Greatest tennis players of all time

Is the list fair?

  • Yes, it is accurate.

    Votes: 5 33.3%
  • No, it is not accurate.

    Votes: 10 66.7%

  • Total voters
    15

NoleFam

Bionic Poster
And Navratilova would be the undisputed Open Era GOAT for WTA. Singles achievements are so much greater it's ridiculous to bring up anything else.

Yea pretty much. I personally think it's amazing when top players can win singles and lots of doubles titles as well, but doubles are just not weighed nearly as much when talking about the greatest player.
 

NoleFam

Bionic Poster
The opinion is based upon what tennis fans have voted for. That is how the list is compiled.

Oh. Well that explains everything. :D You can never trust people to vote for who the best is because they often get it wrong. I could divulge further but I digress.
 

robbo1970

Hall of Fame
Well then it is what it is. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and their personal preference.

Exactly. This is how people have voted. But sometimes what constitutes a great player is open to personal opinion. Some will base it on achievements, others will base it on their style of play, often a combination of the two.

Based upon the way in which McEnroe is often maligned on here, if it came down to a TT vote, I'm not sure he would make the list, let alone be top 5.
 

robbo1970

Hall of Fame
Oh. Well that explains everything. :D You can never trust people to vote for who the best is because they often get it wrong. I could divulge further but I digress.

Haha, yes, let's not get political. Sometimes there should be a vote that determines whether some people should be allowed to vote :D
 

BobbyOne

G.O.A.T.
I was searching on the internet, and I found this list that seems to be more or less accurate:
https://howtheyplay.com/individual-sports/Top-10-Greatest-Male-Tennis-Players-of-All-Time


But then I found this list of Ranker.com: http://www.ranker.com/crowdranked-list/greatest-mens-tennis-players-of-all-time

Is this last list fair? I think it must be too old. McEnroe over Djokovic with 7 Slams? Sampras over Rafa without French Open and 14 Slams?

A top ten list without Tilden, Gonzalez and Rosewall is RIDICULOUS!
 

Sport

G.O.A.T.
Nadal lost in 5 sets to Federer in Wimbledon 2007 and won in Wimbledon 2008. I think Nadal could beat peak Sampras in the "slower" Wimbledon of 2007/2008. Sampras would never beat Nadal on the clay of the 90s. So the argument that Nadal is no more complete than Sampras because of the homogenezation of the courts... I don't see it as valid.
 

Sport

G.O.A.T.
A top ten list without Tilden, Gonzalez and Rosewall is RIDICULOUS!

It all depends on what do you consider more relevant. If you consider very relevant which player is the most dominant in his era, then those names should be in the top 10. But if you consider objectively which player is better, Gonzalez, Rosewall and specially Tilden cannot be on the list. If you put Tilden or Rosewall playing in the 2000s or 2010s they would probably have 0 Grand Slams. If you put Federer, Nadal and Djokovic playing in the 1930s or even the 1960s they would dominate that era. Gonazalez, Tilden and Rosewall were playing in an era with less professional players.

Look at this match of Bill Tilden. His forehand and backhand are so slow. How could he defeat Federer or Nadal? And Roseall is only 5' 7". In modern tennis that's a huge physical disadvantadge. Gonzalez won 2 Grand Slams and 12 Pro Slams for a total of 14 Majors. But Gonzalez never won any Major on clay, he wasn't a complete player.
 

BobbyOne

G.O.A.T.
It all depends on what do you consider more relevant. If you consider very relevant which player is the most dominant in his era, then those names should be in the top 10. But if you consider objectively which player is better, Gonzalez, Rosewall and specially Tilden cannot be on the list. If you put Tilden or Rosewall playing in the 2000s or 2010s they would probably have 0 Grand Slams. If you put Federer, Nadal and Djokovic playing in the 1930s or even the 1960s they would dominate that era. Gonazalez, Tilden and Rosewall were playing in an era with less professional players.

Look at this match of Bill Tilden. His forehand and backhand are so slow. How could he defeat Federer or Nadal? And Roseall is only 5' 7". In modern tennis that's a huge physical disadvantadge. Gonzalez won 2 Grand Slams and 12 Pro Slams for a total of 14 Majors. But Gonzalez never won any Major on clay, he wasn't a complete player.

