Top 15 Best Male Tennis Players in History

Want to know the top male tennis players who have left a legacy of a lifetime?

Tennis was initially known as racket sport many centuries ago. It was mainly for the elites. However, in the 1970s, the sport was open to everyone and not just the privileged. 

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic

Ever since many players have come and gone, and many great players have proved the reason they are the best. Currently, we are watching the greatest players of this time, like Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic

It is a big challenge to list out only 15 top male tennis players from 1968. Nevertheless, here are the top 15 greatest male tennis players who proved that they are the best for a reason. 

Top 15 Male Tennis Players

Before we dive right into the player’s information, let us look at the overview of the list. The information has been gathered from Wikipedia and Tennis.com

Name of the playerCountry
1. Novak DjokovicSerbia
2. Roger FedererSwitzerland
3. Rafael NadalSpain
4. Rod LaverAustralia
5. Pete SamprasUnited States
6. Bjorn BorgSweden
7. Ivan LendlCzechoslovakia
8. Jimmy ConnorsUnited States
9. John McEnroeGermany
10. Andre AgassiUnited States
11. Ken RosewallAustralia
12. Andy MurrayUnited Kingdom
13. Don BudgeUnited States
14. Bill TildenUnited States
15. Roy EmersonUnited States

15. Roy Emerson

  • Full name: Roy Stanley Emerson AC
  • Turned pro: 1953
  • Retired: 1983

Roy is a former Australian tennis player who played right-handed (one-handed backhand). He turned pro in 1953 and won his 1st Grand Slam doubles title in 1959. 

In his career, he has won 12 Grand Slams in singles and 16 in doubles. Overall, he has 26 Grand Slam titles and is the only player to complete a Career Grand Slam. 

Moreover, Roy was the first male tennis player to record 12 wins in singles majors and held the record for 20 years.

14. Bill Tilden 

  • Full name: William Tatem Tilden ll
  • Turned pro: 1931
  • Retired: 1946 

Bill had a short-lived career in tennis but a remarkable one. From 1920 to 1925, he won the title of the World’s Number 1 and won 10 Grand Slam titles

Bill Tilden 
Bill Tilden (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

He was the first American in tennis history to ever win a Wimbledon in 1920 and also has a World Hard Court under his name. He took over the tennis scene in the 1920s and held a single career record of 1726-506. 

Similarly, even during his amateur playing years, he won 138 games out of 192 and was the first professional tennis player to reach the finals of the Grand Slam.

13. Don Budge 

  • Full name: John Donald Budge
  • Turned pro: 1932
  • Retired: 1961

Next on our top male tennis players list is Don Budge, an American professional tennis player. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2000 but left a remarkable legacy in the tennis scene. 

John is the most famous tennis player in history and the only American male to win four Grand Slam matches in one year. Furthermore, he was the second male player ever to win Career Grand Slam. 

He is known to have the best backhand who won singles and doubles in the exact match.

12. Andy Murray 

  • Full name: Sir Andrew Barron Murray
  • Turned pro: 2005
  • Retired: Currently active

Andy Murray (born on May 15, 1987) is a British professional tennis player who plays right-handed (two-handed backhand). He was named World’s Number 1 by ATP in 2015 and sustained the position for 41 weeks. 

As of yet, Andy has won three Grand Slams which includes two Wimbledon and one US Open. Until now, he has successfully received over $61 million in prize money

Since his debut, Andy has experienced significant success as he made it to the top 10 lists a year after his debut.

11. Ken Rosewall

  • Full name: Kenneth Robert Rosewall
  • Turned pro: 1965
  • Retired: 1980

Born in New South Wales, Australia, Ken is a former professional tennis player who has won  147 career titles. Overall, he has recorded 23 major tennis wins in singles and 35 finals.

In 1963, Ken won the Pro Grand Slam with a record of 24 in prominent men’s doubles. Moreover, he has achieved nine grand slam titles and 15 Pro Slams. As prize money, he has won over $1.7 million throughout his career. 

