The Top 11 Greatest Men’s Tennis Players All Time
Tennis has been a passion of mine since childhood. I was a competitive young player and now follow the top players around the world.
The International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum
Growing up in the 1970s, I was an avid player of tennis. In the United States, tennis became more mainstream than a sport that was only for the wealthy. There were many personalities that fuelled the rivalries on and off the courts, including Bjorn Borg and Jimmy Connors. Many great players have been and gone since then. It is hard to compare players from different eras of any sport because technology has changed and fitness standards have improved. This makes it difficult to choose the greatest player.
Fans can all agree that the current season is witness to three of the most amazing tennis matches in history: Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.
Here is my list of 11 best male tennis players from the Open Era (1968-1998). With two greats sharing the 10th spot, I actually have 11 players.
11. Ken Rosewall
- November 2, 1934 – Born
- Resides in Sydney, Australia
- Proudly turned pro in 1957
- Retired: 1980
- Career prize money: $1,602,700
- There are 133 career titles
- 8 Grand Slam Singles Titles 4 Australian, 2 French and 2 US Open
- 15 Pro Majors: 2 US Pro, 5 Wembley Pro, 8 French Pro
- Inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 1980
Ken Rosewall is a great tennis player with a long career that spanned both the Open Era and the post Open Era. Rosewall is undoubtedly a tennis legend thanks to his eight Grand Slam titles and 15 Major Championships. The quick, agile Australian player was known for his sharp and precise volleying and his backhand. His career began in the 1950s and ended in 1980. At 37 years old, his last Grand Slam title was at the 1972 Australian Open. This record is still the best for an oldest Grand Slam winner.
Ken Rosewall was playing in the final part of his career when I was a spectator. I probably didn’t realize how great he was at the time. His mental toughness and conditioning are evident in his ability to compete with the next generation. Because I believe both players deserve to be on this list, I have placed him in the tenth spot with Andre Agassi.
10. Andre Agassi
- Born on April 29, 1970
Las Vegas, Nevada
- Resides: Las Vegas, Nevada
- 1986: Turned pro
- Retired: 2006
- Career prize money: $31,152,975
- 61 career titles
- 8 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 1 Australian, 1 French and 2 US Opens, 1 Wimbledon
- Olympic Gold Medalist 1996
- Inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 2011
It’s hard to forget about Andre Agassi, the young, bold, and long-haired tennis star who first appeared on the tennis scene in late 1980s. His “rock star” appearance and attitude initially put me off, I must admit. He was a great player and spokesman for the game. But, something happened. Andre Agassi is a top-10 player because of his incredible ground strokes, returns of serve, and great ground strokes.
9. John McEnroe
- Born February 16, 1959
Wiesbaden, West Germany
- Resides in New York City
- 1978: Turned professional
- Retired: 1992
- Career prize money: $12,547,797
- 105 career titles
- 7 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 3 Wimbledon and 4 US Open
- 1999 Induction into the Tennis Hall of Fame
Tennis fans loved or hated Underneath for his fiery personality and sometimes sexy behavior. Underneath was an extremely competitive athlete who was afraid to lose. He also let his emotions take over at times.
He was a formidable opponent to Jimmy Connors, and he lost five sets to Bjorn Borg in 1980 Wimbledon final. This match is one of the most important in Wimbledon history.
8. Jimmy Connors
- September 2, 1952 – Born
East St. Louis, Illinois
- Resides: Santa Barbara, CA
- 1972: Turned pro
- Retired: 1996
- Career prize money: $8,641,040
- 147 career titles
- 8 Grand Slam Singles Titles 1 Australian, 2 Wimbledon and 5 US Open
- Inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 1998
Jimmy Connors was the tennis champion in the mid-1970s. Connors’ record in 1974 was a remarkable 99-4 and he won all three Grand Slam tournaments he entered. Connors was expelled from the 1974 French Open because of his association with World Team Tennis. This prevented him from a Grand Slam sweep. Connors retired in 1996 after a remarkable tennis career that began in the 1970s. Connors holds the record for ATP tour titles, with 109.
7. Ivan Lendl
- Born March 7, 1960
Ostrava in Czechoslovakia
- Resides: Goshen, Connecticut
- 1978: Turned professional
- Retired: 1994
- Career prize money: $21,262,417
- There are 144 career titles
- 8 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 3 Australian, 3 French and 3 US Open
- 2001 Inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame
The Czech player with the big serve and quiet demeanour was the most dominant of the 1980s. Lendl was a formidable opponent with his strong ground strokes and topspin forehand. He also had an incredible level of conditioning. For four years, Lendl was the top-ranked player in the world. He held the number 1 ranking for 270 consecutive weeks, which is a world record. Lendl, in contrast to his more vocal peers, was known for his ability to let his game speak for itself.
6. Bjorn Borg
- Born: June 6, 1956
Sodertalje in Stockholm County, Sweden
- Resides in Stockholm, Sweden
- 1973: Turned pro
- Retired: 1983
- Career prize money: $3,655,751
- 101 career titles
- 11 Grand Slam Singles Titles – 6 French, 5 Wimbledon
- 1987 Inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame
The long-haired, blonde Swede was a delight with his incredible ground game. The quiet Borg was a great tennis player in the 1970s. He had memorable matches with Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe. From 1976 to 1980, Borg won Wimbledon five times in succession.
Borg won 11 Grand Slam titles at Wimbledon and the French Open, despite his short career. Borg was the first modern player to win more that 10 majors. Bjorn Borg, in my opinion, could have been one of the top five players all-time if he had continued to play and not retired during his prime career.
5. Pete Sampras
Born on August 12, 1971
- Resides in Lake Sherwood (California).
- Turned professional: 1988
- Retired 2002
- Career prize money: $43,280,489
- 64 career titles
- 14 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 1 Australian, 7 Wimbledon, and 5 US Open
- Inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 2007
It is hard to determine Pete’s position in tennis history, as he won only three Grand Slam events during his career. Pete is clearly more comfortable playing on grass and hard courts. How can we determine one’s place in tennis history when one player dominates on one surface while another struggle? Pete was still considered the greatest player of all time when he retired in 2002. However, some might dispute this. Six consecutive years he was number one in world rankings. His 14 Grand Slam titles were a record. Andre Agassi’s epic matches with Pete were a highlight of the 1990s tennis decade. Pete won the 2002 US Open, his final Grand Slam tournament. Without a French Open title or a final, we don’t know where Pete belongs on the list of greatest ever. He is currently ranked at number five.
4. Rod Laver
- Born August 8, 1938
Rockhampton in Queensland, Australia
- Resides in Carlsbad, California
- 1962: Turned professional
- Retired 1979
- Career prize money: $1,565,413
- 200 career titles
- 11 Grand Slam Singles Titles Titles: 3 Australian (French), 2 US Open, and 4 Wimbledon
- 9 Pro Slam Singles Titles: US Pro, 4 Wembley Pros, 1 French Pros, 1 Wimbledon Pro
- 1981 Induction into the Tennis Hall of Fame
Although it’s hard to say how Rod Laver would fare against today’s players, I think the red-headed Aussie would have fared just fine. The “Rockets’ record is hard to dispute. He was the number one player in the world seven years straight (1964-1970), and has 200 career titles, more than any other player in the history.
He is the only person to win the Grand Slam twice, once as an amateur in 1962 and again in 1969. Who knows how many Grand Slams Laver would have won if he was not exempted from Grand Slam tournaments over a five year period in the mid-1960s. The Grand Slam tournaments for amateurs were only available during the pre-open era. In 1968, the “open era” of tennis was only established when professional players were allowed to participate in Grand Slam tournaments. It’s probable that Laver would have won more Grand Slam titles, given his position as number one in the world over this five-year period.
3. Roger Federer
- Born August 8, 1981
- Resides: Bottmingen, Switzerland
- 1998: Turned professional
- Career prize money: $130,594,339
- 103 career titles
- 20 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 1 Australian, 1 French and 5 US Open. 8 Wimbledon
- Current active player
Roger Federer was the most beloved player of all time for many years. Roger Federer’s 20 Grand Slam titles, 310 weeks of ranking as number one, speak for themselves. Even at 40, he still wins and competes at the highest level. Federer was ranked number 1 in the world for 237 consecutive weeks from 2004 to 2008. This record may not be broken. Although younger players may be able to match him, Federer’s 20-year career of consistent top play is testament to his ability and conditioning.
After a stellar 2017 season, which saw him win Wimbledon and the Australian Open, Roger Federer won the 2018 Australian Open. This proves that he is the greatest tennis player of all time. However, Djokovic and Nadal have added to their Grand Slam counts since then so it might be difficult to name a GOAT before all three of them are retired. He still has the ability to compete with any player, as he proved at the 2019 Wimbledon Championship in five sets against Novak Djokovic. Roger had his chance to win Grand Slam number 21. This loss will haunt him, but he’s setting an example for excellence in an age where most players have long since retired.
