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Top 100 Tennis Players of All time

Updated on September 10, 2012
Roger Federer on Centre Court at the 2008 Wimbledon
Roger Federer on Centre Court at the 2008 Wimbledon | Source

Comparing players from different eras--amateur versus professional, pre-open era to Open Era, war years and not war years--is extremely difficult. Some would say it's impossible. During the week of March 19, 2012 in a 5-part series, The Tennis Channel aired a countdown of the Top 100 Tennis Players of all time. Whether or not you agree with the final rankings, here they are as aired.

Compiling the list here and fact checking was as much an education in tennis history as watching the original 5 part series on the Tennis Channel. Discuss what you think about these rankings in the comments below. This kind of debate is good for Tennis.

The Top 10

Ranking
Player
Years Active
Accomplishments
1
Roger Federer (Switzerland)
1998 to Present
17 Major titles; Career Grand Slam; Year-end #1 Four Times
2
Rod Laver (Australia)
1956 to 1979
11 Major titles; only male to win the Grand Slam ('62 & '69)
3
Steffi Graf (Germany)
1982 to 1999
22 Major titles, only player with a Golden Slam
4
Martina Navratilova (USA)
1973 to 2006
18 Major titles; 167 Singles titles (a record); Career Grand Slam
5
Pete Sampras (USA)
1988 to 2002
14 Major titles, 6 years in a row ranked #1
6
Rafael Nadal (Spain)
2001 to Present
11 Major titles, Career Grand Slam
7
Bjorn Borj (Sweden)
1972 to 1993
11 Major titles; won French and Wimbledon 1978-1980
8
Margaret Smith Court (Australia)
1959 to 1977
24 Major titles, 1970 Grand Slam, 48 Major titles in doubles
9
Chris Evert
1971 to 1989
18 Major titles, 157 singles times, won at least 1 major for 13 years in a row,highest winning percentage in history (.900)
10
Billie Jean King
1959 to 1983
12 Major titles, Career Grand Slam, 27 Major titles in doubles
The two greatest of all time: Roger Federer and Rod Laver spending time together at the 2012 Australian Open
The two greatest of all time: Roger Federer and Rod Laver spending time together at the 2012 Australian Open | Source

Players 11-20

Ranking
Player
Years Active
Accomplishments
11
Don Budge (USA)
1934 to 1938
6 Major titles, first player to win the Grand Slam (1938)
12
Andre Agassi (USA)
1986 to 2006
8 Major titles, Career Grand Slam, Olympic Gold Medal 1996
13
John McEnroe (USA)
1977 to 1992
7 Major titles, 170 weeks at #1, 6 Davis Cup titles
14
Serena Williams (USA)
1997 to Present
13 Major titles, Career Grand Slam, 2 Olympic Gold Medals
15
Jimmy Connors (USA)
1970 to 1996
8 Major titles, 109 singles titles (open era men's record), ranked #1 from 1974 to 1978, only player to win US Open on 3 different surfaces
16
Bill Tilden (USA)
1912 to 1930
10 Major titles, 7 David Cup Championships, 6 Straight US Open Championships
17
Roy Emerson (Australia)
1954 to 1977
12 Major titles, 8 Davis Cup Championsips, 16 Major doubles titles
18
Ivan Lendl (Czechoslovakia)
1978 to 1994
8 Major titles, Reached record 8 straight US Open Finals, 94 singles titles
19
Monica Seles (USA)
1988 to 2003
9 Major titles, youngest ever French Open champion (16 years, 6 months), only open era player to win first 6 grand slam finals
20
Ken Rosewall (Australia)
1951 to 1980
8 Major titles, oldest US Open Champion (35 years, 10 months), won majors in 3 different decades

Players 21-30

Ranking
Player
Years Active
Accomplishments
21
Boris Becker (Germany)
1984 to 1999
6 Major titles, won Wimbledon at 17
22
Venus Williams (USA)
1997 to Present
7 Major titles, Olympic Gold in singles and doubles
23
Fred Perry (Great Britain)
1927 to 1940
8 Major titles, 3 consecutive Wimbledon titles
24
Suzanne Lenglen (France)
1919 to 1927
8 Major titles, 2 Olympic gold medals, only 1 loss in career
25
Stefan Edberg (Sweden)
1983 to 1996
6 Major titles, #1 ranking in singles and doubles, reached 4 straight major finals
26
Justine Henin (Belgium)
1999 to 2011
7 Major titles, Olympic Gold Medal, 3 straight years at #1
27
Maureen Connolly (USA)
1951 to 1954
9 Major titles, Grand Slam (1953), 9 straight majors until career ending injury
28
Arthur Ashe (USA)
1967 to 1980
3 Major titles, first African American make to win a major, won first US "Open"
29
Helen Wills Moody (USA)
1921 to 1939
19 Major titles, Didn't drop a set from 1927 to 1932
30
Martina Hingis (Switzerland)
1994 to 2007
5 Major titles, Ranked #1 for 80 weeks, won Australian Open at aged 16