Sport, You are bad sport. Give Federer and Nadal wood racquets and they would have difficulties to cope with Laver and Rosewall. You underestimate the importance of the equipment. Give Tilden a modern racquet and he would be awesome.

Your claim that Pancho Gonzalez was not a complete player is the joke of the century and shows clearly that you understand very little about tennis history! I have great difficulties to find a tennis player who was or is more complete than Pancho...
 

ibbi

G.O.A.T.
Not a fan of either list, but putting McEnroe over Djokovic is not one of the reasons why. Mac was like Fed, he had the genius tag. Doesn't matter how much he won.
 

ibbi

G.O.A.T.
It all depends on what do you consider more relevant. If you consider very relevant which player is the most dominant in his era, then those names should be in the top 10. But if you consider objectively which player is better, Gonzalez, Rosewall and specially Tilden cannot be on the list. If you put Tilden or Rosewall playing in the 2000s or 2010s they would probably have 0 Grand Slams. If you put Federer, Nadal and Djokovic playing in the 1930s or even the 1960s they would dominate that era. Gonazalez, Tilden and Rosewall were playing in an era with less professional players.

Look at this match of Bill Tilden. His forehand and backhand are so slow. How could he defeat Federer or Nadal? And Roseall is only 5' 7". In modern tennis that's a huge physical disadvantadge. Gonzalez won 2 Grand Slams and 12 Pro Slams for a total of 14 Majors. But Gonzalez never won any Major on clay, he wasn't a complete player.
If you're going to look at it that way then there shouldn't be anyone on the list from more than 25-ish years ago at the very most. Technically you're absolutely correct in what you're saying, which is exactly why it's completely idiotic to ever try and compare players across eras to begin with. You can't ask what would happen if Bill Tilden played Roger Federer, you can only look at each guys accomplishments within the time that he played.
 

heftylefty

Hall of Fame
The ranker list most be ranked the worst all time list imaginable.

Clearly the person who wrote this list is a member here.
 

BobbyOne

G.O.A.T.
If you're going to look at it that way then there shouldn't be anyone on the list from more than 25-ish years ago at the very most. Technically you're absolutely correct in what you're saying, which is exactly why it's completely idiotic to ever try and compare players across eras to begin with. You can't ask what would happen if Bill Tilden played Roger Federer, you can only look at each guys accomplishments within the time that he played.

ibbi, Absurd! If tennis at the top would increase from decade to decade, Laver and Rosewall would not have been able to beat Connors and Borg, Connors would not have been able to reach the US Open SF at 39 and so on. Also Federer, Nadal, Murray, Djokovic and Wawrinka would not still be the best players because the next generation would dominate these oldies.
 

ibbi

G.O.A.T.
ibbi, Absurd! If tennis at the top would increase from decade to decade, Laver and Rosewall would not have been able to beat Connors and Borg, Connors would not have been able to reach the US Open SF at 39 and so on. Also Federer, Nadal, Murray, Djokovic and Wawrinka would not still be the best players because the next generation would dominate these oldies.
I would say tennis has probably changed infinitely more in the last 20/30 years than it did in the 50 odd years prior to that. I didn't say anything about decade to decade, the technology, and the levels of fitness and physicality in the game have completely transformed it into something different than the sport Rosewall and Laver played.
 

BobbyOne

G.O.A.T.
I would say tennis has probably changed infinitely more in the last 20/30 years than it did in the 50 odd years prior to that. I didn't say anything about decade to decade, the technology, and the levels of fitness and physicality in the game have completely transformed it into something different than the sport Rosewall and Laver played.

ibbi, Better technology does NOT mean that the players have become stronger! Rod Laver was as fit as the modern top players. In fact he had a stronger wrist of his playing arm than Federer. Lew Hoad even earlier had a playing arm probably more voluminous than even Nadal!

You did not react to my argument that five oldies still dominate the tennis world.
 

dgold44

G.O.A.T.
I was searching on the internet, and I found this list that seems to be more or less accurate:
https://howtheyplay.com/individual-sports/Top-10-Greatest-Male-Tennis-Players-of-All-Time


But then I found this list of Ranker.com: http://www.ranker.com/crowdranked-list/greatest-mens-tennis-players-of-all-time

Is this last list fair? I think it must be too old. McEnroe over Djokovic with 7 Slams? Sampras over Rafa without French Open and 14 Slams?