Roger continues to be sidelined by injuries in 2022, as we head to the grass court season that will lead up to Wimbledon. Roger is currently at number three in all-time, but that’s not to say he should be ignored.
2. Rafael Nadal
- Born: June 3, 1986
Manacor, Majorca. Balearic Islands. Spain
- Resides in: Manacor (Malica, Balearic Islands), Spain
- Turned pro in 2001
- Career prize money: $130,681,472
- 92 career titles
- 22 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 1 Australian, 14 French and 4 US Open titles, 2 Wimbledon
- 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist Beijing Summer Olympics
- Current active player
The fiery Spaniard, also known as Rafa, has won 22 Grand Slam titles, surpassing his closest rivals Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, at 36 years old. Although Rafael is considered the greatest clay-court player, Bjorn Borg fans may disagree. It is hard to imagine anyone better than Rafael, who won the French Open in 2022 in a record setting 14th.
Nadal has shown that he is worthy of serious consideration in the debate for the title of greatest tennis player. Rafa has a remarkable start to 2022 season, with wins at the Australian Open as well as the French Open. This will give Rafa 22 Grand Slam Championships. Federer and Djokovic remain at 20, respectively. Federer was sidelined by an injury, and Djokovic was struggling to find his form after missing the Australian Open, some may argue that Rafa’s path to Roland Garros victory was easy. But, make no mistake, Rafa won his 14th French Open title.
We will be watching to see how the rest of the season unfolds, with two additional Grand Slam titles due to be contested in 2022. Federer will be back and be able compete at the highest level. Is Djokovic going to be able to return to his form of 2021 that saw him almost unbeatable? It will be interesting to see.
1. Novak Djokovic
- May 22, 1987 – Born
- Born in Belgrade, Serbia
- Resides: Monte Carlo, Monaco
- Turned pro in 2003
- Career prize money: $156,136,601
- 87 career titles
- 20 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 9 Australian and 6 Wimbledon, 3 US Open, 3 French Open
- Current active player
Djokovic is 35 years old and in his prime years of career. He has the potential to win even more Grand Slam titles. He is now only 22 years old and has 20 Grand Slam titles under his belt. Djokovic is the best player of all time, with 373 consecutive weeks as number one.
Djokovic won the 2016 French Open title and became the eighth man in history to win a career Grand Slam. Djokovic’s dominating start to 2021 season, with wins at Wimbledon, French Open and Australian Open, made it clear that he was the best player in the country in 2021. Djokovic’s victory over Rafael Nadal at the 2021 French Open semi-finals made it clear that he is capable of beating Rafa on the best surface. Djokovic won the 2021 Wimbledon Championship. He lost only two sets and beat Matteo Berrettini of Italy in four sets.
The tennis world was eager to see if Djokovic would make tennis history by winning the Grand Slam calendar in 2021. Djokovic’s straight set defeat to Daniil Medvedev at the 2021 US Open in the final proves that either Father Time has caught up to him or the hungry herds of next-generation contenders have arrived. Keep watching.
Novak Djokovic is the greatest player of all time because of his multiple Major titles won on all surfaces and his advantage in head to head matches against Federer and Nadal.
This poll was voted on by over 150,000 tennis fans between 2013 and 2018. Roger Federer was clearly voted the greatest tennis player of all time during that period. These were the results of that poll.
Roger Federer 62%
Novak Djokovic 15%
Rafael Nadal 14%
Questions and Answers
Question What do you think about the fact that Djokovic scored a higher H2H score vs. Nadal than vs. Federer’s? Fed is also a bad score against two of his greatest rivals. Djokovic has won a few grand slams, but Fed is still the best.
Answer It is very close to a head-to-head match between these three players. It is important to consider the playing surface as well as their age. Federer is almost five years older than Djokovic, so it would be natural for Djokovic and Nadal to have an advantage at this stage in their careers. Nadal is an expert on clay, so it would be no surprise that he would have a distinct advantage on this surface.
Question Why was Federer never able beat Nadal on clay?
Answer: clay is only one surface. Federer has the advantage if that is taken out of the picture. Also, Federer is five years older than Nadal.
Question Who’s the best clay tennis player for men?
Answer I believe Rafael Nadal to be the greatest clay player ever. This should be evident from his 11 French Open titles.
Question What do YOU think of the Novak 1000 masters series? Is this worth the extra effort?
Answer: After the U.S. Open, my plan is to update both the men’s & women’s top 10. Novak seems to be in great form after completing the Masters 1000 Slam.
Question Do you believe Novak deserves to be number three after his win at Wimbledon 2018?
Answer : Novak certainly has the potential to be one of the greatest ever players. It is difficult for him to move up because Rod Laver, whom many have not seen play, was a great player. I believe he would be able to compete with today’s greats. For now, Novak will remain in the number five spot and I’ll wait to see how he does at the US Open. I could certainly convince him to win the 2018 US Open to make him the number four player.
Question : How can you claim Federer is the best player if Nadal beat Federer more than the opposite? If all other criteria are in line, the decisive factor must be one-on-one results.
Answer to First, Nadal is four more years old than Federer, so age plays a part. Although Nadal is leading in head-to–head matches 23-15, 13 wins were on clay, where Nadal feels at home and is the most proficient on that surface. Federer holds a 13-10 advantage in head-to-head matches if you exclude clay court matches.
It’s obvious that Roger Federer is the greatest player of all time, and Rafael Nadal is the best. Roger is my favorite player of all time at the moment. While both players are still in competition, things could change. However, for Nadal to be the greatest, he must prove his dominance on fast/hard surfaces.
Question Do You Think Djokovic Will Be Number 2 Of The Greatest If He Tied with Nadal for the Grand Slam Title?
Answer: I believe that Djokovic will surpass Nadal’s GS titles and eventually be Number 2.
Question Who would be the GOAT if Rafa and Federer retire with the same number Grand Slam Championships?
Answered: Roger Federer would have the edge. This is because, as great as Rafa may be, the majority of his Grand Slam titles were won on the clay at Roland Garros. While this does not necessarily mean his game is uninteresting, it does suggest that it is not one-dimensional. Federer has the edge here.
Rafa has a 23-15 advantage in head-to-head matches, but 13 of their victories were on clay. Federer has the edge on grass and hard courts.
We are so fortunate to be able to witness two of the most important players of all time. Enjoy it while you can.
Question Why is Andy Murrayn’t on the top 10 greatest male tennis players?
Answer: Andy Murray has just 3-8 record in Grand Slam finals, with a losing record against Federer, Djokovic and Nadal. Although he does have two Olympic Gold Medals, his results are not in my top ten.
Question Why is Mats Wilander not on the list?
Answer : He won seven Grand Slam titles, but never reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon. Mats was a great player but I don’t believe he deserves to be in the top 10. He probably falls in the top 15, or so, according to me. I don’t think he is top 10 because his career ended so early.
Question Did you know that nearly half of all grand slams won by Federer were in the first year, prior to Nadal and Djokovic?
Answer to Yes, I did. Just like I considered that the majority of Nadal’s Grand Slam titles were on clay and that Djokovic had not won a Grand Slam title in 2016 since 2016. Federer is the greatest tennis player of all time if you consider their entire work.
Question Do you think Boris Becker should be among the top three male tennis players in the world?
Answer: I don’t think Boris Becker should be among the top three players all-time. Becker, who was certainly a great player, is more of an all-time top 15 player.
Question Why is Grand Slam so important in determining the greatest men’s tennis players of all times? Grand Slam success is a five-set affair that demonstrates your physical condition, not your ability to play tennis.
Answer? It’s because Grand Slams draw the best players which makes them the most competitive tournaments. The five-set match can be a fair indicator of which player is the best in a head-to-head match. Physical conditioning, however, is an important factor in determining how good a player is. What do the players play if they take their physical conditioning out? The best of three sets? What about a single set? The winner will move on. Physical conditioning is only one aspect of the equation. The other factors that make a player great include speed, agility and mental toughness.
Question Who do YOU believe to be the GOAT?
Answered: At the moment, I believe that Roger Federer holds this title.
Question Why isn’t Borris Becker listed on the top 10 men’s tennis players?
Answer to Based on his career, I believe Boris Becker is one of the top 15 players. He won six Grand Slam titles, and he made three semi-finals at the French Open. This was not his favorite surface.
Question: Does Federer have problems with younger tennis players like Anderson?
Answer to In Wimbledon 2018, Roger Federer lost a two-set lead to Kevin Anderson and ended up losing five sets in the quarterfinals. Anderson, 32, is not a youngster in tennis terms, but Federer, 36, is still able compete at a high standard against younger players. As it does for all other players, age eventually takes its toll.
