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Best All-Time Tennis Player

There are a number of players who could be argued to be the greatest tennis player of all time. Many would argue that legendary Australian player Rod Laver should be given that honor. After all, he is the only player to have won the tennis grand slam not once but twice.

Of course, many contemporary tennis fans already consider current superstar Roger Federer to be the best ever. No doubt, Federer is a dominant player at the moment. And, he may well end up there, but it's too soon to crown him as the best player in the history of tennis. Heck, for all we know, he could lose his next 50 matches. So, we need to wait until the end of his career before we can truly determine the extent of his greatness in the context of all time tennis.

 Picture of Roger Federer at the 2007 Cincinnati Masters Tournament

Thanks to jtbarrett at flickr.com for this photo of Roger Federer at the 2007 Cincinnati Masters.

Other strong candidates for the title of best tennis player of all time are Bjorn Borg and Ivan Lendl. And of course, in the spirit of equality, one must look across the gender aisle and consider Martina Navratilova for the title.

 Bjorn Borg with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at the 2007 French Open.
Bjorn Borg with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at the 2007 French Open.
Thanks to samcloseup at flickr.com for this shot of Bjorn Borg, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at the 2007 French Open finals.

While all of those candidates are legitimate options, it is our opinion that the greatest tennis player of all time, right now, is -- Pete Sampras.

Pete Sampras, over the course of his 15 year tennis career, won an all-time record of 14 Grand Slam men's singles titles in only 52 total Grand Slam events in which he appeared. That means that nearly 27% of the Grand Slam events he entered in his career -- he won. A truly remarkable percentage given the high quality of play in men's tennis during the Sampras era.

Sampras shares with William Renshaw the all-time record number of Wimbledon Championships, with 7. He also shares the record for wins at Flushing Meadows, with 5 total U.S. Open titles. He shares that record with Jimmy Connors. He also won 2 Australian open titles, in 1994 and 1997.

As with most elite grass court players, he did suffer on the clay court surface. While competitive on that surface, he was beatable, and never managed to win a French Open title, with his closest swing and miss occurring in 1996, where he lost a semifinal match to the eventual winner, Yevgeny Kafelnikov.

Over the course of his career, Sampras developed rivalries with many of the top men's players of the time, head to head matchups that Sampras had the benefit to come out on the winning side of more times than not. At the start of his career, he played and beat tennis greats Ivan Lendl and Jim McEnroe, although both were on the tail end of their careers, and long term rivalries never really got the chance to develop.

He also developed a rivalry of sorts with fellow American tennis star Jim Courier, from whom Pete Sampras took the #1 ranking the first time Sampras was named the #1 player. Shortly thereafter, however, the big rivalry began. The rivalry with Andre Agassi. This rivalry was the dominant rivalry of the 1990's in men's tennis.

It began at the 1990 U.S. Open, where Sampras, at 19 years old, took on and defeated Agassi, who himself was an up and coming tennis star. The two went on to play 34 matches over the course of their careers, and Sampras performed well in those 34 matches, winning 20 of them. Of those 34 matches. 5 of them took place in Grand Slam Finals, and of those, Sampras managed to win 4 of those 5. In addition to the 1990 U.S. Open, they included the 1995 U.S. Open, the 1999 Wimbledon Final, and the 2002 U.S. Open Final. The only loss to Agassi in a Grand Slam Final occurred in the 1995 Australian Open.

All of this leads us to believe that -- at this point -- Pete Sampras was the best all-time tennis player.

Find out which is the Biggest All-Time Tennis Rivalry. You can read about other outstanding pro and college athletes at:

What do you think?

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What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Statistics Aside, the best all-time tennis player 3-decades: Pancho Gonzales 
What male tennis player beat all up-and-coming amateurs in three decades while dominating the professionals he joined since 1948? Richard Alonzo(Pancho)Gonzales. …

Roger That Not rated yet
Anyone has his own opinion of who is "THE BEST MALE TENNIS OF ALL TIME" but records all point to ROGER FEDERER.

Best tennis player. Not rated yet
Hands down, roger federer. 15 grandslams, almost in every semifinal + final ..get with itttttt. the BEST everrrrrrrr <3

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