Now we are all familiar with the fact that Roger Federer is the greatest male tennis player of all time, but what isn't as well documented is who are the Top10 greatest players of all time. So, without further ado, let us begin.
10. Jimmy Connors
American tennis would not be what it is today if it were not for Jimmy Connors. Standing at 5-foot-10, Connors was by no means a powerhouse and in comparison to his tennis rivals was relatively small, however, what he lacked in stature he made up for with an intense focus and a desire to win like no other. The mid-1970s was when Connor was playing at his zenith; he spent an astronomical 159 consecutive weeks at No. 1 in the world rankings. He was cruelly robbed of the chance of completing a Grand Slam in 1974; he was denied entry to the French Open due to his association with World Team Tennis. Longevity and tennis do not go together, yet for Connors, they do. At the grand old age of 39 he made it to the semi-finals of the 1991 U.S. Open, something that is unprecedented in the Open Era.
Away from Grand Slam titles, Connors won 109 ATP Tours - he is the only male tennis player to have more than a century. As for his career win-loss record of 1253-279 (81.79%), only Rafael Nadal and Bjorn Bjorg can boast better.
9. Ivan Lendl
Lendl has recently returned to mainstream media for his partnership with British tennis star Andy Murray, turning the perennial Grand Slam candidate into a Grand Slam winner. The fact that he coached Murray to a 2013 Wimbledon success should see him knighted in Britain, although he has now severed ties with the one-time winner.
Away from coaching, Lendl was one of the players of the 1980s and the early 1990s. Lendl's game was heavily reliant on his own strength; a prerequisite of the modern game, and heavy topspin from the baseline. Lendl's style effectively ushered in the current era of tennis… “power tennis”.
Lendl is so often overlooked as he wasn't a media persona and his style was more methodical than flair, but when it gets the job done it gets the job done. In fact, only Pete Sampras and Roger Federer have spent more time ranked at No. 1 than the man from Ostrava.
8. John McEnroe
“You cannot be serious?” You can almost imagine John McEnroe uttering his iconic catchphrase when he sees his placing on this list. The fiery, temperamental American was something that tennis had never seen before. Here was a hot head that was willing to challenge the status quo, no umpire was safe. He made tennis a must watch sport.
Away from the theatrics, oh, could he play. You may question why someone with fewer Grand Slam titles is ranked higher than Lendl and Conners, and you would be completely justified to do so. But he could do what the others could not, neutralize Bjorn Borg.
With a monster of a left serve and an athletic pedigree that hadn't been seen before McEnroe was a juggernaut on the fast courts - his five years of dominance between 1979 and 1984 pay testament to this.
7. Novak Djokovic
When it comes to athleticism Djokovic is a beast. Here is a guy that operates in sixth gear from the get go. He is that brilliant mix of power, pace and flexibility, how many 6-foot-2 guys have you seen been able to do the splits?
Djokovic is placed above the three before them as he is going to eclipse them. He is only 27-years-old so injury-permitting, he is going to win at least another three Grand Slams - he's the overwhelming favourite with Betfair to win an eighth Grand Slam at next year's Australian Open.
His two-hand backhand is arguably the greatest of all time, no, let's stick our heads out, it is the greatest of all time. What makes for even better reading for the Serbian is the plight of Rafa Nadal. The Spaniard is dogged by injuries right now; if his game is severely affected by them then it should just be a one-horse race in most Grand Slams from herein.
It would be dumb-founding if Djokovic does not make it into double figures for career Grand Slam successes.
6. Andre Agassi
The first man on the list to complete the career Grand Slam. That alone is enough to put you in the uppermost echelons of tennis greatness. Now imagine that for a fair proportion of Andre Agassi's career the Las Vegas native was under the influence of crystal meth, which he admitted to taking in his autobiography. As drugs go, cocaine this is hardly a performance enhancing drug; rather it is a debilitating toxin. The fact that Agassi managed to achieve what he did really does go to show what a great talent he was.
Agassi redeeming quality was his return. His strict father would make his son practice for hours on end. The result: unbelievable hand-eye coordination and the ability to manoeuvre his opponent as if they were a puppet on a string.
Here is a guy with a never-say-never attitude. His demons had got the better of him at one point, seeing him slip to 141 in the world in 1997. After being at the lowest of lows Agassi pulled himself out of the gutter and got back to his mercurial best, completing a career Grand Slam within two years.
5. Bjorn Borg
When you have 11 Grand Slam titles to your name by the age of 25-years-old you know you are pretty special. Even more incredible is that Borg retired for the first time just one year later. Could you imagine how many title he would have had to his name if he had extended his career, he didn't even play in his prime!
The Swede was rightly known as the “Iceman”, there was nothing on the court that fazed him, even the supercharged John McEnroe. A baseliner to the core and the one man who infuriated McEnroe like no other, Borg really was a great.
4. Rod Laver
It is impossible to open a record book regarding tennis and not find Rod Laver's name plastered all over it. With over 200 titles to his name the man from Rockhampton is the most successful Open-Era tennis player. While for seven years, 1964-70, he was ranked as the number one player in the world, but most impressive is his Grand Slam success. Being able to do one proper Grand Slam is hugely impressive and merits ones place in this list, but being able to pull off two career Grand Slams is stuff of legend, and that is exactly what Laver is.
3. Pete Sampras
Pete Sampras dominated tennis when it was very much a serve and volley game, rather than just two players knocking it about from the relative safety of the back of the court. Although he was primarily a serve and volley-style player, he could handle himself at the back of the court; his one hand backhand and running forehand were both something to behold. In terms of success; Sampras is tied with Connors for most US Open wins and with Roger Federer for most Wimbledon victories. The American was very much a Grand Slam player, his 203-38 record shows that.
2. Rafael Nadal
There is no player to have ever graced the planet that is better on the clay courts than Rafael Nadal. He already has eight French Open titles to his name, but you have to fancy him to win some more, of the 67 games he has played at Roland Garros he has lost just once; Robin Soderling is the man with that honour. Despite winning the majority of his titles on clay, Nadal can beat anyone on any court when fully fit but sadly he hasn't been properly fit for some time now. The fact that he has a dodgy back and knees make him all the more incredible as he is still able to add to his trophy haul - his return at the 2013 US Open was absolutely dumbfounding.
1. Roger Federer
Never has a tennis player dominated the game like Roger Federer. When he was at his zenith he was simply astounding, and had it not been for the emergence of Nadal he would have easily won 20 Grand Slam titles by now.
The records of Federer are seemingly endless. His 237-consecutive-week spell as world No. 1 is a record, so too are his five wins at the US Open, four wins at the Australian Open and seven wins at Wimbledon. He has also reached every Grand Slam final five times - Wimbledon nine times - which unsurprisingly is another record. In total, he has played in a record 25 Grand Slam finals, 10 of which were in a row; yes that it another record. In tournament prize money Federer has accrued over $86 million.
A player who may lack the power of Nadal but makes up for it in poise, positional play, intelligence and nerves of steel, Federer is the best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be.