The Best Tennis Players [Male & Female in 2024]

Best Tennis Players

It is always going to be a contentious argument to choose the greatest players of all time in any sport.

Compared to the best tennis players of all time, it’s especially difficult to compare players from different eras.

Despite the fact that technology has advanced so much that tennis does not look like it used to, it is still possible to compile a list of the greatest tennis players ever.

We’ve been given the privilege of witnessing the brilliance of many great tennis players over the past few decades. Who tops’s ranking of the best tennis players of all time?

Top 10 Male Tennis Players of All Time

We’ll start with the men. The top 10 male tennis players of all time can be tough to choose, so some incredible players were sadly left out (although I’m sure their multiple grand slam titles will make up for it).

1. Rafael Nadal

Best Tennis Players

There is no stopping this man!

Whenever we debate who is the greatest tennis player of all time, Rafael Nadal always comes out on top.

A genius tactician, a mental giant, and a physical machine, he is all of these things at once.

Having watched him for all these years is simply a privilege; playing him on clay is one of the most challenging challenges in sports.

In spite of being written off several times, he comes back stronger every time, and he fully deserves to have won the most Grand Slam titles among male players.

It goes without saying that Nadal is one of the best left-handers on this list.

As a clay specialist, he has been very adaptable, and he has won all four majors at least once throughout his career, like Federer and Djokovic.

In our list of the best tennis players of all time, Rafael Nadal earns the number one spot because of his incredible shot-making skills.

There will be endless arguments over who is the greatest tennis player of all time, but for us, Rafael Nadal deserves to be recognized as the best.

We’ll see you next time!

2. Pete Sampras

Pete Sampras

In the years leading up to Roger Federer’s arrival, “Pistol” Pete Sampras’ Grand Slam record looked unbeatable.

The 14 Grand Slam titles Sampras achieved, including 7 at Wimbledon, cemented him as one of the greatest players of all time, even as Federer, Djokovic, and Nadal surpassed him.

This American master of the big points was armed with one of the best serves of all time.

After defeating long-time rival Andre Agassi in the 2002 US Open final, he walked out as the champion.

3. Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

It’s not always popular to put Novak Djokovic at the top of everyone’s list of greatest tennis players.

In part, this could be due to Roger and Rafa’s widespread popularity, making Djokovic the other guy from time to time.

However, Djokovic’s stats are simply incredible. The prime Djokovic wins at least six out of ten times when he faces the prime anyone else on this list.

Whether or not you consider him to be the best tennis player of all time is up to you, but his backhand is among the elite.

Ultimately, though, we think Nadal will win the most Grand Slams, even if Djokovic wins the most.

4. Andre Agassi

Andre Agassi

It gets really tough when you start thinking about the great players who won’t make your list.

While there are many players who deserve to be considered among the greatest tennis players of all time, Andre Agassi is not one of them.

Since Agassi completed the career Grand Slam, we decided to place him at 8 because it was very close between spots 8,9, and 10.

The difficulty of winning on clay and grass is easy to underestimate, and few players have succeeded in doing so.

Agassi comes in at number 8 on’s list of the best female tennis players of all time as the husband of Steffi Graf.

5. Roger Federer

Roger Federer

Roger Federer used to be miles ahead of his competition when he was playing tennis.

In our minds, there was no doubt in the world that we were watching the greatest tennis player in history.

Roger Federer has been number one on TennisRacketnet for a long time, and we love him. Our acceptance of his achievements, however, finally came in 2022.

Please don’t misunderstand us!

I cannot say enough good things about him.

There is no tennis player more beautiful than this one. In terms of tennis skills, he was almost unbeatable, and his results backed that up.

There are some Grand Slam titles that the Fed could have easily won, but he threw them away. Maybe he would have been far ahead on this list if he had been more ruthless, but that’s life.

Is there a reason why he is number 2 rather than number 3 behind Djokovic on our list of the greatest tennis players ever?


Our ranking of Federer as the second-best tennis player in history is not just because of his Grand Slam titles, elegance, or brilliance, but because of his adaptability.

In the 1950s and 1960s, tennis was completely different from what it is today.

Federer’s strokes, movements around the court, and the way he uses the forehand were all completely different (here’s how he does this).

Federer was still able to adapt and keep pace, even after Nadal, Djokovic, and Murray pushed the game on even further in response to Federer’s brilliance.

The final match of Roger Federer’s professional tennis career takes place in London, September 2022.  Our fairytale ending wasn’t to be playing doubles with Rafael Nadal at the Laver Cup.  With 24 Grand Slam titles, 103 ATP singles titles, and 20 Grand Slam titles under my belt, it was time to retire from the ATP Tour.

Aside from all of his titles, Roger Federer is the second-best tennis player of all time because he has lived up to his billing right to the bitter end.