Question What would you rate Lleyton Hwitt? Is there a chance that you are among the top 20 or 25 players in tennis history?
Answer I would not say Lleyton Hwitt is in the top 20. Top 25, perhaps. Top 30, most definitely. Hewitt was a great player. Hewitt achieved great results for a young age in a time when competition was very high.
Question Why is Andy Murray not on this list?
Answer Andy Murray still has work to do before being considered for the top 10 of all-time.
Question Why is Boris Beckern’t on the list of the 10 greatest men’s tennis player?
Answer: Boris Becker is a great tennis player. Although he had a tremendous career, he only won 6 Grand Slam titles and 49 ATP titles. He was also ranked no. 1 for 12 weeks. I believe he is more of a top-15 player than a top-10.
Question : Do slams seem to be easier on grass than it used to? If so, is this leading to modern players being overrated?
Answer to I believe the best players will rise up no matter what surface they are on. While some players are better on certain surfaces like Nadal’s clay or Federer’s faster surfaces, others can still compete on any surface. Federer and Nadal are my favorite players, but it can be difficult to compare different styles and generations. Roger and Rafael are winning more slams due to their ability to play longer and maintain a high level even as they age.
Question : Roger, Rafa or both will likely go down as the greatest male tennis player of all time. But, wouldn’t you agree that the competition was fiercer in the Aggasi/Sampras era.
Answer I believe there have been three great competitive periods in men’s tennis during the past fifty years. The current generation of players, including Federer, Nadal and Djokovic, along with Murray and Wawrinka, would certainly be one.
The 1990s were a remarkable era, with the likes Sampras and Aggasi, Becker and Courier, Edberg, Edberg, Edberg, Courier, Edberg, Edberg, Chang, and many others. It is a formidable group of greats.
Connors, McEnroe and Borg are my favorites, or at least the ones I like to watch. Then there was Wilander and Lendl a few years later, but he was actually in the mid- to late 1980s.
It was a tough call. It was a great decade for tennis in the 1990s. Sometimes we forget how great the competition was as the years pass. The 1990s were a time when there was a greater number of Grand Slam champions than ever before. It’s pretty certain that it will be one the three current major players.
Question. Why is Ken Rosewalln’t on this list?
Answer to Recently, I was actually considering adding Rosewall to this top 10. Although I did not see him play until the end of his career I found it appropriate to include him after looking at his records. In the coming weeks, you will see an updated list that will include Ken Rosewall.
Question How many Grand Slam titles does Rafael Nadal end up with?
Answer I believe that eventually both Nadal (and Djokovic) will surpass Federer’s 20 Grand Slams. The number depends on how long they play, how healthy they are, and how much they keep playing. Nadal’s dominance in the French Open could see him winning many more titles there. He could win 25 Grand Slam titles if he plays well, but that may be too much to hope for.
Question I’d like to know the number of people employed around one tennis player. According to some sources, top players may have more than 60 people in their team. Can we then compare tennis eras if this is true? It is interesting to note that it was much harder in 1950 to keep a high level fitness.
Answer to It is almost impossible to compare players from different eras. The amount of money they earn and the rank they play in the league will determine how big each player’s team is. A smaller team may be more affordable for lower-ranked players who cannot afford a large entourage. High-ranking players can afford multiple coaches, trainers, chefs, and other support staff. Although a team of 60 seems high, it is not uncommon for the best players to be surrounded by a large group.
It is obvious that the technology used in tennis racquets today and the level of fitness of players are much better than they were 50 years ago. It is difficult to compare players from different generations.
Question Do you think that there are older players we don’t talk about such as Arthur Ashe and Rene Lacoste, or perhaps even more senior?
Answer: Absolutely. I was a huge Arthur Ashe fan throughout his career and I don’t think he gets as much attention as he deserves. Rene Lacoste is a long-standing player, with a strong resume. And who hasn’t had one of his trademark Crocodile shirts? There have been many great players, some of whom deserve to be remembered.
Question Why did Pete Sampras, a tennis player, retire so early?
Answer. Pete Sampras officially resigned on August 25, 2003, at 32. His last match was at 2002 US Open which he won. He was able to play well into his thirties, but he felt he had reached a plateau and decided to end his career. He ended his career with a Grand Slam title, which is a great accomplishment.
Question What do you see the top three positions of men’s tennis players in five years?
Answer to I believe the top three players will still be Federer and Nadal in five years, but the order of the events will change from today. We will have to wait and watch. Federer, perhaps, will likely be retiring by that time. There should be some outstanding tennis in the coming years.
Question Shouldn’t Poncho González be on a list of the ten best men’s tennis players ever?
Answer to I debated including Rosewall or Gonzalez among the top ten, and it is possible to make a case for both. Although Gonzalez was the head of the team, Rosewall had more experience and was younger when he made his name. They both had long careers and held over 100 titles. For many years, they were the number one in the world. Maybe I’ll reevaluate at some point?
Question Has Roger Federer become too tired to play tennis?
Answer: Roger Federer is being selective about the tournaments he enters. To prepare for Wimbledon, he has decided to skip 2018 French Open. Roger is smart to skip the 2018 French Open in his final stages of his career, as it helps him prepare for the majors he wants.
Question Lew Hoad ranks among the greatest tennis players of all time?
Answer Len Hoad was a great tennis player. He could have achieved even greater results if not for his back problems which plagued him for a large part of his playing career. He did win four Grand Slams as an amateur and the 1959 Pro Tournament of Champions. Lew Hoad would be in the 15-20 range for all time.
Question Do You Believe Alexander Zverev Will Be on This List By the End of His Career?
Answering: Yes, it’s possible. He is young and has already reached the number three spot in the world. He has proven that he can beat anyone, even Federer and Djokovic. We will see how he does over the next few decades, but his best days are still ahead of him.
Question Do you think Novak should be considered the greatest of all time if he wins the same number Grand Slams as Federer?
Answer to I believe Novak will win the most Grand Slams when their careers end and be considered the greatest of all time. This is just my opinion and speculation. But I believe that this will be the end of their playing careers.
Question: What is the reason Boris Becker is not on this list?
Answer: Boris Becker, a great tennis player but not the top 10, was a great player. It’s difficult to rank Boris Becker in the top 10. He has 6 Grand Slam titles and 49 career titles. Top 15, most definitely.
Question Although it’s unlikely to be in the top 10, I’d like to know where Guillermo Vilas would be placed. Although it was before my time, it seems like he could match it to Connors and other similar players.
Answer : Vilas is a great player. I had the privilege of seeing him play many times. He could definitely compete with anyone. He would be in the top 20 or even top 15.
Question Why didn’t you think Boris Becker was a good choice?
Answer He was thought of, but he didn’t make it to the top 10. Top 15, most definitely.
Question Why is John Newcombe missing from your list?
Answer John Newcombe may be in the top 10 most influential people of all time. He is certainly in the top 12 to 13 at best, some may even consider him among the top 10. He has seven Grand Slam singles titles and seventeen Grand Slam doubles titles, which is quite impressive.
Question: What is the reason Marcelo Rios isn’t on the top 10 men’s tennis players all-time?
Answer : Marcelo Rios is a great player but not in the top 10. Although he was briefly ranked #1 in the world in 1998 he has only 18 career titles. He lost in straight sets to Petr Korda at the 1998 Australian Open. This was his best Grand Slam performance.
Question Was John McEnroe good at tennis?
Answer : John McEnroe is a great tennis player. McEnroe won seven Grand Slam titles, and was the number one ranked player in the entire world for 170 weeks of his career. McEnroe’s entire career was fascinating to me. He had memorable matches against some of the greatest players of his era, including Jimmy Connors and Bjorn Borg. McEnroe’s entire career deserves a ranking in the top ten.
Question Why are your top 10 Pancho Gonzalez missing from the list? For 8 years, he was the #1 player in the world.
Answer: Open era only.
Question How many Grand Slam singles titles have Roger Federer won
Answer: Roger Federer won 20 Grand Slam singles titles by the end of 2019. He has won 8 Wimbledon Championships and 6 Australian Open titles.
Nostradamus on September 23, 2020:
Nebojsa also points out that there is no clear GOAT for Federer, Nadal, or Djokovic. It’s easier to compare them because they all played in the same era. Therefore, it’s impossible to determine who wins the most Grand Slam singles titles. There doesn’t need to be a GOAT title for the player with the most GS titles. If it happens, I think both Nadal or Djokovic fans would be delighted to see their favorite player win the title of Greatest Male Grand Slam Singles Players Of All Time.