You can only do this by post and pre open era

Open era
Federer, SAmpras, Nadal, Djoker, Borg

Pre era is confusing but I am going to say
Pancho G. , Laver, Rosewall, Tilden and then maybe Budge
 

dgold44

G.O.A.T.
Tilden dominated for decades and was winning into his mid 40's but the quality of opponents was questionable.
Laver was superb but he never had a huge shot and many of his earlier wins were against amauters and the 60's was a weak decade
Pancho G dominated a very tough serve and volley loaded 50's but there was little depth of players .

rosewall was always second fiddle to either Pancho or Laver . Rosewall had no big shots either expect for crazy volleys.
Budge won his slam against non-pros and I think his career was cut short due to injury.
 

dgold44

G.O.A.T.
Djoker has greatly surpassed Borg and KEn Rosewall but its impossible to compare him to Laver or Pancho G because of the time frame.
 

dgold44

G.O.A.T.
I was searching on the internet, and I found this list that seems to be more or less accurate:
https://howtheyplay.com/individual-sports/Top-10-Greatest-Male-Tennis-Players-of-All-Time


But then I found this list of Ranker.com: http://www.ranker.com/crowdranked-list/greatest-mens-tennis-players-of-all-time

Is this last list fair? I think it must be too old. McEnroe over Djokovic with 7 Slams? Sampras over Rafa without French Open and 14 Slams?

You can easily say that Pancho G was the greatest pre-open player and his accomplishments would easily beat MAC, Connors or Lendl or Borg.
 

ibbi

G.O.A.T.
ibbi, Better technology does NOT mean that the players have become stronger! Rod Laver was as fit as the modern top players. In fact he had a stronger wrist of his playing arm than Federer. Lew Hoad even earlier had a playing arm probably more voluminous than even Nadal!

You did not react to my argument that five oldies still dominate the tennis world.
I didn't respond to it because it has nothing to do with the point I was making. :p
 

BobbyOne

G.O.A.T.
Tilden dominated for decades and was winning into his mid 40's but the quality of opponents was questionable.
Laver was superb but he never had a huge shot and many of his earlier wins were against amauters and the 60's was a weak decade
Pancho G dominated a very tough serve and volley loaded 50's but there was little depth of players .

rosewall was always second fiddle to either Pancho or Laver . Rosewall had no big shots either expect for crazy volleys.
Budge won his slam against non-pros and I think his career was cut short due to injury.

dgold, Wrong! Laver had huge shots (forehand, backhand). He dominated among the pros even in open era.

Gonzalez had more top opponents than Federer had: Rosewall, Hoad, Segura, Sedgman, Trabert, Laver, Newcombe etc.

Rosewall had a big shot: His backhand, arguable the greatest of all time plus his great volleys.

Rosewall did not always play second fiddle: He was 8:4 against in 1959 and 5:4 in 1961.

Rosewall also was ahead of Laver in 1963, 1964, and from 1971 onwards.
 
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BobbyOne

G.O.A.T.
I didn't respond to it because it has nothing to do with the point I was making. :p

ibbi, You should have responded because according to your theory Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, Murray and Wawrinka should not dominate tennis world as oldies!!
 

RF-18

Talk Tennis Guru
It all depends on what do you consider more relevant. If you consider very relevant which player is the most dominant in his era, then those names should be in the top 10. But if you consider objectively which player is better, Gonzalez, Rosewall and specially Tilden cannot be on the list. If you put Tilden or Rosewall playing in the 2000s or 2010s they would probably have 0 Grand Slams. If you put Federer, Nadal and Djokovic playing in the 1930s or even the 1960s they would dominate that era. Gonazalez, Tilden and Rosewall were playing in an era with less professional players.

Look at this match of Bill Tilden. His forehand and backhand are so slow. How could he defeat Federer or Nadal? And Roseall is only 5' 7". In modern tennis that's a huge physical disadvantadge. Gonzalez won 2 Grand Slams and 12 Pro Slams for a total of 14 Majors. But Gonzalez never won any Major on clay, he wasn't a complete player.

