10 Most famous Tennis players of all time

The Championships - Wimbledon 2010: Day Eight
The Championships - Wimbledon 2010: Day Eight

Tennis is a fast evolving game with newer talent competing closely with the top seeds at various events. It is equally difficult to break into the tops slots and maintain the ranking consistently. Generations of players have come and gone. Some players have stood in the limelight during their peaks and have also competed with younger and fitter player to continue winning.

Some of them have all era open records that could take a long time to break. These all-time greatest players are not just brilliant on the court but great off the court as well. Yet, there are some who have left a memory that cannot be erased from the minds of Tennis fans. Here’s a list of 10 most famous Tennis players of all time.


#10 Martina Hingis

Martina Hingis
Martina Hingis

Martina Hingis from Czechoslovakia took the court by storm from 1994 and has left a blazing trail ever since. Her career highlights are commendable with 45 career titles including 5 Grand Slam Titles (1 US Open, 1 Wimbledon and 3 Australian Open), 13 Grand Slam Doubles titles, 7 Mixed Doubles titles, and 2 Tour Final Titles. She defended her number one ranking in the world for 209 weeks.

Her career prize money amounts to $24,749,074. Unfortunately, she retires early at the age of 22 due to injuries. If not for that, she would have surely been fierce competition to the other players of her time. She made a comeback to Tennis with doubles and mixed doubles and won numerous titles. She finally retired in 2017, winning 3 Grand Slam Doubles titles in her final year of competitive Tennis.

She sure was an inspiration and will always be, to many upcoming players and will always be remembered for her zeal on the court. We hope to see many more such players leaving a deep impression in the Tennis world.

#9 Andre Agassi

Andre Agassi
Andre Agassi

The young and brash Andre Agassi from Nevada first took everyone by surprise as he entered the Tennis scene in 1986 with his fleeting rock star attitude and looks. In a career spanning 20 years, he has a long list of achievements: 61 career titles including 4 Australian Open, 2 US Open, 1 French Open, and 1 Wimbledon.

He went on to win the Olympics Gold in 1996. Agassi’s signature returns of serve and groundstrokes made him a popular player at that time. He was inducted into the Tennis Hall Of Fame in 2011. His career prize money totals $31,152,975.

Andre Agassi and his wife Steffi Graf the Tennis legend have always been known to be involved in giving back to the community. Agassi retired from Tennis in 2006 and shall always be remembered for being a champion on and off the court. He was an inspiration for many young players of that time.

#8 Billie Jean King

Billie Jean King
Billie Jean King

Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs are names that go together for the famous weird and wacky battle of sexes in the Tennis world. Billie Jean King dominated the Tennis scene during the 1960s and 1970s. The Californian sports star turned pro in 1968 and has 129 career titles to her credit. She has won 12 Grand Slam Singles titles that include: 6 Wimbledon, 4 US Open, 1 French and 1 Australian Open.

Billie Jean King’s career prize money is $1,966,487. Though she retired in 1983 from competitive Tennis, she is still remembered for her never give up attitude and fighting spirit. She took the Tennis world by storm when she disposed of Bobby Riggs in short order.

She has time and again played aggressively to win all her games until she was challenged and confronted by Chris Evert. Billie Jean King maintained an aggressive style in all her games till the end.

#7 Pete Sampras

Pete Sampras
Pete Sampras

Californian Pete Sampras was the world number one for 6 consecutive years. He has 64 career titles that include 7 Wimbledon, 5 US Open and 2 Australian Open. Sampras’s career prize money totaled $43,280,489. Pete Sampras was inducted into the prestigious Tennis Hall of Fame in 2007. He is most remembered for his epic tennis battles against Andre Agassi, towards the end of his tennis career in the 1900s.

After winning his last Grand Slam Title, the US Open in 2002, he retired. He was clearly comfortable on grass and hard courts. During his time, 14 Grand Slam Titles and world number one for 6 consecutive years was a record.

He is considered as one of the ten best tennis players of all time though he doesn’t have a French Open title to his credit. Some might dispute this statement because he mastered some surfaces and clearly struggled on the others. Either way, he undisputedly defended his top rank for 6 consecutive years.

#6 Martina Navratilova

Martina Navratilova
Martina Navratilova

Czechoslovakian Martina Navratilova entered the professional tennis scene in 1975. She has 167 career titles to her credit including 18 Grand Slam titles: 9 Wimbledon, 4 US Open, 3 Australian and 2 French Open titles. She has won a total of 59 Grand Slams which includes 18 singles, 31 doubles, and 10 mixed doubles. In Martina Navratilova’s professional tennis career spanning 19 years, she won career prize money worth $21,626,089.