Unfortunately, if one of the 3 players is injured or has to withdraw from the MMGSST, that will not be allowed. This is the most difficult test, featuring best of five set matches. It’s the equivalent of The Championship Game or Grand Final of the World Cup, World Championships or Olympics.
Let the top 3 players win the most Grand Slam singles titles. It is certain that those three players will agree. The Grand Slam singles titles are taken very seriously by the best professional tennis players. The Tour or Year End finals is round robin. There are many withdrawals before or during the tournament as it’s the close of the year. Master Series Events are mandatory for top players. Although they love to win, many would prefer to play less. It’s a long season, especially before the Coronavirus pandemic. It’s rare that the Davis Cup has seen so many top players in a single year. The best set is now of 3. The top players would gladly trade their year-end number 1 or a long number of weeks at number one for a Grand Slam singles title. The tournaments that are just before the Grand Slam tournaments are mostly practice or preparation for the top players. While it is nice to win these tournaments, it doesn’t matter to them that they don’t because it’s practice. These top players will often skip tournaments before the Grand Slam tournaments because they want to practice or rest with their coach. The exception to this rule is when there are fewer tournaments during the year.
Except for the Coronavirus, the majority of top tennis players base their careers around the Grand Slam tournaments. Anything else is a bonus and not the primary priority.
Rod Laver can be called the GPOEOAT (Greatest Pre Open Era of All Time)
Let’s now see who wins the most GS singles titles from the big three once they are all retired as professional tennis players. The winner can be named the MMGSST, Most Male Grand Slam Singles Titles.
Don September 23, 2020
If we compare the tennis careers Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic, then the overlooked criteria for GOAT must be considered. Rod Laver, the great Rod Laver, was in a totally different era when it came to racquets and professionalism as well as technology, coaches, and entourages.
1) Djokovic and Nadal have won their Grand Slam singles titles in much shorter time frames than Federer. That is 20 less Grand Slam events for Djokovic and 18 less for Nadal.
2) Nadal and Djokovic began their professional tennis careers against one another, Murray and Federer at their peak, whereas Federer began his tennis career five years prior to Murray, Djokovic, and Nadal at their peak.
The following 2 reasons were given:
1) The GOAT rankings need to be more fair.
2) Djokovic and Nadal have suffered more injuries during Grand Slam tournaments than Federer. Despite this, both Nadal & Djokovic still have great success in Grand Slam tournaments, compared to Federer.
If you don’t address the points above, then you can only judge the number of Grand Slam singles title won by each player after they have stopped competing in Grand Slam tournaments. Unfortunately injuries are part and parcel of the game and Federer has been most injury-prone for his career. This is what Murray and Del Potro, for the majority of their tennis careers, can attest.
Nebojsa September 21, 2020
Here are the Djokovic fans.
You should take into consideration many things when you are starting a GOAT debate. If you are comparing players from different eras, you won’t be able to say that GS titles alone will make someone GOAT. Grand slam titles can be used to determine who is the better player if you have three players at once (Big three).
All three players failed to win a significant GS title lead, in my opinion. They are not the best players of any era, so none of the big three can be called the best. Michael Jordan of Tenis (undisputed GOAT) is the only one of them.
Let’s say that Big Three are the three greatest players of all-time.
Federer: most titles, fan favorite
Nadal: 2nd most titles, outstanding h2h vs Federer
Djokovic was the most dominant player at his peak, while Federer had the toughest comeptition in 2006. He also loves grass (lol).
Federer will be out of the conversation if he loses the GS title lead. THE END
It is more difficult to be Nadal/Djoko
If Nadal finishes with 2+ GS more than Djokovic I would award Nadal the GOAT claim (and more titles)
Federer will not have 20 titles if Djokovic can catch up to him. Nadal won’t have 2+ titles. Djokovic will win, because he’s more versatile.
Rod Laver, on the other hand might be a real GOAT.
HHfan September 21, 2020
My opinion is valid for everyone. Even Ivan Lendl. My opinion is just that, and it’s a little different from GS dogma. You can have a good laugh at my ideas if you wish.
I showed an example only one year at No. 1 = 4 GS. It isn’t real, because Nadal underestimates it.
1 year at No. 1 is approximately. 2 GS. ATP rank is 1/3 of all points. It is twice as weak as GS statistics. ATP rank is a combination of points from GS winners and GS second places. It also includes points from GS Masters 1000, TOP 8, TOP 8, and GS QF. It is nearly impossible to remain at No. 1 without a current GS title.
Proportion 1Y=2GS gives approximately. Today, Djokovic has a 4% advantage over Nadal – this is very similar to the sophisticated statistics available online.
This simplified statistic is suitable for anticipating the future. Although the future is unknown, I can draw some conclusions. According to my simplified statistics, this is my opinion.
1) Nole is more skilled than Nadal, and they will both end up with similar No of single titles in GS. However, NOLE will have a minimum of 100 weeks of better records at No 1. The difference in GS between them may be due to injury or luck. None of them could.
2) Nole will easily surpass 310 weeks at No 1.
3) Nadal may be able finish his career with the highest number of GS titles, but his advantage against Nole in GS titles will shrink.
4) Nole must improve his GS record in order to compete effectively with the other two players, but his universal tennis technique would allow him to have more opportunities than Nadal.
After each GS tournament, I will post my simplified statistics with comments. You don’t need to reply.
Navi Ldnel September 20, 2020
The only statistic that matters to me is who wins the most Grand Slam singles titles from Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic, after all three players have retired.
RNfan September 20, 2020
You can write whatever nonsense you like, hhfan. What I was trying to say is that I want Nadal win more Grand Slam titles then Federer. This will make me the happiest person on the planet.
Peter September 20, 2020
Tennis fans will recall and remember who won the most Grand Slam singles titles. Not who ended the year at number 1, or who won Master Series Events, or who won a Davis Cup.
Mohn JcEnroe September 20, 2020
You can’t be serious, HHfan! 52 weeks at number one does not equal 4 Grand Slam titles. It is not clear who will win the most Grand Slam singles titles within the shortest amount of time.
RNfan September 20, 2020
Complete nonsense HHfan. That is truly the most ridiculous, absurd, and absurd suggestion I’ve ever heard. 52 weeks at number one equates to four Grand Slam singles titles.
If you’re number one for a year but don’t win any Grand Slam singles titles, it is likely that you have not won a Grand Slam title. That is a Grand Slam singles title!
You are really living in a fantasy universe. Mickey Donev and Ivan Lendl are much more logical than you think! For more information, go to the Tennis History lecture theater. It’s not difficult. It’s a great statistic to win the same number of Grand Slam singles titles within a shorter period. Thank you Mickey Donev
Ivan Lendl and you both make the most sense. I care only about Grand Slam singles ladder.
RNfan September 20, 2020
Mickey Donev’s brilliant point is about winning the Grand Slam singles titles within a shorter timeframe. This is something I have been pondering for years. Nadal’s remarkable feat of winning only 1 Grand Slam singles title more than Federer in 20 Grand Slam singles tournaments, is amazing. Mickey, that’s a great point. This statistic speaks volumes.
RNfan September 20, 2020
Hhfan, statistical data are only based on assumptions. They don’t hold up in a Tennis environment. If you feel strongly about the idea, why not email it to your local newspaper and bring it up to their sports department to see their reaction?
If I choose, it’s okay for me to skip other tournaments. I don’t care about your criteria for GOAT, or your opinion on who is leading the race. It’s all fantasy. There is no such thing a “GOAT”. No matter how much statistical data you use, it is impossible to compare different eras. You can’t compare different eras, no matter what statistical data you use. That is what I will keep repeating over and over.
Ivan Lendl, and I, only want to face the facts of who wins the most Grand Slam singles titles. Ivan Lendl’s view is more important to me than it is to you or anyone else. I would not care if anyone in this article were the best statistical analysts in the world.
I don’t expect you to change your mind. Everybody in this article has the right to their opinion.
I will continue to care about the winner of the Grand Slam singles title after Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic are retired.
RNfan September 20, 2020
It doesn’t matter what you write, and even though this article is about fantasy GOAT rankings I don’t care about who ends up with the Grand Slam singles title. After all, Federer, Djokovic, and Nadal are gone.
I would not care if anyone, you or any other lecturer tried to explain my theory in different ways to me for a semester. Ivan Lendl, and I only care about who wins the most Grand Slam singles titles. I don’t think you or anyone else are wrong. I just want to see who wins more Grand Slam singles titles. If Nadal wins the Grand Slam singles title, at 21, Federer will still be on 20, and Djokovic has yet to reach 21, I’ll just be happy that he won the most Grand Slam Singles titles. I don’t even know what GOAT means.
HHfan September 20, 2020
All who are interested in GS titles:
Let’s pretend that we are comparing two players.
