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Who is the Greatest Tennis Player of All Time?

Updated on November 27, 2010
Bill Tilden
Bill Tilden
Bjorn Borg
Bjorn Borg
Pete Sampras
Pete Sampras
Roger Federer
Roger Federer

Who is the Greatest Tennis Player of all time?

Who is the Greatest Tennis Player of All Time?

Tennis is one of the oldest sports, with a variable tradition dating back to the early nine-teen hundreds. Wimbledon, the first major tournament in the sport, has become one of the most prestigious titles to win in all of sport. Win Wimbledon and instantly be entered in the upper echelons of tennis history. To win such an event one has to win seven straight matches, something – to some players - seems impossible.

And to win it not once, but two, three, four, and five times?

Well, that truly must be impossible.

And that’s where the sport of Tennis differs from the rest of the sporting world; it is able to create legends, players that become bigger than life, living and breathing idols. Boris Becker, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, John McEnroe, Rod Laver, Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors, Roger Federer- all of these players have done the impossible, winning championships more than once. They all became legends the hard way – they had to go out there, work hard, and find success. They’re giants among men (at least in the tennis world).

People like to talk about who is the greatest tennis player of all time; it’s in our nature, we want to determine who’s the biggest of the big; we want to know who’s head we should tilt skyward to. When it comes to tennis the first place we should look to is the stats and accomplishments.

Who is the greatest tennis player of all time? Let's look at the stats.

Most Grand Slam Titles:

Roger Federer: 16

Pete Sampras: 14

Roy Emerson: 12

Rod Laver: 11

Bjorn Borg: 11

Bill Tilden: 10

Andre Agassi: 8

Jimmy Connors: 8

Looking at this list the answer looks easy: Roger Federer is the greatest player tennis player of all time. His career thus far also has all the accolades to back that up; besides winning sixteen grand slam titles, he`s also had the number one spot for over three-hundred weeks, has won career earnings over 50 million dollars. He definitely, without a doubt, is the most successful player in the history of tennis, but is he the greatest tennis player of all time?

Consider this:

  • · Rod Laver played at a time where, for a while, professionals weren’t allowed to play in the big tournaments. During his prime years he was forced to sit on the sidelines and it is without a doubt that he would have won at least two or more grand slams.
  • · During the 80’s the Australian Open was considered a joke to many of the players, an extra tournament thrown in at the beginning of the year. The top players at the time, who were winning the French, Wimbledon and the US open weren’t playing the Australian. Whereas a player like Roger Federer has won there five times; take away those five titles and he’s back in the middle of the pack.
  • · Roger Federer is great, but he still hasn’t really conquered the French. He’s won there once, but not against the clay king, Rafael Nadal. If he can’t beat his biggest rival on his biggest surface than can he really be considered the best?
  • · Roger Federer has yet to win the calendar grand slam – four consecutive grand slam wins in the same year –something that only has been accomplished by Rod Laver.

The classification of who is the greatest tennis player of all time is a subjective process. It can be biased, and opinionated. What is certain is that Roger Federer is the most successful of all time, but is he the greatest to ever stroke a tennis ball?

Who do you thing is the greatest tennis player of all time? (The GOAT)


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    • bjornborgboxers profile image


      7 years ago from The Netherlands

      As unrealistic as it is, I would love to see the 'oldies' play against this generation with improved equipment and all. :)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Your clarification in this hub is true but when he has achieved more than the others in the pack, it concludes that he is the greatest!! There can be innumerable ifs and buts but the end thing is the total achievement compared to others!! A point to add, Australian Open was earlier played on grass and had it been now, Federer may have had a couple more to his 16!! So we really cant count it that way!!

      Thanks for this wonderful hub!!


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