She was also inducted into the Tennis Hall Of Fame in 2000. She was one of the toughest opponents to face on the court. She was top notch when it came to her fitness levels. Martina Navratilova is also the open record holder of 167 career titles!

If that isn’t enough praise, she also holds the record for the most number of Wimbledon Championships won: 9. Though she retired in 1994, she will be remembered as one of the best players who were fierce on the court.

#5 Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic

With a whopping $119,110,890 as career prize money, Serbian Novak Djokovic is the winner of 71 career titles including 14 Grand Slams: 6 Australian Open, 4 Wimbledon, 3 US Open and 1 French Open. In 2016 when he won the French Open, he became the eighth man to do so. At 31 years of age, he is still an active player and has a lot of tennis milestones ahead of him.

2017 proved a difficult time for him as he had just recovered from a shoulder injury and. The beginning of 2018 too was difficult as his ranking dropped. From July onwards, he performed well enough to regain his number one ranking. Wimbledon 2018 was one important milestone as he beat the epic Rafael Nadal during the semifinals and ended up taking home the title. If he maintains his game and form, there is no reason why he cannot achieve more milestones in the world of tennis.

#4 Venus Williams

Venus Williams
Venus Williams

Californian Venus Williams entered the tennis scene in the year 1994. She has 49 career titles to her credit, including 7 Grand Slam Titles: 5 Wimbledon and 2 US Open. Though she made it to the finals of most championships, she consistently lost the title to her sister, Serena Williams. So far, the sisters have locked horns in court for a total of 9 times out of which Serena Williams 7 matches. She was off the court for a while due to injuries and could have won more titles if not for them.

Between 2000 and 2001, she won 4 of her 7 Grand Slam victories, performing extremely well. In 2002, she became the world number one. After a series of injuries and surgery, she bounced back into the scene in 2014 with being ranked 47. She has managed to stay in the top ten since. Venus Williams will always be remembered for her dedication to the game in spite of adversities.

#3 Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal

Spaniard Rafael Nadal, the winner of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics is the proud winner of 79 career titles including 12 Grand Slam titles: 11 French Open, 3 US Open, 2 Wimbledon and 1 Australian Open. His career prize money is a mind-boggling sum of $100,564,598. Nadal took over the tennis scene in 2001. His impressive performance on clay courts has earned him the title of “The King of Clay”, Rafa.

At 32, he already has 17 Grand Slam Titles to his credit. If not for his recurring knee injury because of tendinitis, he could have won a lot more titles. He also could catch up with Roger Federer. Rafael Nadal had a tough time during the very beginning of 2018, he had just recovered from a hip injury and didn’t perform as well as expected. His 11th French Open win was the turning point for him as he was playing on a surface that he could call home.

#2 Roger Federer

Roger Federer
Roger Federer

Swiss player Roger Federer, the greatest player of all time is easily justifiable. He has 98 career titles and 20 Grand Slam Singles Title including 8 Wimbledon, 6 Australian Open, 5 US Open, and 1 French Open. Federer’s career prize money totals $116,974,122 with which he has opened numerous schools for children back in his hometown and other cities. He owns an open-era record of being ranked number one in the world for 310 weeks.

Before that, from 2004 to 2008, he was ranked the world number one for 237 consecutive weeks, which itself was an all-time record. Even at 36, he is still in form and playing his best games with players who are younger. Roger Federer still plays, competes and wins at the highest levels of Tennis.

20 years ago, in 1998, Roger Federer took the court by storm, playing and winning the best games. Barring injury, Federer has all the potential to reach more milestones. We hope to see him for as long as age or injury catches up with him, making way for newer players. Still, Roger Federer is not just a player, but a force to recon with, even long after he retires from tennis.

#1 Serena Williams

Serena Williams
Serena Williams

The younger Williams sister entered professional tennis in 1995. She has 72 career titles to her credit including 7 Wimbledon, 7 Australian 6 US Open and 3 French Open titles. Serena Williams’s career prize money totals $88,233,301. She has left a very powerful impression in the tennis world, fighting fiercely on the court as well as fighting for women’s rights and equality in the game. The Williams sisters Serena and Venus have won 14 Grand Slam Doubles titles so far.

Serena Williams currently holds the open era record of winning the most number of Grand Slam Singles titles, male or female. Her game has undeniably stood the test of competition and time. She even went through a pregnancy during the 2017 championships. She is still in great form and we hope to see her return to the court, stronger than ever and win more titles. She is a force to reckon with, as a tennis player and as a woman.

It is never easy to compare players from different eras. It is also not easy to compare players as each player has their own signature styles, strengths, and weaknesses. Popularity is another entirely different matter. The greatest players leave giant footprints in the tennis world that the emerging players aspire to one day fill.

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Edited by Sundaresh Kumar
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