Player A – Won two GS titles and lost the first match in two of the other two
Player B – Won 1 GS title, but lost in the finals of 3 GS
If you only take into account GS titles, player A is the winner. If you add GS and ATP ranks, player A is slightly better since he/she remained at No 1 for a year. This isn’t a ranking of GS wins but a kind of Greatest player Ever.
The sophisticated statistics (which are possible to find online) show that Nole could be able to have a 4% advantage, and they both have between 10-14% to win before they can equal today’s RF records. GS statistics are too simplistic for me.
HHfan September 20, 2020
To RNfan: 8 Open Era players have 8 or more GS singles titles: Federer 20, Djokovic 17, Sampras 14; Borg 11, Connors 8; Lendl 8 Agassi
There are 8 players who have 104 weeks or more at No 1. Agassi is 9th with 101 weeks.
What’s the conclusion? :
One year (52 weeks) at No. 1 is very similar to the 4 Grand Slams in statistical terms! 1GS title = 13 weeks !!! GS titles are, in commercial terms and the eyes of the crowd, much more important that ATP ranks. GS is also more important to players.
We have 4 GS if 1 year equals 4 GS
RF 20GS + 6 Years = 20+24=44 Points
Nole 17GS + 5,5 Years = 17+22=39points
Nadal 19GS +4 years = 19+16=35points
GS rank is more important for commercial reasons than ATP rank. This is why I believe that 1 year = 4GS is not an accurate representation of these ranks. (Nadal’s importance is underrated here).
We have ATP rank that is 4x weaker than GS’s if 1 year equals 1 GS
RF 20GS + 6 Years (26points)
Nadal 19GS +4 years (23points)
Nole 17GS + 5,5 Years (22,5points)
It is possible that 1 year = 1 GGS is very close to reality (Nadal = Nule).
Let’s say 1 year equals 2 GS. (ATP rank is twice as weaker than GS’s).
RF 20GS + 6 Years = 20+12=32Points
Nole 17GS + 5,5 Years = 17+11=28points
Nadal 19GS +4 years = 19+8=27points
It is close to reality, but Nole is a little better than Nadal.
What can we conclude from the numbers?
1) RF is a current GOAT, his advantage over Nadal is greater than the GS statistics against him,
2) Nadal and Nole are on the same page now
3) Adding ATP rank to the equation gives us a more complex view. ATP rank should contribute 20%-33% (1Y=1GS, 1Y=2GS), points in GOAT race
4) Most likely, the realistic percentage is 1 year = 1 to 2 GS
5) One injury could determine the competition between Nadal or Nole, and stop them from exceeding RF
6) Both Nadal (or Nole) must have at least 3 GS in order to exceed RF (or equal at ATP No 1).
7) Strong improvements by younger players could end Nadal’s plans to surpass the RF
8) Nole’s secret weapon? His ability to remain at ATP No 1 relatively easily because of his universal technique
9) Nadal, Nole and Nole don’t have much time. Seasons 2021-2022 would probably be decisive.
10) If one of them has an injury, and the other is healthy, the healthy one can easily surpass RF’s record for GS.
11) Nole is older than Nadal, and appears to be more healthy – RF demonstrated that it was possible to win GS on old thirties surfaces, especially clay – clay is slower and younger players with great fitness (Thiem?) This could reduce Nadal’s chances of winning GS in his last years of career. This is why I believe Nole has slightly better chances, especially if he improves his attack game like “late” RF.
RNfan September 19, 2020
Again, I don’t care about other tournaments. I don’t care about the GOAT rankings. I only care about who wins the most Grand Slam singles tourneys. I VIEW IT ONLY AS MY AND IVAN LEENDL. Don’t you see what the last sentence means?
Mickey Donnev September 19, 2020
This ranking is based on the number of Grand Slam wins. It is not the GOAT ranking. There are many parameters that weren’t taken into account. GS is 2000 points, Masters 1000 and Tour Finals 1500, respectively. It is not enough to ignore other major tournaments. The success rate is another factor. I’m not sure who is more successful if one player wins five GS in twenty years of professional career. But if another player wins the same amount of GS within 10 years, then it begs the question: Who is better? The one who wins them all in a shorter time period is certain to win.
RNfan September 19, 2020
Even if we all agreed with your GOAT criteria, Ivan Lendl and I are the only ones who really care. After Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic have all retired, Ivan Lendl is all that matters.
RNfan September 19, 2020
You know what, hhfan? I don’t care about anything you write. It is not who will win the most Grand Slam singles titles that I care about.
RNfan September 19, 2020
Nadal’s win on clay for most of his Grand Slam singles titles seems to be a popular fact. I find hhfan’s formula ridiculous and completely irrelevant to tennis. You’ll be ridiculed if you say that to anyone in the sports media. Keep your focus on statistical analysis. Nadal still has 7 Grand Slam singles titles without clay. Many tennis players would be thrilled to win 7 Grand Slam singles titles. This is similar to John McEnroe’s 3 Wimbledon and 4 US Open wins. I don’t want to sound like a broken record but I couldn’t care less about GOAT. I care only about who wins the most Grand Slam singles titles. To me, it doesn’t matter if Nadal wins 21 Grand Slam singles on clay. The same goes for any player who reaches the top with mostly all-grass and hardcourt Grand Slam singles titles. Hhfan may be right, but I don’t care. If Nadal wins 21 Grand Slam singles titles, I’ll be celebrating. Nadal is the last man standing.
HHfan September 17, 2020
To John: “… Nadal shouldn’t be penalized because 2 of the 4 Grand Slam tournaments were played on hardcourt.
Divide the number of GS on hard court by 2, and Nadal becomes the GOAT. However, it is an intellectual game. Tennis GS is played mostly on hard courts. We need to talk about facts, not theory.
Lack of clay tournaments is a problem for Rafael Nadal, “The King of Clay”. This is why he’s ranked No. 1 for 209 weeks, compared to Nole and RF who have “about 300” weeks.
Many here believe that GOAT is the most important GS singles title. Some people claim that GOAT doesn’t count because it only counts singles titles. While I agree that No. of GS is the most important factor from a tennis perspective, it is worth noting that staying at No. 1 for an additional 2 years is a significant achievement and something to be considered when discussing GOAT. We have:
RF 20GS + 6 Years (26points)
Rafa 19GS +4 years (23points)
Nole 17GS + 5,5 Years (22,5points)
The statistical data shows that Rafa can win a lot on clay, and is able to dominate for a long time as a No 1. ATP rank prefers players who are able achieve a lot of ATP point in a short time and can get a lot of ATP density.
I apologize for my poor English. Although I don’t play tennis, my master thesis was based on statistics analysis of pharmaceutical data. This statistical approach might lead me to believe that the distance between RF/Rafa/Nole may be closer to 26/23/22.5, than 20/19/17. Rafa’s GS numbers are close to RF. However, he would need at least 22GS to surpass RF. Only speculation: Nole with 18GS+6YEARS would theoretically be better than Rafa’s 19GS+4YEARS. This is just my opinion. Tennis may think this is silly. However, I analyze data and find that it is harder to remain at No 1 for two years than to win one GS.
Gavin September 15, 2020
Tyrone is absolutely correct in his comments about media outlets in his country concerning the most important statistic. Yesterday I read in my local paper that Djokovic would have moved up to 18 Grand Slam titles if he had won the US Open. He would be one behind Roger Federer and two behind Nadal in the race for all-time greatness.
John September 14, 2020
Gonzalo, you have a valid point. However, personalities and characters should not be incorporated into the discussion. I believe Djokovic will win the Grand Slam singles title with the most titles, but only if he does it. Nadal is also a great example. Likewise Federer. Djokovic is the only player who has played at the highest level of tennis since 2011.
Djokovic and Federer have won more Grand Slam hardcourt and grass titles than Nadal. However, Nadal shouldn’t be penalised as 2 of the 4 Grand Slam tournaments were played on hardcourt.
Nadal still managed to win four Grand Slam singles titles at US Open as well as 1 Australian Open hardcourt title. Two more Australian Open titles were lost to him on hardcourt after he was injured in the Australian Open Final against Stan Wawrinka, and one against David Ferrer. While he has won 2 Grand Slam singles titles, one on grass at Wimbledon, which is his worst surface, and 1 against Federer, Federer and Nadal have only won 1 on clay.
Also, I think Nadal’s 12 French Opens on Clay are better than Federer’s 8 Wimbledon titles on grass.
I find Nadal’s record on all surfaces to be very comparable with Djokovic or Nadal. Nadal’s 12 Grand Slam clay titles are currently ahead of Djokovic’s and Federer’s combined 11 Grand Slam singles on hardcourt. These were derived from 2 Grand Slam tournaments at the US Open and Australian Open respectively for Djokovic, and Federer.