Furthermore, from 1950-70 Ken achieved the title of World’s No. 1 Tennis player and ranked in the top 22 in 1977. He also recorded two wins in the World Pro Championship Tours in 1963 and 1964. 

Ken retired in 1968 and currently resides in Sydney with his family.

10. Andre Agassi

  • Full name: Andre Kirk Agassi 
  • Turned pro: 1986
  • Retired: 2006

Andre is a former professional tennis player who has recorded eight Major Champion wins. He is also an Olympic gold medalist from 1996, and the only player with a Super Slam win. 

Furthermore, Andre is one of the two tennis players who have recorded a Golden Slam win. At the age of 16, Agassi started to play professionally and won his first match ever. In his debut year, he ranked No. 91 among the best tennis players of 1986. 

He has won over $31 million throughout his career as prize money. In 2006, he retired from professional tennis and currently resides with his family in Las Vegas. 

9. John McEnroe

  • Full name: John Patrick McEnroe Jr.
  • Turned pro: 1978
  • Retired: 1994 (singles) and 2006 (doubles)

John is a former professional tennis player born in Germany. He made his Amateur debut in 1976 and turned pro in 1978. John was named the best tennis player in 1980. 

McEnroe is primarily famous for his skills in shot-making and volleying. Throughout his career, he has achieved 77 and 78 wins in singles and doubles, respectively. 

Moreover, he has won seven Grand Slam Titles, namely US Open four times, Wimbledon three times, Australian Open, and the French Open.

John has recorded 883-198 Singles wins and 530-103 doubles. Before he retired officially in 2006, he had won over $12 million as prize money.

Also, read Top 13 Rude Tennis Players of All Time.

8. Jimmy Connors

Jimmy is a professional tennis player from the United States. He made his amateur debut in 1970 and professionally in 1972. Two years after he debuted professionally, he was named the Number 1 tennis player in 1974.

He was given the Association of Tennis Professionals ranking in 1974 and held the title until 1977. In his career, he has played 1557 matches with 1274 wins and 109 career titles.

Jimmy Connors
Jimmy Connors (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Moreover, he has a career record of 174-78 in doubles with 16 career titles. Overall, he has 5 US Open titles, two Wimbledon, 4 French Open, and one Australian Open.

Furthermore, he has received over $8 million as prize money in his professional career.

Also, read Top 29 Jimmy Connors Quotes.

7. Ivan Lendl

  • Full name: Ivan Lendl
  • Turned pro: 1978
  • Retired: 1994

Ivan is a former professional tennis player born in Czechoslovakia and currently resides in the United States. He played for his hometown from 1978 to 1992 and the States from 1992. 

Lendl received the title of World’s No. 1 player in 1983 and sustained the title for 270 weeks. Overall, he has achieved 94 and 6 singles and doubles titles, respectively.

Moreover, he has two Australian Open titles, one French Open, one Wimbledon, and three US Opens. As a professional tennis player, Ivan has won over $21 million in prize money.

Lendl, after retiring, also got involved in gold and achieved a win on the Celebrity Tour.

6. Bjorn Borg

  • Full name: Bjorn Rune Borg
  • Turned pro: 1973
  • Retired: 1993

Bjorn is a former Swedish tennis player who plays right-handed (two-handed backhand). He turned pro in 1973 but had to go on a hiatus and later made his comeback in 1991. 

Borg was the first male player to ever win Grand Slam singles titles over 11 times. Moreover, he is also the first to win five Wimbledon titles.  He has also won one Australian Open, four French Open, and a Davis Cup in singles.

Bjorn has a career record of 654-140 in singles and 86-81 in doubles. In addition, he has successfully won over $3 million in prize money.