Hahaha wat???

Surely this must be a troll
 

zagor

Bionic Poster
It all depends on what do you consider more relevant. If you consider very relevant which player is the most dominant in his era, then those names should be in the top 10. But if you consider objectively which player is better, Gonzalez, Rosewall and specially Tilden cannot be on the list. If you put Tilden or Rosewall playing in the 2000s or 2010s they would probably have 0 Grand Slams. If you put Federer, Nadal and Djokovic playing in the 1930s or even the 1960s they would dominate that era. Gonazalez, Tilden and Rosewall were playing in an era with less professional players.

Look at this match of Bill Tilden. His forehand and backhand are so slow. How could he defeat Federer or Nadal? And Roseall is only 5' 7". In modern tennis that's a huge physical disadvantadge. Gonzalez won 2 Grand Slams and 12 Pro Slams for a total of 14 Majors. But Gonzalez never won any Major on clay, he wasn't a complete player.

Yes and give modern players wooden racquets and put them on old school, low skidding grass and chances are they'd look terrible. Optimal tennis height changed from era to era, for the majority of tennis history surfaces weren't anywhere near as slow and high bouncing as they are today.

Not saying your viewpoint is wrong, in fact many tennis fans and especially TV commentators (WIlander and the like) will rush to agree with you as people generally like believing that what they're witnessing now is superior to everything in the past. Just saying that it's not the only way to look at things.
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
Gonzalez had more top opponents than Federer had: Rosewall, Hoad, Segura, Sedgman, Trabert, Laver, Newcombe etc.

Dubious to include Newcombe as a top opponent for Gonzalez.

By that logic then Federer had: Sampras, Agassi, Rafter, Hewitt, Murray, Wawrinka, Nadal, Djokovic etc...plus whoever of the next gen ends up winning majors.
 

RF-18

Talk Tennis Guru
Yes and give modern players wooden racquets and put them on old school, low skidding grass and chances are they'd look terrible. Optimal tennis height changed from era to era, for the majority of tennis history surfaces weren't anywhere near as slow and high bouncing as they are today.

Not saying your viewpoint is wrong, in fact many tennis fans and especially TV commentators (WIlander and the like) will rush to agree with you as people generally like believing that what they're witnessing now is superior to everything in the past. Just saying that it's not the only way to look at things.

We should never compare eras like this. Of course Todays tennis players would annihilate greats of their time like Tilden, Pancho, Hoad etc but that's cause the sport develops and there is better and better equipment, training, etc. Like every sport, every sport develops and gets to new heights and levels.

Put Berdych against Laver in the 60's with the knowledge and equipment Berdych has from today and he would beat him 6-0 6-0 6-0 without losing a point. That's even too harsh of me, I bet anyone in top 1000 would do the same.

We should only compare players who are able to play under the same conditions. And there we can see who were the players that were the best of their time.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
I'd say that if someone created a poll with the 4 slams asking which was the worst, the French would take it by a mile. Everything is of opinion but it would be the vast majority nevertheless.

Sure if the poll mostly asked Americans the question. I suspect over the pond, the French is in second place to Wimbledon as the most prestigious slam. Most of Europe plays clay court tennis. They understand and love the surface.

Personally I think Wimbledon and the French Open are the best slams because their surfaces are unique and require different skill sets.

And I watched both FO finals this year and did not see any moon balling. Saw amazing power and daring from Ostapenko and saw brilliant angles and movement from Nadal. Sad you can't appreciate that form over serve bot hard court style.
 
S

Stupendous1HBH

Guest
I'll take grass and hard courts 100 out of 100 times over boring clay. And yes I'm American.
 

BobbyOne

G.O.A.T.
Dubious to include Newcombe as a top opponent for Gonzalez.

By that logic then Federer had: Sampras, Agassi, Rafter, Hewitt, Murray, Wawrinka, Nadal, Djokovic etc...plus whoever of the next gen ends up winning majors.

NatF, I have not listed up all of Pancho's great opponents. In fact he had more of them than any modern player because his career was so long. He beat top players from Budge till Borg.
 

