5 of the Biggest Egos in Tennis History

Charlie Jones and Kim Doren, authors of Game, Set, Match: A Tennis Book for the Mind, claimed that tennis players have the biggest egos by far.

One would believe so just by watching one of John McEnroe’s tennis game. But McEnroe isn’t the only tennis player with a big ego, although he might have the biggest.

Before we list the names, let us remind you that ego varies. Some tennis players exhibit the entitlement attitude while for others, it’s a display of their unpretentious character. Either way, these people are a classic example of egotism.

#5 Serena Williams

“I always believe I can beat the best, achieve the best. I always see myself in the top position.”

Williams appearing on this list may not be acceptable to her fans. Beyond everything, she won Grand Slam after Grand Slam. It’d be natural for her to develop such an overbearing ego. Time and again, however, she showed the world how an outburst could verge into the abusive realm. Her questionable antics on-court was because of the Psycho Serena, she said. Yes, she gives her multiple personalities names.

#4 Marat Safin

“The Olympics is not for tennis and tennis does not need the Olympics. It is not my goal in life to win a gold medal.”

Safin was accused of being a hellraiser throughout his playing career, which he recently refuted. Safin was perceived as the tennis player who thirsted for achievements. There’s nothing wrong with this except that he was too lazy to practice. He would stop it abruptly or won’t be too serious about it. Safin was also known for his emotional outbursts on court coupled by racquet-smashing. He did it as least thrice in his career.

#3 Novak Djokovic

“I want the same thing I’ve wanted since I was seven years old. I want to be No. 1.”

In a world full of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal who exudes unique charm on and off the court, it would be hard for a Djokovic to stand out. He was always the second fiddle. So he did what he wanted to do when he became #1—call himself king! His family even said that the old king was dead, referring to Federer.

#2 Nick Kyrgios

“I don’t have a doubt that if I wanted to win Grand Slams, I would commit. I’d train two times a day. I’d go to the gym every day. I’d stretch. I’d do rehab. I’d eat right.”

Kyrgios is an enigmatic tennis player, reminiscent of Federer’s style by bringing something new to the court now and then. But his arrogant attitude stinks. He always challenges tennis authorities and throws a fit if they could not accommodate his unreasonable requests. Thus, fines and disciplinary actions are foremost to Kyrgio’s vocabulary.

#1 John McEnroe

“The only thing ‘championship’ about Wimbledon is its prestige.”

McEnroe is dubbed as the King of Ego. If the article is going to list down all his pontifical displays, a page would not be enough.

He hated losing and would show to the people how much he hated it right at the moment. The acid-tongued player taunted Nadal as McEnrole wanted him to show more ego instead of downplaying his chances of doing such. While playing, that was McEnroe—known for his ego than his tennis style.

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Player Feature: Novak Djokovic

Full Name: Novak Djokovic 

Birthdate: May 22, 1987

Birthplace: Belgrade, SR Serbia 

Years active: 2003 – present

ATP Rank: #1

Key facts and statistics

  • One of the Big Four of men’s tennis
  • Had the highest Elo rating
  • 16 Grand Slam titles
  • Held the 4 major titles at once
  • 5x ATP #1 tennis player in men’s singles
  • Has 75 singles titles

Novak Djokovic is dubbed as one of the best male tennis players of the Open era and of all-time. He ranks among the rosters of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Pete Sampras, and Bjorn Borg.

An aggressive baseline player, there is something unique about Djokovic’s all-court (albeit modern) playing style. He is known for his deep and penetrating groundstrokes. But his backhand underspin is legendary with its consistent pace and precision – even considered as the best in this era. 

Djokovic is both a defensive and offensive player. He can easily convert positions on seemingly defensive positions. 

He turns to his serves as a weapon to win free points. The same goes with his return of serves; John McEnroe even said that Djokovic is the most outstanding returner in tennis history.

Together with Federer, Nadal, and Andy Murray, they formed the Big Four. The players dominate men’s tennis division in terms of ranking and victories. Djokovic has the highest Elo rating of the four, though, because of his records in winning against quality opponents. He was the only player to defeat the top three tennis players within one season.

The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) currently rank him as the #1 player in men’s singles. He was a five-time #1 player, grabbing the position in a total of 250 weeks. He was the only Serbian to achieve the ranking as well as win a Grand Slam singles title.

Djokovic has numerous titles under his belt; 75 titles. He has a total of 16 Grand Slam titles, reaching the Career Grand Slam title after winning the 2016 French Open. He was the eighth player to do so.

He was also the third tennis player who holds four major titles at once, on different surfaces. His major titles include seven Australian Opens, five Wimbledons, three US Opens, and one French Open.

He was consistently on tours since he started playing professionally as well. Djokovic has won 33 ATP Tour Masters, 12 ATP Tour 500s and five ATP Finals. He holds the record for being the only male player to win tournaments under Masters 1000.

With all these, he was always the consistent half on the best rivalries on the court. Not just against his Big Four contemporaries, but also Stan Wawrinka, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, and Juan Martin del Potro. In all their meetings, Djokovic prevailed.

One of the cited reasons for his court endurance and agility is his vegan diet. In 2010, his coaching team, which included Igor Četojević, a nutritionist, discovered that he has a gluten intolerance. Gluten was removed from his diet. He became stronger and quicker after the change.

Aside from playing tennis, he also devotes his time to his vegan restaurant in Monte Carlo that he opened in 2016.

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