After all three of them have retired, I cannot wait to see who ends up with the most Grand Slam singles titles.
Gonzalo, don’t be afraid about your character. Although Pete Sampras was not universally loved, he still held the record for most Grand Slam singles titles after he retired. Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe were not universally loved, but I was a huge fan of John McEnroe, regardless of his behavior.
While I don’t claim to be a Djokovic fan, I was impressed by the number of Grand Slam singles titles that he has won. This goes for all Grand Slam singles winners.
Let’s get ready to race for the Grand Slam singles titles!
Tennis Analyst September 13, 2020
Congratulation to Dominic Thiem for winning the US Open. It was reminiscent of the Federer-v-Nadal matchups, where Zverev was Federer’s all court player and Thiem the Nadal’s with his great ground strokes. Tennis was also the victor.
Harry September 12, 2020
There is no such thing a “GOAT”. It is impossible to compare different eras. Anybody who claims otherwise is lying!
Tyrone September 12, 2020
If you believe GOAT to be the most important statistic for you, good luck! Except for this article, I’ve never heard of any media outlet mention GOAT as a statistic. Since I was a young tennis fan, the main statistic that interests me is Grand Slam singles statistics. You can try, but I will not change my mind. Ivan Lendl is RIGHT. After all three players have retired, the GOAT will decide the winner. Guess what? Ivan Lendl was also Number 1 for a while. Ivan Lendl is RIGHT. Your followers and you are wrong. I disagree with you and your followers, but only Ivan Lendl.
Ben September 12, 2020
Another Del Potro fan, I’m another. But even if he doesn’t win another Grand Slam singles title he can tell his grandchildren that the US Open was won by him. It is rare for a tennis player to win a Grand Slam tournament throughout their entire career. It’s an incredible achievement to win a Grand Slam tournament. A tennis player who wants to be a professional can find it difficult to even make it on the ATP tour. There is a lot of competition among aspirants from different countries. To that end, I congratulate any player who has won even one Grand Slam singles title. Although you may not be the best, you are still amazing.
Mr Endl September 12, 2020
It doesn’t matter if it’s intellectual, fun, or otherwise. I believe that top professional players should have the number of Grand Slam singles titles as their Number One priority.
I don’t want to stop you, or anyone else, discussing what I consider less important statistics that meet your criteria for GOAT.
I don’t care at all about the term “GOAT”. Ask Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic what is the most important statistic for them. It’s Grand Slam singles title wins. These 3 players all confess to wanting to win the Grand Slam singles title. Djokovic stated that during lockdown when they were all in media. They aren’t discussing who is or will be the GOAT, number 1, who won the most ATP tournaments, and who has played the longest tennis, etc.
You can have your fun and keep your outlet in the future comments, but my main focus and that of the Big three will be on who wins the most Grand Slam singles titles. It doesn’t matter if this is my only opinion.
After all three retire, my focus will always be on the person who wins the most Grand Slam singles titles. I will be the first person to congratulate that person. To be completely honest, as a Nadal fan I can’t care less who is number one for the most weeks.
If you are happy with the outcome, you can leave and name anyone you choose as your future and current GOAT. It means so much Federer fans that I won’t lose my sleep over it.
I will be happy, and have always been happy, if Nadal wins more Grand Slam singles titles that Federer, regardless who is nominated, and keeps the title of the GOT.
In other words, even if Nadal wins more Grand Slam singles titles that Federer, and both players have retired from the game, you or anyone else can call someone else the “GOAT” using your criteria. However, I’m most happy for Nadal to win the most Grand Slam singles title titles.
HHfan September 9, 2020
Federer’s advantage against Nadal is IMHO weeks at ATP No 1. 310/209. It’s a gap. To claim that he is better than RF, Nadal needs at least 22-23 GS title titles. Nole’s 310-week record will likely surpass RF’s, but Nadal could be disqualified at US Open for more than 1 GS title – a spot in history.
HHfan September 05th, 2020
I believe the number of GS titles is too high compared to the number of weeks at ATP No 1. Example: Rafa has 10% more GS than Nole, while Nole has 33% more weeks to be a world No1 than Rafa. Rafa Nadal is higher than Nole in almost all GOAT rankings mainly due to his focus on Great Slams.
Richard September 01, 2020
Ivan Lendl, the only and only Ivan Lendl, said that he doesn’t care about the polls or who is voted for the Greatest of All Time. He’s more interested in the Grand Slam singles results, and who will end up with most Grand Slam singles titles. Only then can that player be called the Greatest of All Time. Your assessment, Mr Lendl is spot-on and 100% correct
Frank August 31, 2020
Federer, the tennis GOAT, may soon retire but his legacy will be cherished.
Frank August 30, 2020
Bliss and Grand Slam singles titles will be remembered long after players have retired. Grand Slam singles titles are the most important thing for the best players. It is their Grand Final.
Barry August 29, 2020
Bliss: Every tennis player knows that Grand Slam singles titles are the true measure of the greatest man’s player. Your logic is absurd! Djokovic and Nadal are still playing the game. After all three have retired, the total Grand Slam singles titles are what will determine who is the GOAT. You and all Federer fans will not convince Nadal or Djokovic that Federer is the GOAT. Even if Federer fans keep writing about him being the GOAT a million times, me and other Nadal or Djokovic fans will still laugh at these comments. We strongly disagree.
Jimmy August 29, 2020
Bliss, Nadal every step of the way. Federer’s Grand Slam singles strikerate is far higher than his. Grand Slam singles titles matter the most. That is something that every top player knows. Djokovic seems to be putting his health at stake when top players are leaving the Coronavirus. He can win the US Open.
HHfan August 29, 2020
ATP’s decision to not remove rank points from the 2019 US Open and Cincinnati is in support of Federer and Nadal against Djokovic and other players who are involved in these tournaments. While I understand that the show must be entertaining, this decision also has some disadvantages. 1) It is much harder to defend Nole’s No1 ranking, and 2) it increases RF rank over many young players who are playing all year during 2020 season. Ad 1: I wish Nole would be able stay at No1 until late 2021 when these points disappear. Ad 2: Seed in 2021 would prefer strongly RF for the first half of 2021 season.
Rafael Nadal August 29, 2020
Rafa has won 12 French Open titles. Roger won only one French Open. Federer is a distant memory.
Nostradamus August 29, 2020
Federer is a better player that Nadal and Nadal will be remembered as a better player.
Manual August 29, 2020
Vamos Rafa! Rafa is the best.
Expert August 29, 2020
Rafa and Novak will both end up with more Grand Slam titles that Federer.
Bliss’s Uncle August 29, 2020
Rafa is the best. He is pure bliss.
RAFA August 29, 2020
Bliss, he’s not. Nadal is definitely the GOAT! Yes, he is!
Bliss August 28, 2020
Federer is the tennis GOAT. Federer holds 335 records, compared to Nadal’s 164. There is a huge gap between Federer’s performance and that of the rest of the field. It is larger than most sports, such as Hockey’s Wayne Gretzky.
Ashley August 28, 2020
Ian, I also read the interview with Ivan Lendl. In the interview, Lendl mentioned that it will not be a contest for popularity to determine who is the greatest player all time. Instead, the Grand Slam singles titles each player has won after they have retired.
Federer admitted that he is currently leading, but he said that it will not be decided until all the Grand Slam participants have stopped competing in Grand Slam tournaments.
It is also important to note the strike rates of these three players when they win their Grand Slam singles titles.
Federer has won 20 Grand Slam singles titles in 79 Grand Slam tournaments.
From 59 Grand Slam tournaments, Nadal has won 19 Grand Slam singles title.
Djokovic won 17 Grand Slam singles titles in 60 Grand Slam tournaments.
As you can see Federer has participated in more Grand Slam tournaments that Nadal or Djokovic. These figures will be updated as necessary from the ladder if there is any significant change.
Ian August 28, 2020
I think Ivan Lendl said it best when he said in a May interview that Rod Laver is currently pre-men’s Open’s best player. However, he also stated that, until Djokovic Federer and Nadal retire, the Grand Slam singles champion is the greatest player ever. I agree wholeheartedly with Ivan Lendl.
Tom August 27, 2020
Rao Srinivas: You forgot to mention Federer’s quality of opposition in his first five years. This was in contrast to Djokovic and Nadal’s opposition when they began their careers. It was much more difficult. Nadal is an extremely professional tennis player.
Harry August 27, 2020
Rao Srinivas. Don’t discount Rod Laver’s incredible career. He was twice the calendar Grand Slam winner. This is a career that should be admired. Roger Federer is without doubt the greatest tennis player of all time. Federer has achieved more in five years than Djokovic and Nadal combined. Rod Laver and Djokovic are the greatest tennis players of all time.
