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Tennis is an unforgiving game. Matches are long, and the weather can be extreme. On the court, though, all eyes are on just two or four players.

Also, this famous sport takes amazing stamina, agility, power, and mental strength. Those who can overcome all of it and can win the Grand Slams to become a star.

Sports lovers are passionate at all times, and the one thing they want to know is this: who was the greatest performer of all time?

Are you curious and looking for names of the best tennis players of all time? If so, then you came to the right place.

Here we have listed our picks for the top 12 best tennis players of all time:

Top 12 Best Tennis Players of All Time

12. Stefen Edberg

Active Career: 1983 – 1996

Career titles: 42

Total prize money: $ 20,630,941

Weeks at number 1: 72

Stefen Edenberg (born 19 January 1966) is a former Swedish world number 1 tennis player in singles and doubles.

Moreover, the player is considered one of the best tennis players of all time.

In his era, he was regarded as one of the finest serve-and-volley players.

Even though he did not have a very powerful and dominating serve, his serve was very effective.

In fact, he used the less powerful kick or slice serve.

stefen edberg best tennis players of all time
Stefen Edberg After a Win

Edenberg’s precise and perfect serve was the main reason behind his conquest in two Australian (1985, 1987), Wimbledon (1988, 1990), and US Open (1991, 1992) championships.

Moreover, he was granted ITF World Champion Award in 1991 and ATP Player of the Year (1990, 1991).

11. Boris Becker

Active Career: 1984 – 1999

Career titles: 49

Total prize money: $ 25,080,956

Weeks at number 1: 12

Boris Becker (born on 22nd November of 1967) is a German former world number 1 tennis player.

“Boom Boom,” “Der Bomber,” and “Baron von Slam” were the nicknames given to him by his fans. He was well known for his well-placed and fast serve style.

Success was his friend from the beginning as he won the first of his six major singles titles at 17.

Boris Becker waving to fans (Source: Britannica)

Furthermore, his professional awards include ITF World Champion 1989, ATP Player of the Year 1989, ATP Most Improved Player 1985, and many more.

Becker excelled on fast surfaces, like grass courts and indoor carpets.

However, Boris would swear at himself, smash the rackets or offensively throw the ball when his game went bad.

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10. Rod Laver

Active Career: 1963 – 1979

Career titles: 72

Total prize money: $ 1,565,413

Weeks at number 1: 219

Rod Laver (born on 9th August of 1938) is an Australian former ranked number 1 tennis player.

Laver developed a technically sound serve-and-volley style that was complemented by aggressive groundstrokes.

Rod Laver posing next to a statue of himself outside the Laver arena.
Rod Laver is posing next to a statue of himself outside the Laver arena.

He was the fierce winner thanks to a mix of speed and strength (particularly wrist strength).

After Don Budge in 1938, he became the second male player to win all four singles major championships in a single year(1962) and repeat this Grand Slam in 1969.

Moreover, Laver has won many combined tours like NTL, WCT, and Grand Prix.

Thus, Rod Laver is one of the best tennis players of all time.

9. Andre Agassi

Active Career: 1986 – 2006

Career titles: 60

Total prize money: $ 31,152,975

Weeks at number 1: 101

Andre Agassi (born April 29, 1970) is an American former ranked number 1 tennis player.

Agassi preferred to play first-strike tennis, provoking a weak return with a deep, hard shot, and then he played at an extreme angle to conclude points quickly.

andre agassi best tennis player of all time
Andre Agassi Ready for the Serve

Additionally, he was well-known for his elegant and strong playing style to win various championships in the 1990s.

Also, he won eight Grand Slam championships and the “career Grand Slam” by winning four major tennis tournaments at least once.

Consequently, Andre Agassi was awarded ITF World Champion (1999), ATP Player of the Year (1999), and ATP Most Improved Player (1988, 1998).

