Putting together this list of the best tennis players of all time was surprisingly difficult. There are so many players that have performed above the cut.
Granted, some of these players would have probably been selected based upon our love for them as opposed to any real success (e.g. Tim Henman), but they still could have been included.
After much deliberation between the team, we think we have come up with a list of who the best tennis players in the world probably are.
Even if you disagree with some of this list, we are sure that you can agree that the bulk of these players deserve a place in the tennis hall of fame.
Nearly every one of these players will go down in history.
Anyway, we are itching to share our list with you, so let’s just dive in!
1. Roger Federer
- Nationality: Swiss
- Date of Birth: 8th August 1981
- First Professional Tennis Match: 1998
- Career Titles:103
Roger Federer is a name that we are 100% sure that all of you are going to agree with.
This man from Switzerland currently holds 20 Grand Slam titles, which is the joint highest attained in the game (the other guy will come later on!)
Oddly enough, despite being regarded as one of the best players to ever grace the court, Roger Federer has rarely sat at the 1st position within the rankings.
This is because he was playing at a time when there were 2 other players that were just that little better.
That being said, when Roger Federer was able to hit the number 1 position, he managed to stay there for 237-weeks.
This is a record in the game. He has been there for 310-weeks total.
This guy also wasn’t really expanded to be that good when he came on the junior scene. Just another average player (well, average for pro) but he managed to grow and learn.
2. Andy Murray
- Nationality: United Kingdom (Scotland)
- Date of Birth: 15th May 1987
- First Professional Tennis Match: 2005
- Career Titles:46
The United Kingdom, of course, invented the game of tennis. However, there was a pretty long and barren run where the UK simply couldn’t win a Grand Slam title on their home turf at Wimbledon.
Tim Henman came oh so close so many times, but he was always pipped to the post. When Andy Murray entered the scene, people had huge hopes for him. Thankfully, these hopes were well-placed.
Not only has he won Wimbledon twice, but he was the first British person since 1977 to win a Grand Slam title. He is regarded as being the person that managed to start a resurgence of tennis in the United Kingdom.
Sadly, Andy Murray has had to retire due to an injury.
However, with several Grand Slam titles and an Olympic Gold Medal under his belt, we doubt that there is any British person alive that is disappointed in his performance.
3. Novak Djokovic
- Nationality: Serbia (originally Serbia & Montenegro)
- Date of Birth: 22nd May 1987
- First Professional Tennis Match: 2003
- Career Titles:82
Novak Djokovic currently holds the record for a number of weeks at the number 1 position with 313. If you can name a Grand Slam title, this guy has won it.
He has managed to end the year in the number 1 position more times than anybody bar Pete Sampras, who is currently tied with. So, he will probably overtake him too.
While we doubt that you would ever be able to return that many hits from a professional tennis player, you would probably struggle a lot to get an hit back from Novak Djokovic.
He is one of the best backhand players in the world. In fact, many people claim that he is the best the game has ever seen.
Couple this with his aggressive play and it is no surprise so many titles have his name etched on them.
4. Jimmy Connors
No best tennis players of all-time list would be complete without the great Jimmy Connors.
- Nationality: American
- Date of Birth: September 2, 1952
- First Professional Tennis Match: 1968
- Career Titles:109
Jimmy Connors was trained by his mother and grandmother and began fighting for career titles with the Boy’s US Championship of 11-and-under.
He won his first championship in 1972, the Jacksonville Open. Connors went on to secure 8 grand slam singles titles and 2 grand slam doubles titles.
Jimmy Connors stopped competing professionally in 1981 and began coaching other notable tennis players including Andy Roddick and Maria Sharapova in 2006.
5. Serena Williams
- Nationality: American
- Date of Birth: 26th September 1981
- First Professional Tennis Match: 1995
- Career Titles:73
Compared to most tennis players, what a career Serena Williams has had so far.
With her sister, Venus Williams, she has won 14 Grand Slam Titles in doubles. As a solo player, she has managed a further 12 Grand Slam Titles.
Now, we know that there are some people that will say that it is easier to dominate in the women’s game. It probably is. However, that doesn’t matter. Serena Williams is one of those people that has been consistently good at the sport.
