be boring without players showing emotions?


7. Andre Agassi

  • Country: USA
  • Born: 1970
  • Turned Pro: 1986
  • Retired: 2006
  • Grand Slam Titles: 8
  • Career Titles: 60
  • Prize Money Winnings: $30M

One of the most legendary players of all time Andre Agassi is by many tennis fans considered the greatest tennis players of the 19th century. Agassi is a 8 time Grand Slam champion and an olympic gold medalist. Back in the 90s he was the first player to win 4 Australian Open titles, which eventually got surpassed by Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.

Andre Agassi was the first player in the history of tennis to win a Grand Slam title on 3 different surfaces (grass, clay, hard court). Andre Agassi or “The Punisher”, which nickname he had during most of his career, is not only one of greatest tennis players of all time, but also one of the most respected.


6. Rod Laver

  • Country: Australia
  • Born: 1938
  • Turned Pro: 1963
  • Retired: 1979
  • Grand Slam Titles: 11
  • Career Titles: 184
  • Prize Money Winnings:$1.5M

Rod Laver is a player that many would consider as one the greatest of all time. He won 11 grand slam titles and is the only player to twice win all the grand slams during the same calendar year.

Rod Laver dominated the tennis world during the 60s and was ranked the world No.1 between 1964-1970. With 184 singles titles to his name, he also holds the record of most titles won in the history of tennis. Back in the 60s-70s, he was considered the best tennis player of all time.


5. Björn Borg

  • Country: Sweden
  • Born: 1956
  • Turned Pro: 1973
  • Retired: 1983
  • Grand Slam Titles: 11
  • Career Titles: 64
  • Prize Money Winnings: €3.6M

Many fans would argue whether not Björn Borg deserves a 5th spot on this list, but I’m very confident that Borg deserves it. There is not any player in the world that have achieved the same things as him in the same time frame.

He is the youngest player of all time to win a grand slam title, when he won the French Open 1974 at the age of 17. After that he won 10 more grand slam titles before retiring at the early age of 26. There is no other player in the history of tennis that have won more grand slam titles before 25 than Björn Borg. What if he kept playing for another 5-10 years? Maybe he would be considered the greatest of all time.


4. Pete Sampras

  • Country: USA
  • Born: 1971
  • Turned Pro: 1988
  • Retired: 2002
  • Grand Slam Titles: 14
  • Career Titles: 64
  • Prize Money Winnings: $43M

Pete Sampras is the 4th greatest tennis player of all time. He have dominated the tennis world during the 90s and was considered at his retirement in 2002, the greatest tennis players of all time. Hard to argue with that back then with a record holding 14 grand slam titles.

However, with all those grand slam titles, he never won a French Open title. Sampras wasn’t the best clay court player, but considering he got 7 Wimbledon, 5 US Open and 2 Australian Open titles, he definitely deserves to be in 4th place on my list.


3. Novak Djokovic

  • Country: Serbia
  • Born: 1987
  • Turned Pro: 2003
  • Grand Slam Titles: 20
  • Career Titles: 85
  • Prize Money Winnings: $132M

The third greatest tennis player of all time has to be the Serbian Novak Djokovic. He is a prime example of what a late-bloomer is. Sure, Djokovic have always been a world class player, but at his 28th birthday he had “only” won 7 grand slam titles, after that? 9 grand slam titles in 4 years.

Djokovic have completely dominated the grand slam tournaments the last couple of years. If he surpass Nadal and Federer in the Grand Slam title rankings, he got all the arguments to be called the greatest of all time. Djokovic already got the record for most weeks spent at the world No.1 spot, and is most likely going to add many weeks to that before it’s time for retirement.


2. Rafael Nadal

  • Country: Spain
  • Born: 1986
  • Turned Pro: 2001
  • Grand Slam Titles: 20
  • Career Titles: 88
  • Prize Money Winnings: $115M

The 2th greatest player of all time is Rafael Nadal. It’s hard to argue that he shouldn’t be up here. He got 20 Grand Slam titles to his name and will most likely add one or two before it’s time to retire.

He may not be the overall greatest tennis player of all time, but he is most definitely the best tennis player to ever step on a clay court. With his unbelievable 13 French Open wins, it’s hard to argue about that statement.

Nadal could potentially surpass Roger Federer in the Grand Slam title rankings in a few years, should Nadal be considered the greatest of all time then?


1. Roger Federer

  • Country: Switzerland
  • Born: 1981
  • Turned Pro: 1998
  • Grand Slam Titles: 20
  • Career Titles: 102
  • Prize Money Winnings: $127M

The greatest tennis player of all time is Roger Federer. He have proven his talent for over 20 years and is still competing at the very highest level. Federer is the player that have the most Grand Slam titles in the world (20) and is second behind Djokovic in most weeks spent at the world No.1 spot.

He is a great role model on and off the field, inspiration to all kids growing up and an incredible athlete that will go down in the history as one of the greatest sportsmen of all time (all sports).

Fred Simonsson

I'm Fred, the guy behind TennisPredict. Apart from writing here, I play tennis on a semi-professional level and coach upcoming talents.

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