8. Bjorn Borg

Active Career: 1973 – 1993

Career titles: 66

Total prize money: $ 3,655,751

Weeks at number 1: 109

Bjorn Borg (born 6 June 1956) is a former Swedish world number 1 ranked tennis player.

In his era, Bjorn had the most distinctive playing styles. With powerful groundstrokes, he played from the baseline.

Bjorn Borg in 1979

Bjorn was the first guy in the Open Era to win 11 Grand Slam singles titles between 1974 and 1981.

He is the first male player in the Open Era to win five Wimbledon titles.

Also, Bjorn Borg conquered many professional awards like ITF World Champion (1978, 1979, 1980) and ATP Player of the Year (1976 to 1980).

7. John McEnroe

Active Career: 1978 – 2006

Career titles: 77

Total prize money: $ 12,552,132

Weeks at number 1: 170

John McEnroe (born on 16th February of 1959) is an American former ranked number 1 tennis player.

McEnroe’s game was a mix of shot-making brilliance, deft volleys, and a rapid, aggressive style of play.

His rapid reflexes allowed him to return the biggest serves and passing shots brilliantly.

John McEnroe celebrating a win

John won nine men’s Grand Slam doubles titles and seven Grand Slam singles trophies, including four at the US Open and three at Wimbledon.

Moreover, he has owned many professional awards like ITF World Champion, ATP player of the year, ATP most improved player, Davis Cup Commitment Award, and many more.

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6. Pete Sampras 

Active Career: 1988 – 2003

Career titles: 64

Total prize money: $ 43,280,489

Weeks at number 1: 286

Pete Sampras (born on 12th August of 1971) is an American former ranked number 1 tennis player.

Sampras was an all-court player who served and volleyed frequently.

Moreover, his game plan was to attack from the baseline, force opponents on the defensive, and finish at the basket.

Pete Sampras with a trophy (Source: The New York Times)

Additionally, with a reasonable amount of net clearance for control, he created amazing speed and got a lot of spin on the ball.

At his retirement, Pete won 14 Grand Slam singles titles, an Open Era record, and seven Wimbledon trophies.

Moreover, Pete Sampras won two Australian Open titles and a joint Open Era record five US Open victories.

Likewise, his professional awards include ATP player of the year (1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998) and ITF World Champion (1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998).

Moreover, Sampras is the only player in Wimbledon history to win all seven finals.

5. Ivan Lendl

Active Career: 1978 – 1994

Career titles: 94

Total prize money: $ 21,262,417

Weeks at number 1: 270

Ivan Lendl (born March 7, 1960) is a Czech-American former ranked number 1 tennis player. Fans call him “The Terminator” and “Ivan the Terrible.”

Lendl’s forehand had a fast topspin, flat, and fast. It allowed him to dominate from the back of the court more effectively.

Ivan Lendl is trying to take a shot (Source: Money Inc)

Also, his running forehand, which he could direct down the line or cross-court, was his signature shot.

Moreover, Ivan won eight Grand Slam titles and was a joint-record 11 times as a runner-up. Also, it made him the first male player to reach 19 Grand Slam finals.

Ivan Lendl was awarded ITF World Champion (1985, 1986, 1987, 1990) and ATP Player of the Year (1985, 1986, 1987).

4. Jimmy Connors

Active Career: 1972 – 1996

Career titles: 109

Total prize money: $ 8,641,040

Weeks at number 1: 268

Jimmy Connors (born September 2, 1952) is an American former ranked number 1 tennis player.

Connors’ style of play has been acknowledged as a major influence in the present era of power tennis, particularly in the development of the flat backhand.

Jimmy Connors holding a 1982 Wimbledon Championship trophy (Source: Britannica)

Also, he is the first male player to hold the number one spot for more than 200 weeks.

Jimmy Connors has 109 titles, 1,557 matches played, and 1,274 match victories in the Open Era men’s singles.

Moreover, his accomplishments are eight grand slam singles titles, three year-end championships, and 17 Grand Prix Super Series trophies.

