Greatest Tennis Player of All-Time (Men)

xFedal

Legend
There a reason to have so many versions of the same thread? Anywho, OE only:

1. Federer
2. Djokovic
3. Borg
4. Nadal
5. Sampras
6. Lendl
7. Connors
8. McEnroe
9. Becker
10. Agassi

I finally put Nadal over Sampras after the 4th USO and 5th YE. Pete has nothing now except the concentration of clutch performances. I'd still take him over Nadal in a H2H overall but career-wise there's nothing left really as his weeks at #1 are no longer as big a gap but he still has all the WTF titles.
What does Nadal have to do in your eyes for him to be above Borg and Djokovic in your list?
 

King No1e

G.O.A.T.
How can you have Federer above Nadal and Djokovic? But Rosewall over Djkr and Nadl?
Rosewall won 23 Majors, stayed at the top for over 20 years, and was the King of Clay before Nadal. And Fed is clearly above Rafa and Nole - Slam count, weeks at #1, match wins/titles, WTF, etc.
 

King No1e

G.O.A.T.
If we remove players who competed in the amateur and open eras:
1. Federer
2. Djokovic
3. Nadal
4. Sampras
5. Borg
5. Connors
7. Lendl
8. Agassi
9. McEnroe
10. Wilander
 

Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
If we remove players who competed in the amateur and open eras:
1. Federer
2. Djokovic
3. Nadal
4. Sampras
5. Borg
5. Connors
7. Lendl
8. Agassi
9. McEnroe
10. Wilander
Why should we remove them? Some stats are not contingent on the change of eras. For example, numbers of wins against top 20 players.
 

Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
"Talent" is essentially another word for "level of play".

Yes, that is a good measure of greatness, which has the advantage of not being dependent upon split fields, amateur/pro splits, although change in technology would still be a problem.

Do you have a fuller rating for the greats?
 

King No1e

G.O.A.T.
Why should we remove them? Some stats are not contingent on the change of eras. For example, numbers of wins against top 20 players.
Which is why I already posted a list including anyone who won Slams in OE. Laver and Rosewall at #1 and #3.
I suppose Gonzales and Budge would make the top 10 all time, but I won't pretend I'm knowledgeable enough to rank them.
 

Boubi

Semi-Pro
I saw all of them with the notable exception of Connors, I just can say that I never witnessed any better player than John, speed, intensity, touch...what I saw in Brussels, 1984, was unreal
 

KG1965

Legend
I saw all of them with the notable exception of Connors, I just can say that I never witnessed any better player than John, speed, intensity, touch...what I saw in Brussels, 1984, was unreal
I agree.
For me too, John was the best player I could see.

... and I wasn't his fan.;)
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
There a reason to have so many versions of the same thread? Anywho, OE only:

1. Federer
2. Djokovic
3. Borg
4. Nadal
5. Sampras
6. Lendl
7. Connors
8. McEnroe
9. Becker
10. Agassi

I finally put Nadal over Sampras after the 4th USO and 5th YE. Pete has nothing now except the concentration of clutch performances. I'd still take him over Nadal in a H2H overall but career-wise there's nothing left really as his weeks at #1 are no longer as big a gap but he still has all the WTF titles.
well, using that logic, I might argue why is it that Borg remains #3? you could argue that Nadal has surpassed him as well. He has won all of the slams...multiple USOs, which Borg could not win ONE. While Borg has a tremendous legacy, i think Nadal has surpassed it now. Of course, while I would also put Pete in front of Nadal, given some of his performances, I think the #s lean toward Nadal. And I always put Connors in front of Lendl, but that's another great debate. I think the #s still lean towards JC and the slam mix is more prestigious. Agassi in front of Becker as well....but to each his own.
 
"Talent" is essentially another word for "level of play".

Yes, that is a good measure of greatness, which has the advantage of not being dependent upon split fields, amateur/pro splits, although change in technology would still be a problem.

Do you have a fuller rating for the greats?
I already published a list of players what made me enjoy tennis. Each of them had something.

All this is extremely subjective, since it's not about to give a list of winners of titles and records. This last I'm not interested.
 

Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
I already published a list of players what made me enjoy tennis. Each of them had something.

All this is extremely subjective, since it's not about to give a list of winners of titles and records. This last I'm not interested.
I agree, the titles mean nothing without a detailed research into the fields themselves.

I believe that we should rely upon the first-hand statements of those who actually played against the greats, and knew themselves what it felt like to be on the

receiving end of their games.
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
I agree.
For me too, John was the best player I could see.