BobbyOne

G.O.A.T.
We should never compare eras like this. Of course Todays tennis players would annihilate greats of their time like Tilden, Pancho, Hoad etc but that's cause the sport develops and there is better and better equipment, training, etc. Like every sport, every sport develops and gets to new heights and levels.

Put Berdych against Laver in the 60's with the knowledge and equipment Berdych has from today and he would beat him 6-0 6-0 6-0 without losing a point. That's even too harsh of me, I bet anyone in top 1000 would do the same.

We should only compare players who are able to play under the same conditions. And there we can see who were the players that were the best of their time.

You are an excellent troll: Laver not winning a point from Berdych....
 

thrust

Legend
And Navratilova would be the undisputed Open Era GOAT for WTA. Singles achievements are so much greater it's ridiculous to bring up anything else.
Open era does NOT apply to women's tennis. Also, her singles record are NOT much greater than anyone else.
 

RF-18

Talk Tennis Guru
You are an excellent troll: Laver not winning a point from Berdych....

Well I wasn't speaking literally. It's not meant as a dig at Laver, just saying we can't compare eras like this.

Laver in the 60s with wooden racket against todays equipment, training etc against a top 20 player? Would be tough to get points
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
NatF, I have not listed up all of Pancho's great opponents. In fact he had more of them than any modern player because his career was so long. He beat top players from Budge till Borg.

I didn't list all of Federer's either. I don't doubt that Pancho played more though, he had a longer career and so did his opponents. Doesn't really say anything meaningful about their careers though IMO. What matters is the opponents faced during their prime or winning periods. Maybe Pancho has the edge here as well, but I just don't think Newcombe was a real rival of his.
 

atp2015

Hall of Fame
I was searching on the internet, and I found this list that seems to be more or less accurate:
https://howtheyplay.com/individual-sports/Top-10-Greatest-Male-Tennis-Players-of-All-Time


But then I found this list of Ranker.com: http://www.ranker.com/crowdranked-list/greatest-mens-tennis-players-of-all-time

Is this last list fair? I think it must be too old. McEnroe over Djokovic with 7 Slams? Sampras over Rafa without French Open and 14 Slams?


Does it make any difference if Rafa wins FO 5 times or 15 times? 5 is as good as 25 or 50. After a certain number, it does not really matter. So, I would put a cap at 3 for each slam and go from there.

total slam count really is - wins at each slam up to a max of 3. In that respect, Sampras leads Rafa for sure.
 
D

Deleted member 744633

Guest
Just over a year ago, Djokovic had achieved something neither Federer nor Nadal could manage despite repeated attempts, and yet here we are a year later and practically the whole tennis world is gushing about Federer and Nadal. Despite everything he has achieved, Djokovic is almost an after thought. Just when will Federer & Nadal go away? Don't get me wrong, these 2 guys are perhaps the greatest ambassadors that this sport has ever had but ... enough is enough.
 

BeatlesFan

Bionic Poster
Not a fan of either list, but putting McEnroe over Djokovic is not one of the reasons why. Mac was like Fed, he had the genius tag. Doesn't matter how much he won.

No question that Mac was a tennis genius, second only in talent to Roger. But it does matter in tennis history how much he won as compared to other ATG's. There's no conceivable way we can put John McEnroe ahead of Djokovic on any sane list of great players. There's no comparison between their careers. Mac stopped winning majors when he was 25 and never made a dent in the game after marrying Tatum. That's just the sad fact of it.

Djoker has 12 majors, and a CGS. Mac has his genius, 3 Wimbledon's and 4 USO's, as well as being the greatest Doubles player anyone has probably ever seen. But he's nowhere near the career accomplishments of Novak.
 

Mazz Retic

Hall of Fame
Just over a year ago, Djokovic had achieved something neither Federer nor Nadal could manage despite repeated attempts, and yet here we are a year later and practically the whole tennis world is gushing about Federer and Nadal. Despite everything he has achieved, Djokovic is almost an after thought. Just when will Federer & Nadal go away? Don't get me wrong, these 2 guys are perhaps the greatest ambassadors that this sport has ever had but ... enough is enough.
because they're winning right now?
 
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