6. Bjorn Borg

Bjorn Borg

Roger Federer’s rival was Bjorn Borg, who played with the same beauty and style.

With 11 Grand Slam titles to his name, the Swede retired at the age of 26, but he could have won even more had he continued.

A pioneer of the baseline game, Borg had a real influence on how tennis is played today as well as his iconic rivalry with John McEnroe.

With six French Opens and five Wimbledons to his name, Borg was able to play on all surfaces.

Bjorn Borg is certainly one of the best tennis players of all time because he achieved this feat very, very few people have done.

7. Ivan Lendl

Best Tennis Players

Borg’s style of play might have been beautiful, but Lendl’s would not have been.

In the end, though, it’s not what you look like that matters, it’s how you perform on the court, and that’s something Ivan Lendl clearly excelled at.

In the 1980s, Lendl was an all-around player with a powerful serve, superior fitness, and a topspin groundstroke.

During his time at the top of the world rankings, he won eight Grand Slam singles titles.

His coaching career has also been outstanding, most notably with Andy Murray, who almost made this list.

8. Rod Laver

Rod Laver

Our top three positions are dominated by modern greats, but our fourth spot has to go to a legend.

Rod Laver of Australia won the Grand Slam twice in the 1960s, winning all four majors in a single year.

There has never been another male player to repeat Laver’s feat since 1969, demonstrating the man’s brilliance.

Although Laver was unlucky to be caught up in the debate between shipowners and professionals, he nonetheless had a remarkable career.

In fact, all of this might seem to indicate that he should be at the top of the list, but we think the increased professionalism and competitiveness of the game today makes it more likely to be a top-three player.

9. Jimmy Connors

Jimmy Connors

A total of 147 titles were won by Connors during his career, including eight Grand Slam titles.

Connors would rank higher than Federer on this list based solely on tournament victories.

One of the best male tennis players of all time, the American was known as an all-action player with some incredible rivalries throughout his career.

10. John McEnroe

John McEnroe

This list wouldn’t be complete without John McEnroe.

In one of tennis’ greatest eras, McEnroe had 105 titles and seven Grand Slam triumphs to his credit.

He’s also become a beloved TV commentator due to his large-than-life personality.

John McEnroe rounds out our list of the best tennis players of all time, having ended Borg’s Wimbledon run and participated in the greatest tiebreak in tennis history (perhaps).

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Top 10 Best Female Tennis Players of All Time

The men’s top ten tennis players of all time were no easier to select than the women’s top ten! This is what we came up with.

1. Serena Williams

Serena Williams

In terms of grand slam titles, Serena Williams is second only to Margaret Court as the all-time great. Both Serena and Venus have won grand slam titles (all together) on the doubles court. 

She is regarded as one of the most impressive athletes because of her longevity in the sport.

Her career spans four decades, and she balances being a mother while winning grand slams.

Her intensity and will to win will make her one of the greatest players in history, inspiring a generation of players to play the sport (particularly girls).

It is also widely recognized that she has one of the most technically sound serves in tennis (you can check out an analysis of her serve here). As the highest-earning female tennis player, she has won 72 career titles, including four Olympic gold medals. 

The way Serena plays tennis is the same as how she plays everything else in her life.  After the US Open 2022, she gracefully announced her retirement from professional tennis. Instead of retiring, she called it an “evolution”.

Whichever way you look at it, wouldn’t it be safe to say that he is the greatest tennis player of all time?

2. Venus Williams

Venus Williams

Venus Williams is the elder sister of Serena Williams, one of the greatest tennis players in history.

She was one of the first to emphasize power and physicality in the modern game, winning seven singles grand slams as well as 14 doubles grand slams with Serena.

The fact that she still holds the record for the most grand slam appearances with 90 speaks volumes about her technically impeccable service motion.

3. Chris Evert

Chris Evert

Though Chris Evert is now a prominent tennis commentator and pundit, it’s easy to forget just how spectacular she was as a player!

There were legendary rivalries between Navratilova and Wade.

Over the course of her career, she won 18 grand slams and a major every year for 13 consecutive years! It was the serve and volley era back in the 70s and 80s when her counterpunching style was common.

Rather than relying on skill to win matches, she emphasized consistency and fitness. As one of the best tennis players of all time, she also won 90% of her singles matches over the course of her career. 

4. Margaret Court

Margaret Court

In her career, Margaret Court won more than 24 grand slam titles, making her among the greatest female tennis players of all time.

She won 21 mixed doubles slams and 19 women’s doubles grand slams as well

There have been only three tennis players in history who have won a grand slam boxed set, which involves winning all four versions of each grand slam (singles, doubles, and mixed doubles).

With Court’s height and reach advantages, it’s easy to understand why she has such impressive records. The amazing agility she had for her height combined with her aggressive style on the court made her one of the most formidable players in the game of tennis. She brought a new, athletic dimension to the game of tennis.