... and I wasn't his fan.;)
of those I've witnessed, I'd say McEnroe and Federer are the most gifted/talented. Now, Mac did not accomplish quite as much as he could have during his career...not including dubs or Davis Cup, mind you. Which is why he ranks a bit lower than Lendl and Connors on most lists. But, his game, at it's best, surpassed both of them. He just was not at that level, day in-day out, year after year. The others were more consistent over time.
 

xFedal

Legend
Rosewall won 23 Majors, stayed at the top for over 20 years, and was the King of Clay before Nadal. And Fed is clearly above Rafa and Nole - Slam count, weeks at #1, match wins/titles, WTF, etc.
Nadal above DJOKOVIC AND ROSEWALL....
 

BGod

Legend
well, using that logic, I might argue why is it that Borg remains #3? you could argue that Nadal has surpassed him as well. He has won all of the slams...multiple USOs, which Borg could not win ONE. While Borg has a tremendous legacy, i think Nadal has surpassed it now. Of course, while I would also put Pete in front of Nadal, given some of his performances, I think the #s lean toward Nadal. And I always put Connors in front of Lendl, but that's another great debate. I think the #s still lean towards JC and the slam mix is more prestigious. Agassi in front of Becker as well....but to each his own.
Borg's percentages are just insane. The clutch performances. And he outright dominated at 2 Slams for an extended period. Nadal has only done it at 1.

Also context. Borg's 11 Slam titles leaving at his age was a drop the mike moment for that time when few played the AO and Emerson's 12 was not taken serious.

That's why Borg is #3. And frankly I don't see putting Nadal ahead of Borg, Fed or Novak because he simply never had that extended period of dominance. He has 2010. His legacy is tied forever with the French Open which comprises a ridiculously huge percentage of his Major wins, with no WTFs (which Borg was a great indoor player btw and won 3 times, or 2 times precursor WTF and a competing Final another year).

Djokovic meanwhile has proven himself the most clutch performer in the sport's OE history with the volume over Borg.

Nadal simply has peaked out. Additional French Opens add nothing to his legacy. My opinion of course.
 

Boubi

Semi-Pro
of those I've witnessed, I'd say McEnroe and Federer are the most gifted/talented. Now, Mac did not accomplish quite as much as he could have during his career...not including dubs or Davis Cup, mind you. Which is why he ranks a bit lower than Lendl and Connors on most lists. But, his game, at it's best, surpassed both of them. He just was not at that level, day in-day out, year after year. The others were more consistent over time.
Not really imo, the end of McEnroe's career has a name: Tatum O'Neal.
Still he managed to win a lot between 78 and 85
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
Borg's percentages are just insane. The clutch performances. And he outright dominated at 2 Slams for an extended period. Nadal has only done it at 1.

Also context. Borg's 11 Slam titles leaving at his age was a drop the mike moment for that time when few played the AO and Emerson's 12 was not taken serious.

That's why Borg is #3. And frankly I don't see putting Nadal ahead of Borg, Fed or Novak because he simply never had that extended period of dominance. He has 2010. His legacy is tied forever with the French Open which comprises a ridiculously huge percentage of his Major wins, with no WTFs (which Borg was a great indoor player btw and won 3 times, or 2 times precursor WTF and a competing Final another year).

Djokovic meanwhile has proven himself the most clutch performer in the sport's OE history with the volume over Borg.

Nadal simply has peaked out. Additional French Opens add nothing to his legacy. My opinion of course.
Borg accomplished a lot in a much shorter period of time, agreed. But why penalize Nadal for accomplishing even more over a longer period of time? Or Novak? If it's merely about peak play, then I might put Mac at #1. Yes, Nadal is the FO King, but so was Borg for that matter. Nadal only has 2 W to Borg's 5, but he does have 4 USOs, and that's not a meager accomplishment. If I had to pick a guy to play for my life, it would be Borg, Connors or Nadal, for sure. Just a lot of grit and determination there.
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
Not really imo, the end of McEnroe's career has a name: Tatum O'Neal.
Still he managed to win a lot between 78 and 85
Everyone says that, and certainly concluded that at the time. But, I think Mac's head wasn't into it. Losing the '85 USO to Lendl was the start of a long decline. He did rebound in '89, but it was a little too late, IMHO
 

Boubi

Semi-Pro
Everyone says that, and certainly concluded that at the time. But, I think Mac's head wasn't into it. Losing the '85 USO to Lendl was the start of a long decline. He did rebound in '89, but it was a little too late, IMHO
He wasn't into anymore that's what I say indeed, he stopped playing the doubles which cut his activity by almost two...his tennis already went down early 85, around say April where he crushed Becker in Milan, a short increase of his level of tennis right before the Us open then game over
 

Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
The great Mickey Wright, former women's pro golfer, considered the greatest LPGA player ever, passed on this week.

Here is an analysis of her great swing motion, rated the best ever by Ben Hogan, who was the most renowned judge of golf swings.


The analyst compares Wright's swing to Nicklaus.

