Every tennis fan has their list the greatest of all time—their GOATs. That’s why it’s rather tricky to debate who the greatest men’s tennis players in tennis history are.
The stats cannot be the sole basis, though, because we are talking about pre- and the Open era. It means training, technology, and equipment are very different then. Tennis players have their preference also, excelling in grass or clay.
Here’s to establish who the GOATs are in the men’s Tennis division.
#5 – Pete Sampras
Sampras is famous for his powerful serve. The American dominated the tennis scene of the 1990s, ranking #1 consistently between 1993 and 1998. Turning pro in 1988 and retiring in 2002, Sampras has one of the stellar professional careers among men players.
Sampras, who seemed to be in his best elements when playing on hard and grass courts, has a total of 64 titles, 14 Grand Slam titles. His Grand Slams was the number to beat during his time.
During the 2002 US Open, he beat Andre Agassi, his longtime rival. Even before the rivalries of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, theirs was considered as the rivalry of all time. The epic match made the 1990s a great decade for tennis.
In 2007, Sampras was inducted into Tennis Hall of Fame.
#4 – Rod Laver
For some, Laver deserved to be the GOAT in tennis history. He won 200 tournaments throughout his career. He also has 11 Grand Slams and 9 Pro Slam titles. Laver won all Grand Slam titles for men’s singles within the same year. And he did it twice!
Also called “The Rocket,” Laver ranked as the world’s #1 between 1964 and 1970. He was inducted in 1981, two years after he retired in 1979.
#3 – Novak Djokovic
Djokovic is known for his fantastic backhand, which already won him 75 titles and 16 Grand Slams. In April 2019, he defeated his longtime rival Nadal in the Australian Open. He also beat Federer in 2019 Wimbledon.
The Serbian national is currently the world’s #1 tennis player. But he is no stranger to this spot; he held the same ranking in 2011, 2012, 2014, and 2015.
He is also expected to win more Grand Slams throughout his last few years playing tennis. He was 32. Some even claimed he is well-positioned to surpass Federer’s Grand Slam record.
#2 – Rafael Nadal
Nadal has 84 titles and 19 Grand Slams as well as an Olympic gold medal under his belt. That’s thanks to his incredible agility and power on the court. This is more so on clay courts where he typically plays his best tennis. He has 12 French Open titles!
While he is nearing retirement at age 33, there is so much more to expect from Nadal. If not Djokovic, Nadal nay potentially snatch the most Grand Slam wins record from Federer.
#1 – Roger Federer
Federer is the men’s tennis all-rounder who deserves the top spot. The Swiss player has 102 titles and won 20 Grand Slam titles and speak for his tennis prowess.
Nadal’s greatest rival is recognized by Tennis Magazine as the leader in men’s tennis in its ranking of the 50 best tennis players of all time.