Furthermore, he has been granted many professional awards like ITF World Champion 1982, ATP Player of the Year (1974, 1982), and ATP Comeback Player of the Year (1991).

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3. Rafael Nadal

Active Career: 2001 – present

Career titles: 88

Total prize money: $ 124,937,195 till 2021

Weeks at number 1: 209

Rafael Nadal (born June 3, 1986) is a professional tennis player from Spain.

Nadal is recognized for his strong topspin groundstrokes, consistency, fast footwork, and relentless court covering.

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Rafael Nadal During a Tennis Match

The most loved and admired tennis player, Nadal, has a record of 13 French Open titles.

Moreover, his 81 consecutive wins on clay are the Open Era’s longest single-surface victory streak. Also, Nadal won the Olympic gold medal in 2008.

Nadal’s professional awards include Laureus World Sportsman of the Year (2011, 2021) and Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award 4 times.

Thus, his relentless gameplay makes him number 3 in the best tennis player of all time.

2. Roger Federer

Active Career: 1998 – present

Career titles: 103

Total prize money: $ 130,594,339 till 2021

Weeks at number 1: 310

Roger Federer (born August 8, 1981) is a professional tennis player from Switzerland.

The tennis player is also regarded as one of the best tennis players of all time.

Jimmy Connors has characterized Federer’s adaptability as: “In an era of specialists, you’re either a clay court specialist, a grass court specialist, or a hard court specialist… or you’re Roger Federer.”

Federer was only 19 years old when he stunned seven-time Wimbledon champion Pete Sampras in the fourth round in 2001, kicking off the tennis giants’ passing of the baton.

Roger Federer after a win (Source: Forbes)

Moreover, he is a world-class athlete noted for his quickness, fluid style of play, and superb shot-making. He is an all-court, all-around talent. 

The tennis player is also the first guy to reach ten Grand Slam tournament finals in a row and 31 Grand Slam finals overall in men’s singles.

Additionally, in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, he won a gold medal and silver medal in men’s doubles and men’s singles.

Likewise, Federer has won five ATP Player of the Year awards (2004–07, 2009) and five ITF World Championships (2004–07, 2009).

Moreover, he has won the ATPWorldTour.com Fans’ Favourite Award 18 times in a row (from 2003 to 20).

1. Novak Djokovic

Active Career: 2003 – present

Career titles: 85

Total prize money: $ 151,876,636 till 2021

Weeks at number 1: 331

Novak Djokovic (born on 22nd May of 1987) is a Serbian Professional Tennis player who is undoubtedly the best.

With his victory over Federer in the 2014 Wimbledon final, Djokovic became the first man to defeat Federer at all four Grand Slams, surpassing Rafael Nadal.

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic after winning Wimbledon

The champion has a total of 20 Grand Slam men’s singles titles, which is a joint record.

Furthermore, he has conquered 85 ATP singles titles. It includes a record nine Australian Open titles and a combined total of 36 Masters titles.

Moreover, Novak Djokovic is the only player in the Open Era to conquer career Grand Slam twice and the only player to win the career Golden Masters twice.

Likewise, he has won multiple professional awards like ITF World Champion (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2018), ATP Player of the Year (2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2018, 2020).

Here is the summary of wins of the top 12 best tennis players of all time:

1 Novak Djokovic 20 36 83.3%
2 Roger Federer 20 28 81.9%
3 Rafael Nadal 20 36 83.2%
4 Jimmy Connors 8 20 81.7%
5 Ivan Lendl 8 18 81.5%
6 Pete Sampras 14 11 77.4%
7 John McEnroe 7 17 81.6%
8 Bjorn Borg 11 11 82.5%
9 Andre Agassi 8 17 76%
10 Rod Laver 5 18 79.7%
11 Boris Becker 6 12 76.9%
12 Stefen Edberg 6 6 74.8%

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