Despite the challenge, here is my list of the 10 greatest male tennis players of the Open Era—1968 to present. Here’s the list.

Top 10 Greatest Men’s Tennis Players of All Time.

One thing I think most fans can agree on is that we are currently witnessing three of the greatest ever in Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic.

I’m well aware that it’s hard to compare eras, the equipment is different, the money is lucrative, top players travel with physios, nutrition is different, etc.

I also know that Rod Laver won a Grand Slam or 2, Pete Sampras won 14 majors, players didn’t really start playing at the Australian Open until the mid/late 80’s and it appears there aren’t as many great players as there used to be, etc.

1. Novak Djokovic

At 35 years of age and in the late prime years of his career, Djokovic certainly has the potential to win more Grand Slam titles.

Top 10 Greatest Men's Tennis Players of All Time.

  • Born: May 22, 1987
  • Born in Belgrade, Serbia
  • Resides: Monte Carlo, Monaco
  • Turned pro: 2003
  • Career prize money: $159,041,453
  • 88 career titles
  • 21 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 9 Australian, 7 Wimbledon, 3 US Open, 2 French Open

With 21 Grand Slam titles already under his belt he trails just Rafael Nadal who stands at 22. And with a record 373 weeks ranked as number one, it’s hard not to give Djokovic serious consideration as the greatest of all time.

Novak’s dominating start to the 2021 season with wins at the Australian Open, French Open, and Wimbledon made it clear that Djokovic was the best player in the world in 2021. 

2. Rafael Nadal

At 36 years of age, the fiery Spaniard, known as Rafa and “The King of Clay,” has won 22 Grand Slam titles to eclipse his closet rivals, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

Top 10 Greatest Men's Tennis Players of All Time.

Grand Slam singles results
Australian Open W (2009, 2022)
French Open

W (2005, 2006, 2007, 

2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 

2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, 

2019, 2020, 2022)

Wimbledon W (2008, 2010)
US Open W (2010, 2013, 2017, 2019)

Rafael is widely regarded as the greatest clay-court player of all time, although fans of Bjorn Borg may dispute this claim.

His record 14th French Open title in 2022, in dominating fashion, certainly makes it difficult to imagine anyone being better on clay.

Nadal has proven that he deserves serious consideration in the discussion for the greatest of all-time.

3. Roger Federer

His 20 Grand Slam titles and 310 weeks ranked as number one speak for themselves, and even at the age of 40, he is still capable of competing at the highest levels.

Top 10 Greatest Men's Tennis Players of All Time.

Born 8 August 1981 (age 40)
Basel, Switzerland
Height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Turned pro 1998
Plays Right-handed (one-handed backhand)
Coach Ivan Ljubičić
Severin Lüthi

From 2004 to 2008, Federer went 237 consecutive weeks being ranked number one in the world, a record that may never be surpassed.

Even though younger players are now finding a way to beat him, his consistently high level of play over his 20-year career is a testament to his conditioning and ability.

Winning the 2018 Australian Open after his outstanding 2017 season that saw him win Wimbledon and the Australian Open prove without a doubt that Roger Federer was the greatest of all time as of 2018.

4. Rod Laver

He was ranked number one in the world for seven straight years (1964 – 1970), and he has more career titles (200) than anyone in the history of the game.

Top 10 Greatest Men's Tennis Players of All Time.

Grand Slam singles results
Australian Open W (1960, 19621969)
French Open W (19621969)
Wimbledon W (1961, 1962, 1968, 1969)
US Open W (19621969)

He is the only player to have twice won the Grand Slam, doing it once as an amateur in 1962 and again as a pro in 1969.

If Laver was not excluded from the Grand Slam tournaments during a five-year period in the mid-1960s, who knows how many he would have won.

During this time period, the pre-open era, the Grand Slam tournaments were for amateurs only.

5. Pete Sampras

Pete’s place in tennis history is difficult to judge as he only won three of the four Grand Slam events over the course of his career.

Top 10 Greatest Men's Tennis Players of All Time.