Players 31-40

Ranking
Player
Years Active
Accomplishments
31
John Newcombe (Australia)
1962 to 1981
7 Major titles, record 12 Major double titles with Tony Roche
32
Lew Hoad (Australia)
1952 to 1965
3 Major titles, won 3 of 4 majors in 1956, Career Grand Slam in doubles
33
Mats Wilander (Sweden)
1981 to 1996
7 Major titles, won 3 of 4 majors in 1988, held #1 ranking for 20 weeks
34
Jack Kramer (USA)
1939 to 1954
2 Major titles, created professional tennis
35
Pancho Gonzales (USA)
1947 to 1973
2 Major titles, consistently #1 on Jack Kramer's Pro tour, won 5 hr 12 min match at Wimbledon at age 41
36
Rene Lacoste (France)
1924 to 1933
7 Major titles, invented ball machine, metal racket, and polo shirt
37
Evonne Goolagong (Australia)
1969 to 1983
7 Major titles, won Wimbledon as a mother, reached 18 major finals
38
Maria Bueno (Brazil)
1958 to 1977
7 Major titles, 12 Major doubles titles
39
Althea Gibson (USA)
1947 to 1959
5 Major titles, first African American to win a Major
40
Novak Djokovic (Serbia)
2003 to Present
5 Major titles, won 3 of 4 Majors in 2011

Players 41-50

Ranking
Player
Years Active
Accomplishments
41
Guillermo Vilas (Argentina)
1969 to 1992
3 Major titles, record 46 match win streak
42
Jim Courier (USA)
1988 to 2000
4 Major titles, held #1 ranking for 58 weeks
43
Lindsay Davenport (USA)
1993 to 2010
3 Major titles, 1996 Olympic Gold Medal, finished year end #1 four times
44
Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario (Spain)
1985 to 2002
4 Major titles
45
Kim Clijsters (Belgium)
1997 to Present
4 Major titles, reached #1 in singles and doubles
46
Henri Cochet (France)
1921 to 1942
8 Major titles, member of the French "Four Musketeers"
47
Jean Borotra (France)
1921 to 1942
5 Major titles, member of the French "Four Musketeers"
48
Frank Sedgman (Australia)
1947 to 1967
5 Major titles, 18 Major doubles titles, won Grand Slam in doubles
49
Ilie Nastase (Romania)
1966 to 1985
2 Major titles, 2-time Wimbledon finalist
50
Tony Trabert (USA)
1948 to 1969
5 Major titles, won 3 of 4 Majors in 1955, commentated for 30 years

Players 51-60

Ranking
Player
Years Active
Accomplishments
51
Doris Hart (USA)
1940 to 1955
6 Major titles, 23 Major doubles and mixed doubles titles
52
Jack Crawford (Australia)
1928 to 1940
6 Major titles, inspired term "Grand Slam," record 7 consecutive major finals
53
Tracy Austin (USA)
1978 to 1994
2 Major titles, won US Open at age 16, ended Chris Evert's 125 match win streak on clay
54
Manuel Santana (Spain)
1958 to 1970
4 Major titles
55
Gustavo Kuerten (Brazil)
1995 to 2008
3 Major titles, year end #1
56
Stan Smith (USA)
1964 to 1983
2 Major titles, "Stan Smith" brand of Adidas show is still popular
57
Jennifer Capriati (USA)
1990 to 2004
3 Major titles, 1992 Olympic Gold Medal
58
Alice Marble (USA)
1933 to 1944
5 Major titles, first woman to serve and volley, became a US spy during WWII
59
Margaret Osborne Dupont (USA)
1938 to 1962
6 Major titles, 31 Major doubles titles, Record 25 US Championship titles (singles and doubles combined)
60
Virginia Wade (Great Britain)
1968 to 1986
3 Major titles, won the first US "Open", last British person to win Wimbledon