No matter what the game has thrown at her, she has thrived. She has even won matches while pregnant. You won’t be seeing a man do that!
She is currently the highest-paid female athlete in the world. While she is certainly older than many of the others on this list, she does not seem to be retiring any time soon, so you can expect those singles titles to start racking up like crazy.
6. Naomi Osaka
- Nationality: Japan
- Date of Birth: 16th October 1997
- First Professional Tennis Match: 2013
Naomi Osaka is only 23, but she has already racked up a whopping $13-million in prize money as a tennis player. She has won four Grand Slam singles titles and is currently the world number 1 on the female side of things.
This is her at the start of her career.
Imagine what she will be doing later on. In fact, this is probably the only female on the tennis circuit right now that we can see giving Serena Williams’ Grand Slam Singles titles a run for their money.
She and Kei have proven that Japan is going to be a force to be reckoned with when it comes to tennis in the future. Japan is increasingly becoming home to a ton of awesome tennis players.
7. Rafael Nadal
- Nationality: Spanish
- Date of Birth: 3rd June 1986
- First Professional Tennis Match: 2001
- Career Titles:86
Remember we said earlier that Roger Federer had a rival for all-time Grand Slam titles? Well, that is Rafael Nadal.
The Spanish tennis player has achieved 20 Grand Slam titles in his time on the court, and he probably has a couple more rolling in soon too.
Interestingly, the bulk of his titles, 13 of them, in fact, come from the French Open. This is a record for any player at any competition. No other player has won 13 titles at the same competition. So, you certainly wouldn’t want to be facing Nadal if you had to head to France!
Of course, everybody knew that Nadal was going to dominate the professional circuit. He is the most successful junior tennis player ever.
8. Rod Laver
- Nationality: Australian
- Date of Birth: 9th August 1938
- First Professional Tennis Match: 1998
- Career Titles:200
No, we didn’t make a typo. Rod Laver, the tennis player, was really born in 1938. Surprising, right?
Everybody else is modern player, but you simply cannot write a list about the greatest tennis players of all time without giving Rod Laver a few words.
This guy played in both the pre-Open era and the Open Era. He managed to pick up a whopping 11 Grand Slam titles, but a ban from competing stopped him from picking up plenty more.
Nobody else has achieved as many titles as this guy has and, honestly, we doubt that they are ever going to come close.
Obviously, you won’t see him performing on the court again, but maybe you should check out some of this guy’s old games.
9. Pete Sampras
- Nationality: American
- Date of Birth: 12th August 1971
- First Professional Tennis Match: 1988
- Career Titles:64
Ask an American who their favorite tennis player of all time is, and we are pretty sure that Pete Sampras will be one of their picks. How can he not be?
He has 14 Grand Slam titles to his name. At the time, it was a record.
Obviously, this record has since been beaten, but we cannot overstate just how much Pete Sampras dominated the game in the past.
At least he still holds one record, though. He is the only tennis player to hold the number 1 ranking six-years in a row. We doubt that this will ever be beaten.
10. Kei Nishikori
- Nationality: Japanese
- Date of Birth: 29th December 1989
- First Professional Tennis Match: 2007
- Career Titles:12
We know. We know. Kei Nishikori has barely any titles as a tennis player compared to the other people that we have featured on this list. However, he had to be included.
Kei is the most successful Japanese player in history. He is the only male player from Asia to hit a Grand Slam Final too which, sadly, he was unable to take.
While it is unlikely that Kei Nishikori will ever go down in history as one of the greatest players of all time globally, he is certainly the best players to ever be produced by the entire continent of Asia, which of course makes it worth mentioning.
11. Denis Shapovalov
- Nationality: Canada
- Date of Birth: 15th April 1999
- First Professional Tennis Match: 2016
- Career Titles: 1
Denis Shapovalov was born in Israel, but competes under the Canadian banner.
Amongst tennis players, he does have any titles wins as of yet, including Grand Slam titles.
So why do we mention him? We wrap up our best tennis players of all time with a prediction.
Our prediction is that Denis Shapovalov will in time, become one of the best tennis players of all time.
In all competitions thus far, he has outperformed expectations.
He is sitting at World Number 10 without winning any major tournaments. If this guy isn’t a world number 1 at some point, we will be surprised.