Born August 12, 1971 (age 50)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Bridgette Wilson
(m. 2000)
Children 2
Height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Turned pro 1988
Retired September 8, 2002 (last match)
August 25, 2003 (official)

He was number one in the world rankings for six consecutive years, and his 14 Grand Slam titles was a record at the time.

Who can forget his epic battles with Andre Agassi that made the 1990s a great decade for tennis? Pete went out on top when he won the 2002 US Open, his last Grand Slam tournament

6. Bjorn Borg

Borg dominated Wimbledon, winning the title five consecutive years from 1976 to 1980.

Top 10 Greatest Men's Tennis Players of All Time.

Born 6 June 1956 (age 66)
Stockholm, Sweden
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Turned pro 1973 (comeback in 1991)
Retired 1984, 1993
Plays Right-handed (two-handed backhand)
Coach Lennart Bergelin (1971–1983)
Ron Thatcher (1991–1993)

Despite his relatively brief career (he retired in 1983 at the age of 26), Borg won 11 Grand Slam titles, all at Wimbledon and the French Open.

Borg was the first player of the modern era to win more than 10 majors.

In my book Bjorn Borg could have been a top five all-time had he continued to play and not retired while seemingly in the prime of his career.

7. Ivan Lendl

Lendl wore down his opponents with his powerful ground strokes, topspin forehand, and incredible level of conditioning.

Top 10 Greatest Men's Tennis Players of All Time.

Grand Slam singles results
    Australian Open      W (1989, 1990)
French Open W (1984, 1986, 1987)
Wimbledon F (1986, 1987)
US Open W (1985, 1986, 1987)

He was the world’s top-ranked player for four years, and he held the number one ranking in the world for 270 weeks, a record in that day.

In contrast to many of his more outspoken peers, Lendl was known for letting his game do his talking.

8. Jimmy Connors

No one dominated tennis more during the mid-1970s than Jimmy Connors.

Top 10 Greatest Men's Tennis Players of All Time.

  • Born: September 2, 1952
    East St. Louis, Illinois
  • Resides: Santa Barbara, CA
  • Turned pro: 1972
  • Retired: 1996
  • Career prize money: $8,641,040
  • 147 career titles
  • 8 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 1 Australian, 2 Wimbledon, 5 US Open

In 1974 alone, Connors had a staggering 99-4 record and won the three Grand Slam tournaments that he entered.

Connors was banned from playing in the French Open in 1974 due to his association with World Team Tennis, and this prevented him from a possible Grand Slam sweep.

Despite peaking in the 1970s, Connors had a long and impressive tennis career, retiring in 1996. Connors still holds the record for ATP tour titles with 109.

9. John McEnroe

His fiery attitude and occasional bad-boy behavior made tennis fans either hate him or love him.

Top 10 Greatest Men's Tennis Players of All Time.

Grand Slam singles results
Australian Open SF (1983)
French Open F (1984)
Wimbledon W (1981, 1983, 1984)
US Open W (1979, 1980, 1981, 1984)

Underneath was a highly competitive athlete who hated to lose, and he sometimes let his emotions get the best of him.

Who can forget his epic battles with rival Jimmy Connors and his five-set loss to Bjorn Borg in the 1980 Wimbledon final, one of the greatest matches in Wimbledon history?

10. Ken Rosewall

With a long career that included both the pre and post Open Era, Ken Rosewall certainly deserves a place among the all-time greats of tennis.

Top 10 Greatest Men's Tennis Players of All Time.

  • Born: November 2, 1934
    Sydney, Australia
  • Resides: Sydney, Australia
  • Turned pro: 1957
  • Retired: 1980
  • Career prize money: $1,602,700
  • 133 career titles
  • 8 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 4 Australian, 2 French, 2 US Open

His eight Grand Slam titles combined with 15 Major Championships undoubtedly qualifies Rosewall a place in tennis immortality.

With a career that started in the early 1950s and ended with his retirement in 1980, the quick and agile Aussie was renowned for his backhand and crisp and accurate volleying.

His last Grand Slam title came at the 1972 Australian Open at the age of 37, which is still a record for the oldest Grand Slam winner.




By Rishabh

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