Players 61-70

Ranking
Player
Years Active
Accomplishments
61
Neale Fraser (Australia)
1951 to 1963
3 Major titles, 11 Major doubles titles
62
Hana Mandlikova (Czechoslovakia)
1978 to 1990
4 Major titles
63
Lleyton Hewitt (Australia)
1998 to Present
2 Major titles, 2 time year end #1
64
Ellsworth Vines (USA)
1930 to 1940
3 Major titles, turned to golf in 1940
65
Pancho Segura (Ecuador)
1940 to 1962
3 time National Collegiate champion, Coach of Jimmy Connors
66
Bobby Riggs (USA)
1937 to 1973
3 Major titles, 1939 Wimbledon Triple Crown (Singles, Doubles, and Mixed). Famous for "Battle of the Sexes" against Billie Jean King.
67
Fred Stolle (Australia)
1956 to 1976
2 Major titles, 16 Major doubles and mixed doubles titles
68
Helen Hull Jacobs (USA)
1925 to 1941
5 Major titles, first woman to wear shorts on court
69
Louise Brough Clapp (USA)
1939 to 1959
6 Major titles, 29 Doubles and Mixed Doubles titles
70
Patrick Rafter (Australia)
1991 to 2003
2 Major titles, reached world #1, 2 time Wimbledon finalist

Players 71-80

Ranking
Player
Years Active
Accomplishments
71
Maria Sharapova (Russia)
2002 to Present
3 Major titles, Forbes' top earning female athlete
72
Gottfried von Cramm (Germany)
1932 to 1953
2 Major titles, 3 time Wimbledon finalist, historic David Cup rivalry with Don Budge
73
Jaroslav Drobny (Czechoslovakia)
1939 to 1960
3 Major titles, also a world champion hockey player
74
Tony Roche (Australia)
1963 to 1977
1 Major title, 12 Major doubles titles, coached 4 world #1s (Lendl, Rafter, Hewitt, and Federer). Considered the best lefty backhand volley of all-time
75
Pauline Betz Addie (USA)
1939 to 1946
5 Major titles (limited due to WWII), one of the first aggressive style female players
76
William Renshaw (Great Britain)
1880 to 1890
7 Wimbledon titles, 5 Wimbledon doubles titles with his brother Ernest
77
Molla Mallory (USA and Norway)
1912 to 1927
8 Major titles, helped to popularize the sport in the 1920s
78
Ashley Cooper (Australia)
1954 to 1974
5 Major titles, won 3 of 4 Majors in 1958
79
Gabriela Sabatini (Argentina)
1985 to 1996
1 Major title, 2 WTA Tour Championships, perhaps would have won more if she wasn't up against Steffi Graf (#3 on the list)in her prime
80
Marat Safin (Russia)
1997 to 2009
2 Major titles, Davis Cup title

Players 81-90

Ranking
Player
Years Active
Accomplishments
81
Vic Seixas (USA)
1940 to 1969
2 Major titles, competed in the US Championships 28 times, played his final US Open at the age of 46
82
Yevgeny Kafelnikov (Russia)
1992 to 2003
2 Major titles
83
Jan Kodes (Czechoslovakia)
1964 to 1980
3 Major titles
84
Norma Brookes (Australia)
1905 to 1920
3 Major titles, knighted in 1939
85
Yannick Noah (France)
1977 to 1996
1 Major title, now famous French rock star selling more than 5 Million records
86
Tony Wilding (New Zealand)
1909 to 1914
6 Major titles, 4 Davis Cup titles, one of the few amateurs who trained for tennis
87
Mary Pierce (France)
1989 to 2008
2 Major titles
88
Amelie Mauresmo (France)
1994 to 2009
2 Major titles
89
Dorothea Lambert Chambers (Great Britain)
1903 to 1927
7 Wimbledon titles, Olympic Gold Medal
90
Bill Johnston (USA)
1913 to 1927
3 Major titles, 7 Davis Cup titles

Players 91-100

Ranking
Player
Years Active
Accomplishments
91
Shirley Fry-Irvin (USA)
1949 to 1957
4 Major titles, career Grand Slam in singles and doubles
92
Svetlana Kutznetsova (Russia)
2000 to Present
2 Major titles, 1 Major doubles title
93
Nicola Pietrangeli (Italy)
1954 to 1972
2 Major titles, 120-44 in Davis Cup play and captained Italy to first ever Davis Cup title in 1976
94
Andy Roddick (USA)
2001 to Present
1 Major title, 1 year end #1, 9 years consecutive top 10 finishes
95
Thomas Muster (Austria)
1985 to 2011
1 Major title, 44 singles titles
96
Manual Orantes (Spain)
1968 to 1983
1 Major title, 2 Davis Cup titles
97
Pat Cash (Australia)
1981 to 1997
1 Major title, 2 time Major finalist, 2 Davis Cup titles
98
Henry Austin (Great Britain)
1926 to 1939
3 time Major finalist, 4 Davis Cup titles (3 titles in a row 1933-35), first player to wear shorts
99
Ann Hatdon-Jones (USA)
1959 to 1969
3 Major titles, 2 time US Championships finalist
100
Michael Chang (USA)
1988 to 2003
1 Major title, won 1989 Roland Garros at age 17, 34 career singles titles.