Wright is still acclaimed today as the greatest ever in women's golf. Why should tennis analysts hesitate to compare today's players with those of the sixties?

Why should one sport be singled out as being unable to compare with the past? That does not add up.

When history of sports is discussed, no one excludes the great baseball players of the past from consideration as the best ever...tennis should be the same.
 

Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
The great Mickey Wright, former women's pro golfer, considered the greatest LPGA player ever, passed on this week.

Here is an analysis of her great swing motion, rated the best ever by Ben Hogan, who was the most renowned judge of golf swings.


The analyst compares Wright's swing to Nicklaus.

Wright is still acclaimed today as the greatest ever in women's golf. Why should tennis analysts hesitate to compare today's players with those of the sixties?

Why should one sport be singled out as being unable to compare with the past? That does not add up.

When history of sports is discussed, no one excludes the great baseball players of the past from consideration as the best ever...tennis should be the same.
Good to see the "likes" on this post above, astute observations.

If we were to compare the strokes of the top players today with those of Gonzales and Hoad, only Federer would stand up to the comparison.

The others have two-handed wind-ups which hinder a flexible net play.
 

Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
Thank you Virginia.

More Rosewall's stats made and compiled by AndrewTas in January 2009 : magnificent Andrew's work as usual :

Career Summary

Amateur Period Tournament Win-Loss
1949 2-0 (projected win-loss 5-0)
1950 16-9
1951 28-10
1952 38-16 (projected win-loss 40-16)
1953 70-14
1954 59-14
1955 66-7
1956 97-10 (projected win-loss 98-10)

Amateur Period 376-80 (projected win-loss for period 382-80)

Joe McCauley’s Amateur Win-Loss Record
1950: 15:10 (includes 1-3 from state matches)
1951: 28:10
1952: 38:16
1953: 81:17 (3 losses from international team play)
1954: 63:14
1955: 69:7
1956: 90:9

Professional Years Tournament Win-Loss
1957 13-11 (with pro tours and other matches 85-87)
1958 21-15 (with pro tours and other matches 63-29)
1959 27-15 (with pro tours and other matches 62-32)
1960 30-4 (with pro tours and other matches 62-30)
1961 24-7 (with pro tours and other matches 29-7)
1962 40-5 (with pro tours and other matches 52-7)
1963 30-10 (with pro tours and other matches 89-26)
1964 46-15 (with pro tours and other matches 69-30)
1965 48-26 (with pro tours and other matches 50-30)
1966 56-18 (with pro tours and other matches 60-20)
1967 56-20 (with pro tours and other matches 59-24)

Pro Period 391-146 (with pro tours and matches 680-322)

Open Era Tournament Win-Loss
1968 43-12 (NTL reported 46-13 which may include Gonzales One-night Stands)
1969 54-23
1970 71-21
1971 76-19
1972 63-15
1973 67-17
1974 31-9
1975 49-12 (projected 50-12)
1976 44-18
1977 42-20
1978 20-20
1979 4-5
1980 3-3
1982 2-1 (projected 4-1)

Open Era 569-195 (projected and with NTL 575-196)

Summary
Amateur Period 376-80 (projected win-loss for period 382-80)
Pro Period 391-146 (with pro tours and matches 680-322)
Open Era 569-195 (projected and with NTL 575-196)

Total Career Tournament Win-Loss (not including pro tours)
1336-421 (projected as 1348-420)

Total Career Win-Loss (with pro tours and other pro results)
1625-597 (projected as 1637-598 )


Tournaments Played/ Won
1949 2/ 0
1950 9/ 0
1951 11/ 1
1952 16/ 0
1953 17/ 4
1954 16/ 3
1955 12/ 5
1956 21/ 11 (one final unknown)
1957 7/ 1
1958 13/ 2
1959 13/ 3
1960 10/ 6
1961 8/ 3
1962 15/ 9
1963 13/ 5
1964 26/ 10 (+1 shared)
1965 26/ 6
1966 24/ 9
1967 23/ 7
1968 17/ 5
1969 24/ 3
1970 25/ 6
1971 27/ 8
1972 22/ 7
1973 22/ 5
1974 9/ 0
1975 16/ 5
1976 21/ 4
1977 22/ 2
1978 18/ 0
1979 5/ 0
1980 3/ 0
1982 1/ 0

Singles won 130 (+ 1 shared) of 514 tournaments played
Rosewall won 89 matches in 1963, the closest that he would come to winning 100 in a season.
 

Rui Lopes

Rookie
This guy has BORG ahead of MAC!!!! I thought MAC was the reason Borg retired?? MAC was better than Borg.
You are correct about the OP list being stupid. it´s highly stupid. but your statement on Borg quitting because of Mac and that Mac was better than Borg just makes you on the same level of stupid...
 

