Ranked: Five of the best tennis players of all time

Novak Djokovic claimed another Grand Slam with his victory at Wimbledon last weekend. But where does this rank him among the best tennis players of all time?

The Serbian star’s win puts him between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, as the trio are the only players to have over 20 majors to their name in the men’s game. However, he still lags behind two other stars in women’s tennis.

Here are the five best tennis players of all time, ranked using their overall grand slam victories.

5. Roger Federer

Is Federer playing Wimbledon
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Coming in at number five on the rankings is a player that many tennis fans consider the best of all time. Roger Federer has dazzled spectators with a jaw-dropping variety of shots since his debut in 1998. To go along with this, he has amassed quite the trophy cabinet.

Federer has won eight Wimbledon titles, five US Opens, six Australian Opens, and a French Open title in 2009. Therefore, his Grand Slam total stands at a whopping 20 – yet he has not won a major since 2018. Already in the twilight of his career, the Swiss icon may soon hang up his racquet.

But Federer may not be finished with tennis. Reports claim that the 40-year-old is planning on a comeback later this year. He has been the benchmark that Nadal and Djokovic hunted down during the 2010s. Maybe Federer has one more Grand Slam in him to keep pace with the others.

4. Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic visa
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Next up on the list is the 2022 Wimbledon champion. In fact, Novak Djokovic’s triumph at SW19 just put him above Roger Federer.

Djokovic has 21 career Grand Slam titles, placing him second all-time in the men’s singles category. The Serbian has two overall victories at Roland Garros, as well as three wins on the hard courts of the US Open.

He also added a seventh Wimbledon title yesterday, matching him with Pete Sampras. Finally, Djokovic has won the Australian Open on nine occasions – the most all-time by a men’s player.

A man who never knows when he is beaten, Djokovic has given fans some incredible comebacks as a result of his perseverance. His prolific winning nature means that he sits alongside Federer and Nadal, despite giving them a head-start on major titles.

Although one of them is still just ahead.

3. Rafael Nadal and Steffi Graf

Rafael Nadal Wimbledon
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Okay, technically there are six players in this list, but they do occupy the top five places. So, we thought it only fair to include them all.

The King of Clay, Rafael Nadal, cemented his status as one of the best tennis players of all time with a 14th Roland Garros title this year. No player has arguably been more dominant on a surface than the Spaniard on clay. At the French Open, Nadal has a record of 112 wins and just three losses. He has 22 Grand Slam titles.

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On the subject of win-loss records, Nadal boasts an 11-7 record over Novak Djokovic at grand slams. In addition, he has beaten Roger Federer ten times while losing just four times. And he is still amazing on other surfaces too.

Alongside the 14 Roland Garros, Rafael Nadal has four US Opens plus a pair of Wimbledon and Australian Open titles. Although injuries have plagued his career, the powerful left-hander shows no signs of slowing down yet. Surely, he is aiming to reach at least 25 majors.

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Joint-third in the top five is Steffi Graf, who ties Rafael Nadal on 22 Grand Slam titles.

Most impressively, the German star of the 80s and 90s holds a unique piece of history in the world of tennis. Graf is the only tennis player ever to claim a ‘golden’ Grand Slam.

In 1988, she won all four tennis majors and took gold at the Seoul Olympic Games the same year. What makes this all the more incredible is that Graf was just 19 years old at the time. Somehow, her career lived up to the hype that she carried as a teenager from that golden year.

Graf holds the record for the longest stint as world number 1 in the male or female game, at 377 weeks in total. When you look at her majors victory count, that amazing stat seems almost unsurprising. Her Grand Slam record reads as follows: four Australian Opens, six Roland Garros, seven wins at Wimbledon, and five US Opens.

2. Serena Williams

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Rising above all the men’s players is Serena Williams. The US superstar has built a legacy as one of the best women’s players of all time among tennis fans through her elite athleticism and prolific win rate.

Williams has taken home 23 Grand Slam titles – the most by any player in the Open Era. To add to this, Serena is one of only two tennis players in history to win four Olympic gold medals. The other? Her sister Venus, with whom she won three doubles golds.

Serena is the queen of hard courts, where she has claimed seven Australian Opens and six US Opens. Williams also likes the grass of Wimbledon, where she has won on seven occasions. Completing the Grand Slam set, Williams has three titles at Roland Garros, too.

Sadly, the American star has not won a major since the 2017 Australian Open and has battled injuries for a while. Also, her long-awaited return to Wimbledon saw a premature exit as she lost in the first round.

Despite this, Serena Williams possesses a near-unbeatable legacy in the women’s game.

1. Margaret Court

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Undoubtedly one of the most dominant players ever, Margaret Court comes in first place on this list with 24 Grand Slam singles titles across the Amateur and Open Eras. Additionally, the Australian won 19 doubles and 19 mixed doubles titles, taking her overall major count to a staggering 62.

In a 15-year career that spanned nearly 1300 matches from 1960-1975, Court boasted an unbelievable 92% winning percentage. She also filled up the record books with a number of feats that may never be matched. For instance, she won all four grand slams in the singles, doubles, and mixed doubles categories at least twice.

Court also became the first player in the Open Era to sweep a single year of Grand Slams. In 1970, the Australian won the French, US, and Australian Open, as well as Wimbledon, all in the same year. Overall, her career singles wins include 11 Australian Opens, five Roland Garros, five US Opens, and three Wimbledon crowns.

Unfortunately, Court’s controversial views tarnish her legacy as one of the best tennis players of all time. The Australian has a history of making homophobic comments and is a vocal opponent of same-sex marriage.

Regardless of her outspoken nature, Margaret Court has set winning standards that may never be beaten.  

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