Know Your Tennis History

Top 100 by Country

Historically, tennis is believed to have originated in France in the 12th century. The modern game of tennis, originally called Lawn Tennis, began in England in the 1870s. Because of these English origins, it's not surprising that countries from the former British Empire dominate the top 100 list. Things are changing, however, as recent decades see a more International mix. Below is the breakdown from where in the world the Greatest 100 Tennis Players of all-time come.

Country
# of Players in Top 100
United States
34
Australia
17
France
7
Great Britain
5
Czechoslovakia, Russia, Spain
4
Germany, Sweden
3
Argentina, Brazil, Belgium, Switzerland
2
Austria, Ecuador, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Romania, and Serbia
1

Top 100 by Gender

Men
Women
61
39

Comments

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    • DeanoG profile image

      DeanoG 5 years ago from Colorado

      Great hub! I definitely think McEnroe should be in the top 10 though. He has over 70 titles for both singles and doubles. The most ever if I'm not mistaken.

    • MickiS profile image
      Author

      MickiS 5 years ago from San Francisco

      I agree with you, DeanoG. I was shocked that he was not in the top 10 and that Borg was. McEnroe has 77 career ATP titles, but it's third on the list. Connors has the most with 109, and Lendl second with 94.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Great hub, great to see 5 women in the top 10 and have always been a long admirer of Martina Navratilova from first she appeared on the tennis circuit.Would have thought she was no.1 considering her unreal record in singles and doubles.

    • MickiS profile image
      Author

      MickiS 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks, Suzie. I'm a huge Navratilova fan as well. But when you stack up her accomplishments to Steffi Graf, it actually makes you wonder why Steffi is not above Laver and Federer!

    • profile image

      ein 4 years ago

      McEnroe, Evert and Borg should be in the Top Ten and Nadal and Sampras behind them for now. If Nadal improves his hard court record he could move up but he is primarily a clay court specialist.

    • MickiS profile image
      Author

      MickiS 4 years ago from San Francisco

      I have to agree with you, ein, that I was shocked that Nadal was so high in the rankings. It will be interesting to see The Tennis Channel do this list again in 10 years after Nadal is long gone from the tour.

    • profile image

      phoenix83 4 years ago

      This would be my top ten, if we are combining the men and women:

      1. Roger Federer

      2. Steffi Graf

      3. Martina Navratilova

      4. Rod Laver

      5. Chris Evert

      6. Pete Sampras

      7. Bjorn Borg

      8. Serena Williams

      9. Margaret Court

      10. Rafa Nadal

    • dilipchandra12 profile image

      Dilip Chandra 4 years ago from India

      Remarkable hub, excellent information was in here and was very well written. Thanks for sharing the above informative hub. Voted UP

    • profile image

      Andy W. 4 years ago

      Why is "Steffi Graf" behind "Roger Federer"? This is a strange comparison. It`s normal, that men can hit harder than a woman, but when you look at the important wins, then Steffi Graf is "Number 1" by far. A Grand-Slam and then Gold Medal in Olympic Games, all in the same year. And 22 Grand Slams in the whole. So, when you do the strange thing of mixing female and male together in one list, then ony GRAF can be the number 1.

    • MickiS profile image
      Author

      MickiS 4 years ago from San Francisco

      I totally agree with you Andy W. In my book, Steffi Graf is the greatest ever. You should direct your question to the Tennis Channel as this list reflects what they aired.

    • profile image

      Dan1975 9 months ago

      While it wasn't Steffi's fault, the Seles stabbing upped her major win total immensely. Seles was dominating everyone, including Graf. She wasn't good on grass, so you've gotta like Steffi there. I think Steffi would've settled right behind Crissy and Martina in major wins, Seles too. We were robbed of that kind of rivalry. The golden grand slam is incredibly special. She was cruising through tourneys six, love, six, love back then.

    • profile image

      Hiep Nguyen 6 months ago

      I think TOP 10 including both male and female:

      1. Roger Federer

      2. Steffi Graf

      3. Rod Laver

      4. Serena Williams

      5. Rafeal Nadal

      6. Martina Navratilova

      7. Pete Sampras

      8. Novak Djokovic

      9. Margaret Smith Court

      10. Bjorn Borg

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