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Ranking the 5 greatest male tennis players of all time

Roger Federer at Wimbledon
Roger Federer at Wimbledon
Aakash Kumar
Modified 16 Feb 2020, 12:45 IST
Top 5 / Top 10

The debate over the greatest men's tennis player of all time has been going on for a long while. Different players have emerged as candidates for this coveted title in different eras, with no clear consensus.

With the change of eras, there is a change in techniques, racket equipment, racket technologies, fitness levels, availability of trainers and fitness coaches, etc. Therefore, it becomes extremely difficult to compare players from different eras and judge who is the better player among them.

Earlier, players used to retire before their 30s, but now players play on till their late 30s and even into their 40s. The top 3 ATP ranked players as of February 2020 are all above 30, with Roger Federer being 38 years of age, Rafael Nadal being 33, and Novak Djokovic being 32.

On top of that, the rules for different eras differ too. There was a huge change in the rules before and after the Open Era. Before the Open Era, pros weren't allowed to contest in Grand Slams, due to which many players have a lower tally of Majors than if they would've been allowed to play.

Therefore, there are a lot of variable factors in comparing players from different eras. Since finding a single G.O.A.T. from players across different eras is difficult, here's a list of 5 players who I consider to be the greatest of all time, based strictly on the records that they own.

5. Pete Sampras

Pete Sampras
Pete Sampras

Pete Sampras was an American tennis player who played from 1988 to 2002. He won 14 Grand Slams, the most anyone had won until Roger Federer broke the record in Wimbledon 2009.

Along with 14 Majors, Sampras won 64 career titles overall, held the World No. 1 position for 286 weeks (a record in his time) and also finished the year as the No. 1 player 6 times - a record that has still not been broken today. He was known for his booming serves, with many believing his serve to be the greatest in the history of the sport.

Sampras had a very offensive game style, with the ability to hit winners from both the forehand and the backhand. His rivalry with Andre Agassi was the most prolific rivalry of his time, with some great matches taking place between the two.


Sampras' only weakness was clay, which didn't allow him to freely implement his offensive playing style owing to their slowness. But although he failed to win the French Open, his greatness remains unquestioned.

I place Sampras at No. 5 because of the 14 Grand Slams he won and his World No. 1 stats.

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Published 16 Feb 2020, 12:45 IST
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