Rui Lopes

Rookie
Mac was better than anyone, Federer included
You are a tennis specialist for sure...
When you talk about Mac, try to mention that he is your favourite instead of saying he is the best. That way you won´t sound dumb.
He is surely on the list of the best tennis players of all time...
 

Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
Richard Evans' top five all-time,

1) Federer
2) Hoad
3) Laver
4) Rosewall
5) McEnroe
6) Borg
7) Sampras
8) Kramer
9) Agassi
10) Connors

Evans has seen them all.
 

mightyrick

Legend
Richard Evans' top five all-time,

1) Federer
2) Hoad
3) Laver
4) Rosewall
5) McEnroe
6) Borg
7) Sampras
8) Kramer
9) Agassi
10) Connors

Evans has seen them all.
Can you provide a citation for this which includes a date and time? Either this is from 2007 or Richard Evans was in a bed crapping his diapers and suffering high-fever delusions when he wrote that.
 

Boubi

Semi-Pro
You are a tennis specialist for sure...
When you talk about Mac, try to mention that he is your favourite instead of saying he is the best. That way you won´t sound dumb.
He is surely on the list of the best tennis players of all time...
Hahaha, relax man....it just cannot be measured.....just a question of taste
 

Ivan69

Hall of Fame
Can you provide a citation for this which includes a date and time? Either this is from 2007 or Richard Evans was in a bed crapping his diapers and suffering high-fever delusions when he wrote that.
This list was from around 2013-2014. It was not even published officially, it was posted, if I remember correctly, in a social media. But not this is important. Important is that either Evans or many many tennis experts and journalists never studied the whole careers of the players when listing their rankings or publications. This is real bad for them. Instead of that they observed a couple of tournaments and that's all.
 

Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
Can you provide a citation for this which includes a date and time? Either this is from 2007 or Richard Evans was in a bed crapping his diapers and suffering high-fever delusions when he wrote that.
Evans is expert number one...this list came out on Twitter in Dec 2018 or Jan 2019.

It is great list by the foremost expert on tennis.
 

Ivan69

Hall of Fame
Evans is expert number one...this list came out on Twitter in Dec 2018 or Jan 2019.

It is great list by the foremost expert on tennis.
Nope. Maybe you have read it in 2018/2019.
But I think that the expert no 1 would be that placing Hoad No 1.
 

Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
Nope. Maybe you have read it in 2018/2019.
But I think that the expert no 1 would be that placing Hoad No 1.
Evans changed his mind in 2016, and placed Hoad second to Fed after that.

However, I wonder why Evans excluded Gonzales from the top ten. He also excluded Tilden, Budge, Vines.
 

Ivan69

Hall of Fame
Evans changed his mind in 2016, and placed Hoad second to Fed after that.

However, I wonder why Evans excluded Gonzales from the top ten. He also excluded Tilden, Budge, Vines.
Simple. Experts who don't use full stats for their rankings may change their minds 100 times. And they never can explain why player A is 1, 3, 6, 10.
 

DSH

G.O.A.T.
In what position do the historians of the game put Tilden and Gonzales among the best tennis players in history?
:unsure:
 

Ivan69

Hall of Fame
In what position do the historians of the game put Tilden and Gonzales among the best tennis players in history?
:unsure:
Tilden and Gonzales deserve the designation due to their career results. There are people who are familiar with their careers (1% or less) and people who have only heard of them or even not heard of them (99% or more).
 

DSH

G.O.A.T.
Tilden and Gonzales deserve the designation due to their career results. There are people who are familiar with their careers (1% or less) and people who have only heard of them or even not heard of them (99% or more).
But if at this moment you made a list of the top 10 tennis players in history, would you include them and in what position in that ranking would you put them?
 

JW10S

Hall of Fame
If one of today's players had to go back in time and play a prime Bill Tilden and had wear long sleeve shirts and long pants, canvas tennis shoes and play with a heavy, small headed wood racquet with no grip, just the bare wood to hold on to, I don't know if they'd fair so well. Today's players owe much of how they are able to play to the lighter, bigger graphite racquets strung with polyester and have fancy overgrips along with the hi-tech shoes and the homogenization of tennis court surface speeds. Comparing different eras is very sketchy at best.
 

Ivan69

Hall of Fame
If one of today's players had to go back in time and play a prime Bill Tilden and had wear long sleeve shirts and long pants, canvas tennis shoes and play with a heavy, small headed wood racquet with no grip, just the bare wood to hold on to, I don't know if they'd fair so well. Today's players owe much of how they are able to play to the lighter, bigger graphite racquets strung with polyester and have fancy overgrips along with the hi-tech shoes and the homogenization of tennis court surface speeds. Comparing different eras is very sketchy at best.
We are not able to compare styles, racquets, shots, rehab etc. That's for sure. But we are able to compare career results. This requires a huge time but it is the best way.
 
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