5. Pete Sampras

  • Full name: Petros Pete Sampras
  • Turned pro: 1988
  • Retired: 2003

Pete Sampras is a former professional tennis player who received his highest ranking of World Number 1 in 1993. He plays right-handed (one-handed backhand).

He officially made his debut in 1988 and retired from the US Open in 2002. The US Open was his last game in which he successfully achieved victory over Andre Agassi.

Pete has received 14 singles titles with seven Wimbledon, five US Open, and a couple of Australian Opens. 

Pete Sampras
Pete Sampras

Overall, he has recorded 64 singles titles and won prize money of over $43 million. Moreover, he was also included in the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2007 because of his remarkable records. 

Pete’s career records have achieved 762-227 in singles and 64-70 in doubles. He was also known as Pistol Pete because of his power and accurate serving. 

4. Rod Laver

  • Full name: Rodney George Laver
  • Turned pro: 1963
  • Retired: 1979

Rod Laver is a former Australian professional tennis player who plays left-handed (one-handed backhand). He played amateur tennis in 1963 and officially debuted professionally in 1956.

Rod was one of the very few who achieved the title of World’s Number 1 over nine times from 1964-70. He was even ranked No.1 when he played amateur tennis from 1961 to 1962.

Moreover, he has received the highest number of singles titles in tennis history, with 198 titles. Rod has recorded 11 Grand Slam singles titles, eight Pro Slam Titles, and five Davis Cups contributions for Australia.

Furthermore, the Laver Cup and Rod Laver Arena were named after him as his legacy. 

3. Rafael Nadal

  • Full name: Rafael Rafa Nadal
  • Turned pro: 2001
  • Retired: Currently active

Rafael is a Spanish professional tennis player who plays left-handed (two-handed backhand). He began his professional journey in 2001 and is still active in the scene. 

He is considered one of the greatest active tennis players of this generation. Association of Tennis Professionals ranked him World’s 5th best plater and ranked No.1 in the ATP rankings. 

Nadal has won 22 times in Grand Slam men’s singles titles, 36 Masters 1000, 13 French Open, and 11 doubles titles. He has won over $124 million in prize money, making him the third tennis player in All-time leader earnings. 

Moreover, he was ranked the Number 1 player in 2008 and currently holds the 5th position. 

2. Roger Federer

  • Full name: Roger Federer
  • Turned pro: 1998
  • Retired: Currently active

Roger Federer (born on the 8th of August 1981) is a Swiss professional tennis player who officially turned pro in 1998. He won his first ATP match against Guillaume Raoux in his debut year. 

Federer has achieved 20 Grand Slam singles titles and 8 career titles in doubles. Moreover, he has recorded 131-92 and 1251-275 in singles in doubles until now. Overall, he has 103 ATP titles as of yet. 

Roger Federer
Roger Federer

Roger is one of the big three who currently dominates the tennis scene, the other two being Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. In May 2020, Forbes revealed that Roger was the highest-paid athlete with $104 million approximately. 

At the 2021 French Open, Federer took the lead over Cilic with a 5-1. 

1. Novak Djokovic

  • Full name: Novak Djokovic
  • Turned pro: 2003
  • Retired: Currently active

The player who made it to the number 1 spot of the top male tennis player is the one and only Novak Djokovic. Novac is a professional tennis player from Serbia who plays right-handed (two-handed backhand). He is the greatest tennis player currently and received the World’s number 1 in 2011. 

As of February 2020, Novac holds the World’s Number 1 tennis player title and has maintained the ranking for 343 weeks and counting. 

Novac has won over 85 ATP singles titles, including nine Australian Open and a double career Grand Slam. Moreover, he has won over $153 million in prize money as of yet. 

In Conclusion, 

Tennis has always been one of the public’s favorite sports to enjoy. Also, with the kind of players mentioned above, the sport will always remain competitive. 

Lastly, the 15 top male tennis players were a challenge to rank as all of them are as talented and powerful. So, did your favorite player make it to the list?

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