5. Steffi Graff

Best Female Tennis Players

Among the greatest tennis players of all time, Steffi Graff must be in the conversation. Margaret Court and Serena Williams rank her right up there with her 22 grand slam titles.

One of the most versatile players in the history of the game, she spent 377 weeks as the world number 1 in her career. 

A calendar golden slam in 1988 followed her four grand slam titles on all surfaces. Young and aspiring tennis players still look up to her for her fierce forehand and impeccable footwork.

6. Martina Navratilova

Martina Navratilova

Martina arguably became one of the greatest tennis players of all time because of her innovative and successful style. During her long career, she won 18 grand slam titles using her left-handed game style to great effect. Up at the net, she wore down all her opponents with relentless pressure.

Due to her proficiency on the doubles court, she has developed excellent volleying skills.

The number of grand slams she won on the singles court actually exceeded the number on the doubles court! The women’s doubles champion won 31 grand slams in her career, while the mixed doubles champion won 10 slams. 

Her world number-one ranking was second only to Stefi Graff for 332 weeks.

6. Maria Sharapova

Best Female Tennis Players

As one of tennis’ greatest players, Maria Sharapova is often considered the most steely competitor. Known as one of the purest ball strikers in history because of her height and reach, her game was defined by her height and reach.

During her career, she won five grand slam titles and had a fierce rivalry with Serena Williams.

A marketing dream throughout her career, she won Wimbledon aged just 17 and was a marketer’s dream, but was banned for using an illegal substance in 2016 and dropped out of favor with some sponsors.

Although she is not a modern-era great, she is a worthy member of our list.

7. Monica Seles

Monica Seles

Monica Seles was one of the greatest tennis players to ever pick up a racket. She was considered to be one of the most natural talents in the game.

At the age of 16, she remains the youngest major singles winner ever with nine grand slam titles.

While still a teenager, she won the majority of her grand slams and twice ranked number one in the world. Her career was sadly hampered by a near-fatal on-court attack, but she still remains one of the most prestigious talents in tennis history. 

8. Martina Hingis

Martina Hingis

Despite spending 209 weeks at number one, Martina Hingis was more successful at doubles than singles. There is no doubt she has some good hands as she has won 5 singles grand slams, 13 doubles and 7 mixed doubles!

In 1998, she won the calendar grand slam in women’s doubles, proving that she had what it took to dominate the doubles court. Early in her career, she was a successful player who benefited from outsmarting her opponents rather than blasting them off the court.

She was one of the best tennis players we’ve ever seen thanks to her fitness, finesse, and court awareness. 

9. Billie Jean King

Billie Jean King

Billie Jean King was a formidable force on the court, scrambling around the court and hitting hard when she got to the ball. She had a significant impact on tennis both on and off the court.

She won 39 grand slams despite being just over 5’4″ tall, making her the shortest player to ever win a slam.

As a pioneer of social justice in tennis, she is a passionate advocate for gender equality in sport. After her professional tennis career ended in 1990, she became a prominent figure in the tennis world.

The greatest tennis player of all time, even before this, was no doubt her.

10. Justine Henin

Justine Henin

There has never been a tennis shot more beautiful than that of Justine Henin. Combined with a silky smooth game, her single-handed backhand has taken her to numerous grand slam titles.

Serena Williams faced a number of rivalries, but few were as successful in stopping her as Henin.

Over 100 weeks in the top spot were spent by her between 2004 and 2007. It is a little unfortunate that she wasn’t higher on the list, but it just shows how tight the competition is.

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Which tennis players missed out on our list?

Some players have a strong claim to make the top ten tennis players of all time, but the question is obviously subjective.

The list does not quite include some incredible players from past eras including Ken Rosewall (the oldest grand slam winner), Henri Cochet, and Rene Lacoste, as well as some modern players like Andy Murray who would have won a number of Grand Slams if they hadn’t played in the same era.


Who is considered the greatest male tennis player of all time? 

Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal are often included in the debate, each having unique accomplishments and strengths.

Which female tennis player holds the most Grand Slam titles? 

 There are 23 Grand Slam titles held by Serena Williams in the Open Era.

How has tennis equipment evolved over the years? 

A lighter and more powerful racket as well as specialized footwear have been developed as a result of technological advancements in tennis equipment.

What role do coaches play in a tennis player’s career? 

Assisting players with their skills and helping them make strategic decisions, coaches provide guidance, strategy, and emotional support.

How have female tennis players contributed to gender equality in sports?

Throughout the history of tennis, female players have been instrumental in ensuring gender equality regarding pay, recognition, and opportunities.


A tennis legend is more than an athlete; he or she has shaped the sport’s history and inspired generations. Sportsmanship, resilience, and contributions to society comprise their legacy beyond titles and records.

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