John August 24, 2020
Tyran, it seems like you take pleasure in telling Tyran about Federer’s younger days. Federer wouldn’t have won as many Grand Slam singles title if Djokovic or Nadal had started their careers simultaneously. You didn’t mention 3 Grand Slam singles titles Federer, “aging”, won starting at age 35. You’re probably happy to be able to claim this. Remember that Djokovic and Nadal have not yet reached 35. Federer is just too impressive for what Nadal, Djokovic and their entire careers have achieved. Federer was almost 23 when Federer won his first Grand Slam singles title. Djokovic, however, won his first Grand Slam singles title at 20. Djokovic won his second Grand Slam singles at 23 in the Australian Open 2011, still less than Federer when Federer won his first Grand Slam singles title. Djokovic continued his great success in 2011, winning even more Grand Slam titles. Grass is just one surface. Djokovic and Nadal have performed well on all surfaces.
Jeff August 24, 2020
Tyran is also wrong. Federer is not as fortunate as Nadal or Djokovic in winning Grand Slam singles titles within 5 years. This is what Nadal, Djokovic and others have accomplished. We all know that Federer was able to beat the best opposition before Nadal or Djokovic. Rod Laver, who has won the calendar Grand Slam twice, is my favorite player.
HHfan August 11, 2020
Tyran: Djokovic was allergic to gluten and other foods. He began to dominate the world in 2010 after changing his diet.
Tyran Matthewurin July 29, 2020
This article is fair. Federer and Nadal should be at the top two spots, my opinion. Dokovic should have done more in the first half of his rivalry with Federer and Nadal (2006 to 2010). Djokovic won only one GS title in the 20-year period mentioned. Nadal, who is only 1 year older than him, won 8. Nadal won 8. Djokovic should have at least had an edge over Nadal on his best surface (HC). He didn’t. Djokovic never played a young Federer on grass (the best surface for Federer). Djokovic’s greatest and most impressive achievements were against an older Federer who was already 30 years old by 2011. Nadal also had greater injuries problems during this time. Nadal had more injuries post 2011 than he did in 2011. In 2012-2016, he missed more GS tournaments than he did between 2006 and 2011. These factors were the key to Djokovic’s greater success than Federer or Nadal.
kunny July 29, 2020
I think that rafael Nadal is the best, or djokovic, if you pick 1, i choose nadel
Bob July 21, 2020
Did I miss anything? Did Bill Tilden win 12 Grand Slams: FO 2, W 3, and UO 7 between 1920-1930.
MAC and Borg are the most influential in the sport (OK – Conners won UO across 3 surfaces). Except Federer, nobody else plays the full game as it should be in modern times.
There will be another. It’s the nature of tennis!
RAO SINIVAS July 4, 2020
Roger Federer is without doubt the greatest player of all time. Roger Federer is still at the top of the rankings at 38, and Novak and Rafael are also in the top 3. This is a feat that Rod Laver nor any other player could match.
Gonzalo June 12, 2020
Rod Laver is without a doubt the greatest tennis player of all time. His many games were a fascinating study. He was a professional tennis player, but he also had a beautiful and charming personality.
Tennis Hall of Fame June 11, 2020
The Tennis Hall of Fame’s selection committee has declared Rod Laver the greatest male tennis player of all time! We are certain that Rod Laver’s feat of winning four calendar Grand Slam titles and the The Grand Slam Twice in a single year will not be matched.
We also took into consideration the 24 Grand Slam tournaments Rod Laver missed while playing professionally from 1963 to 1968. We believe Rod Laver would have won between 15 and 19 of the 24 Grand Slam tournaments available, which would have pushed his total Grand Slam titles from 11 to 26 to 30.
These were Rod Laver’s peak years, which he was unable to participate in Grand Slam tournaments as a professional.
It was amazing to see Rod Laver, who had been allowed to return to Grand Slam tournaments in 1969, still win The Grand Slam, 4 Grand Slam titles in that calendar year. He also won The Grand Slam in 1962 and 4 Grand Slam titles.
Rod Laver won eight consecutive Grand Slam tournaments despite being banned from participating in Grand Slam tournaments between 1963 and 1968.
Congratulation Rod Laver for being named The Greatest Male Tennis Player All Time. May the Stadium, The Rod Laver Arena continue to grow in strength and beauty.
Tennis Expert June 10, 2020
Rod Laver is the Greatest Tennis Player All Time. Only man to win the Calendar Grand Slam Twice. Laver was not allowed to play professionally between 1963 and 1968, which meant that he missed his peak years. Rod Laver would have been able to win at least 25 Grand Slam singles titles if he was allowed to play. Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic did not win even one calendar Grand Slam or four Grand Slam singles titles within a year.
Referee June 10, 2020
Gonzalo, your complaints were presented to the officials of the ATP. No action will be taken. Tennis Code of Conduct committee members believe there is no case for Djokovic and Nadal.
Federer was asked about his opinion, and he agreed with Djokovic and Nadal.
He doesn’t get distracted by past or current behaviours and has even told the hierarchy at ATP and The International Tennis Federation he is very good friends with Nadal, Djokovic, and they have been catching up via Zoom. Both Djokovic and Nadal are considered true professionals who act professionally. Federer’s words are the most important.
Djokovic complained about the behavior of the crowd towards him during matches against Federer. Federer claims this is unfair. The ITF will take this matter seriously and may consider exiling unruly spectators from Djokovic’s matches in the future. Future tennis matches between these two players will see more security guards.
Wayne June 10, 2020
The GOAT Nadal is a GOAT!
Tennis Umpire June 10, 2020
Gonzalo, you are a terrible sport, regardless of what you say or how you write it. Federer isn’t the greatest. I have no issue with Nadal’s and Djokovics behavior. Your appeal was dismissed.
Match to Nadal or Djokovic.
Gonzalo June 10, 2020
Dear Tennis Umpire,
Nadal has repeatedly harassed his opponent by asking for more time before serving. This is illegal as players can serve whenever they like, unless an emergency occurs. This is cheating, and it’s upsetting for the opponent.
Novak used to also distract the entire game by being extremely tired and taking his time to “recover”. This behavior has been a problem since a few years back. This behavior indicates his lack of professionalism. Novak used to engage in other aggressive behaviors, such as ripping apart his shirt, etc.
Novak and Rafael are probably among the top 5 tennis players ever. They have displayed unruly, distracting, and upsetting behavior that shouldn’t have been allowed. Because we are discussing men, I won’t mention any other tennis players who have behaved worse.
Roger, on the other hand, has displayed a remarkable professional conduct and an enviable game of tennis; it is clear that Roger is a great professional tennis player. Laver is also a great player. You could argue that Laver is probably the greatest tennis player of all time, but that would be a lengthy discussion. I’m not prepared to justify that argument because I don’t have enough information and require a thorough research.
You should keep in mind, Mr. Tennis Umpire that I am a true tennis fan and have had the pleasure of watching many ATP games. Most of these were involving top tennis players such as Roger, Novaks, Rafael, Andy, Juan Martin, and others.
Although Rafael was my favorite tennis player, he is no longer my favourite. He has been very abusive. Of course, it could be proved that Novak played the most amazing tennis game of all time in 2011. Quantitative success isn’t all. To me, anyway.
Tennis Umpire June 9, 2020
Gonzalo, it seems that you don’t understand the implications of cheating. Both Nadal, Djokovic have the right to serve for twenty seconds. They are warned by the umpire if they take longer than that. This is not cheating. They’ve been doing it for their entire careers, no matter who they are playing or whether they’re beating easy qualifiers. It is only for them to be settled properly. It’s not a good idea to rush. It’s simply that other players serve faster. This has nothing to do cheating. It’s much more irritating for a player to hear the crowd booing Federer or the crowd getting under you than for an opponent to take 20 seconds to serve.
Jeremy June 9, 2020
Gonzalo shouldn’t allow excessive cheering for Federer’s matches. It’s unfair! His opponents will be helped if there are no crowds or very few people.
Larry June 9, 2020
Gonzalo, you hate Nadal and Djokovic. You wouldn’t care if Nadal or Djokovic won 30 Grand Slam singles titles. They can be hated. They can be hated, but I admire the players who do their jobs well and win their Grand Slam singles titles faster than Federer. Federer will continue to be the voice of their racquets, with Nadal and Djokovic winning more Grand Slam singles titles than Federer. Djokovic and Nadal are ACHIEVERS.
Gary June 9, 2020
Gonzalo, you’re just making ridiculous excuses for Federer’s loss to Nadal or Djokovic at Grand Slam tournaments. Federer isn’t losing to them because of it. Federer has lost the most important Grand Slam matches to Djokovic and Nadal in the past because Djokovic and Djokovic have performed better than Federer.
Realist June 9, 2020
Gonzalo, face the facts. Federer has a five year head start and won 20 Grand Slam tournaments heads start over Nadal or Djokovic. Federer’s first five years in Grand Slam tournaments was not against Murray, Djokovic, and Nadal. Federer and Djokovic had to be at their peak when Murray, Nadal, Djokovic, and Murray began their careers. Federer has been far tougher than Nadal, Djokovic and Murray throughout their careers. Nadal as well as Djokovic have succeeded. Federer’s achievements are far less impressive than what they achieved in a shorter Grand Slam tournament career.
Tennis Observer June 9, 2020
Gonzalo, Federer has the crowd cheering for him more than anyone else. It is unfair. It’s cheating. Federer loses the majority the big matches to Djokovic or Nadal throughout his career. Cheats do not prosper.
Pancho June 9, 2020
Gonzalo, Federer are a CHEAT. He serves too fast when other players are not ready. When he loses 5 sets, he makes excuses to leave the court to disrupt his opponent’s rhythm. Federer is a CHEAT. Federer is a CHEAT. Federer is a bad person.
Ken June 9, 2020
Gonzalo Nadal is a charming, humble man. I am a huge Nadal fan. Federer is just one Grand Slam title behind Nadal, but he has played in fewer than 20 Grand Slam events than Federer. Federer has missed many Grand Slam tournaments. His head-to-head record against Federer is better in Grand Slam tournaments than overall. Nadal is a champion tennis player and one of the best. Congratulations Rafa for a remarkable and brilliant tennis career!
Tom June 9, 2020
Gonzalo, they aren’t cheating! That’s it! Djokovic and Nadal are two of the most renowned tennis players ever!
Gonzalo June 9, 2020
Dominic, why not? Does professional conduct count? Cheating is not allowed. Yes, there have been other tennis stars who behave badly on the court. Dominic, the professional conduct of a player should be considered.
Dominic June 9, 2020
Gonzalo, your argument is completely irrelevant to the question of who is the greatest male tennis player ever. Keep it simple and don’t criticize other players.
Mohn JcEnroe June 8, 2020
Gonzalo, you can’t be serious! It is completely absurd to make disgraceful, inexact and disgusting accusations about cheating! Federer is not as good as Djokovic and Nadal. Federer isn’t up to the task. Djokovic and Nadal are the greatest tennis players ever. You can see the head-to-head records to find out who won their Grand Slam titles within a shorter time period.
Bob June 8, 2020
Gonzalo, you are a terrible sport. Federer has taken a longer time to win his Grand Slam titles than Nadal or Djokovic. Federer is a better opponent than Nadal or Djokovic in Grand Slam tournaments as well as overall.
Tennis Analyst June 8, 2020
Because Nadal won his 19 Grand Slam singles titles in 5 years less than Federer, he is considered the greatest tennis player ever.
Warren June 8, 2020
Gonzalo, your logic seems completely absurd. Nadal is the greatest player in tennis history.
HHfan May 31, 2020
To Stats Guy: I compared the top 10 on each list and would like to write:
1) According to statistics Rod Laver is ranked No 13, which doesn’t take into account that he was unable to participate in GSlams during six years. Rod Laver, aside from Rafa, RF and Nole, is the only player that can claim he is GOAT.
2) Bjorn Borg resigned very early. It was his choice, not injury. He deserves to be No 6 or perhaps No 5. Bjorn is the second player in tennis who could easily be in Top 5 if he played more. He could surpass the stats players 4-7.
3) Bill De Giulio will probably soon update his list and Nole will become No 2.
Bill’s list is, in general speaking, closer to reality than statistics. Rafa and Nole are separated by only 2% today, so it’s difficult to determine who is better.
Gonzalo May 18, 2020
Reasoning must be objective and based on facts. Not subjective feelings. We’ve seen Djokovic and Nadal cheating; the records prove it. Both Djokovic and Nadal have intentionally upset their opponent in many ways. Roger Federer has never displayed this behavior. Roger Federer has always played with the highest professional standards. These are facts that we can’t deny. Rod is a great example of professional values.
Terry May 17, 2020
Eric, you neglected to mention that Nadal has 19 majors over 5 years and 20 fewer Grand Slam tournaments than Federer. Fred, you neglected to mention Nadal’s 12 French Opens. This is the most difficult Grand Slam title any top player has ever won. Wimbledon is not the most important prize. It is the only Grand Slam tournament, and it has the same importance and equal importance to Grand Slam titles as the French Open title, Australian Open title and the US Open. Nadal is the GOAT. He beat Federer in a Wimbledon Final, and he won two Wimbledon titles on his worst surface. It is amazing.
Federer, who was raised on clay, has won just one French Open.
Nadal also won four US Opens as well as an Australian Open on hardcourt. Awesome. Nadal is the GOAT.
Trevor May 17, 2020
Rod Laver is the GOAT.
Brett May 17, 2020
Nadal is the GOAT.
Frank May 17, 2020
Nadal is undoubtedly the GOAT. 19 majors, Federer has 5 years less than Nadal, and Federer only 1 more. In Grand Slam tournaments, Nadal won head to head against Federer, and also won the overall record against Federer. Nadal is the greatest.
Fred May 17, 2020
Federer is the GOAT, that’s for certain. 8 Wimbledon’s most coveted prize in tennis. Awesome.
Realist May 17, 2020
It doesn’t really matter what anyone says about the greatest male or woman tennis player of all times. It is not a prize. It is impossible to compare tennis eras. Grand Slam title trophies are the main awards. After all the great players have retired the history books will list who won the most Grand Slam singles titles and Grand Slam overall titles. The history will prove that any statement made by anyone is irrelevant.
Mohn JcEnroe May 17, 2020
Federer fans: You Cannot Be Serious! Roger Federer is a better tennis player than Nadal or Djokovic. Djokovic and Nadal have better Grand Slam records against Roger Federer, and both Nadal (and Djokovic) have nearly caught Roger Federer on Grand Slam singles title wins. Both of them started their Grand Slam tournament careers 5 years after Federer. Federer is the most watched and most loved game, but Nadal or Djokovic claim to be the GOAT, Federer not.
Scott May 17, 2020
Gonzalo, your logic seems absurd! This is the greatest tennis player ever. Federer is the greatest tennis player ever, yet he has won only 1 Grand Slam singles title more than Nadal, played 5 years more as a professional than Nadal, and participated in 20 more Grand Slam tournaments that Nadal. Federer has won his Grand Slam singles titles much faster than Nadal. Therefore, I consider Nadal the greatest male tennis player ever.
On May 17, 2020, the Referee
Because Federer is the most popular, he is not number one in polls. He isn’t the greatest. He is not the greatest tennis player of all time.
Cameron May 17, 2020
Nadal isn’t a cheater. He is the greatest tennis player ever. Federer isn’t the greatest. To win his Grand Slam titles, it took Federer 5 years more than Nadal or Djokovic. Federer is underrated. Federer is overrated.
Gonzalo May 17, 2020
I was once a fan of Rafael Nadal. After further investigation, I discovered that he is a cheater. He distracts his opponent by saying that he isn’t ready. This is unacceptable as Rafael must be ready in a matter of seconds. Rafael may have this behaviour to upset his opponent, and it is without doubt corrupt. Roger Federer is a player I consider to be a great pro. He has shown exemplary professionalism, perhaps better than many. Novak Djokovic, too, has displayed unprofessional conduct by distracting the opponent with his tiredness. Roger Federer and Rod Laver are the GOAT. Rod has displayed incredible professionalism on the field.
Faith May 17, 2020
PeRFect List. Every website and poll places the GOAT Federer at #1!
Michael May 17, 2020
1. Rod Laver
2. Rafael Nadal
3. Novak Djokovic
4. Roger Federer
Jerry May 17, 2020
Rod Laver is the GOAT. Rod Laver won the Grand Slam twice, in 1962 and 1969. It was a remarkable feat to win the Australian Open and French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open in the same year, in 1962 and 1969. Rod Laver would have been the greatest male tennis player if he had been allowed to compete in Grand Slam tournaments between 1963 and 1968. Rod Laver is the greatest male tennis star of all time. Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Nadal have never won the Grand Slam. They also hold 4 Grand Slam titles. Well done Rocket Rod Laver!
Tennis Observer May 17, 2020
Federer isn’t the GOAT. Federer has a losing record against Djokovic and Nadal. Nadal is the GOAT. Djokovic will then be the GOAT. Federer isn’t as good as Djokovic and Nadal.
Fred May 16, 2020
Federer is the king of tennis, and GOAT.
Rafa is the king of bull and clay.
ND is a joker.