The Greatest Tennis Player Of All Time

There have been very few tennis players to grace the hallowed grounds of a tennis court, destroying all competition with which ever style of play they choose to use. You've got your Federer Fanatics, Nadalites, Djokers, Laver Lovers, Bjorn Agains, Johnny Macattacks, Pete Champris', Agassi's Wigs, and many other followers.

For the purpose of this post, we'll pick players from 1925 and up. This is a list of the greatest. at the end I'll pick my G.O.A.T.

Big Bill Tilden. Tilden, an amateur powerhouse of the early 1920's and 30's led the U.S. to Davis Cup victories for most of his career, and was nearly unbeatable in 1928, when he won all of the major tournaments (previously only for amateurs) except for the Aussie Open, which players in the U.S. rarely attended. In 1950, Tilden received the award for the fans choice for best player from 1900 to 1950. Although spurned by the USTA in his later years, Tilden toured the country in to his 60's after turning pro, amassing huge amounts of fans, and continued to be the biggest draw in pro tennis until his death. One of the best.


Donald Budge. Don budge had one of the biggest serves in the game, conveniently named the Cannonball, he won most of his early matches solely on his serve. Winning the Grand Slam, all four majors in one year, Don solidified his legend by playing in one of the greatest matches of all time against Germany's Baron Gottfried von Cramm. von Cramm and Budge went at it in the Live rubber of the 1937 Davis cup for over 4 hours, with a final score of 6-8 5-7 6-4 6-2 8-6 in favor of the American on the courts of Wimbledon. Unfortunately, injuries forced Budge to give up the Cannonball serve, thus taking away his most powerful weapon. Very good. 6 Career Majors.

Let's move up a few decades.

Rod Laver. The last man to ever complete the Grand Slam. Laver twice won all four majors in one year, and no one has even won four in a row since. This Aussie had a way about him, whether it was his on-court sportsmanship, small, but lovable frame, or just sheer ability to put the ball where he wanted, Laver continued to beat foes until his body gave up on him. Now with the Aussie Open's center court names after him (Rod Laver Arena), Laver can sit back and enjoy the up and coming Australian star Bernard Tomic rip through the field. Again, Laver was really good, probably the closest thing to the Best ever. 11 career Majors is nothing to laugh at. Laver is and always will be one of the best to ever grace the tennis court.

John McEnroe. Johnny Mac was known for his on-court outbursts, and extremely good game. "You CANNOT be Serious" was his catchphrase. 7 total Majors. Not the greatest ever, certainly a fun guy to watch, not to mention he pretty much made Bjorn Borg retire, but more on that later. The classic hair, headband, bad attitude, and serve & volley technique are what Johnny Mac is remembered for.

Bjorn Borg. The Swedish Viking. The Stoic Warrior. The Man Of Steel. Borg retired when he was 25 years old. Very young. After John McEnroe beat Borg in the 1981 U.S. Open, and unseeded Borg as the #1 player in the world, Borg decided he couldn't take not being the best. One of the all-time greats and legends of the game, Borg was the most superstitious players in history, taking the same route to Wimbledon's Centre Court every time he played, and staying in the same room of the same hotel every year. Borg won 11 Majors, but none in Australia or the USA. Certainly one of the best.

Andre Agassi. The fashion icon of the 90's, Agassi was better known for his style on the court than his actual play. With his long flowing mullet, which was revealed to be a wig in Agassi's Autobiography Open, short jean-shorts, and colorful t-shirts, Agassi was the most stylish man on court. Agassi's dominance didn't surface until his fall out of the top 10 in the rankings. He fell to 148 in the world. But somehow brought it back up to #1 within 2 years. He had one of the best rivalries with the next guy we'll be talking about. With his 8 Majors, and 1 Olympic Gold, Agassi holds the Golden Slam (all 4 slams and olympics). Andre is now an advocate for tennis, education and the betterment of life in general, a true philanthropist in every aspect, Agassi and wife Steffi Graf have opened Charter schools for the less fortunate.

Pete Sampras. A wonderful player, person, and advocate for the game, Sampras had a big rivalry with Agassi, once playing a 5-set U.S. Open match where every set was a tie-break. Sampras held the record for Slams, until a certain Swiss man came alone and took it. Sampras' big serve, bigger and faster than Budge's Cannonball, was the staple of his game. It destroyed opponents, maddened proven returners, and won titles. Sampras loved the Grass of Wimbledon, as it played perfectly to his game. The self proclaimed "King of Swing" racked up an astounding 6 straight years at #1 and 14 Majors. One of the best ever.

Roger Federer. It's tough to argue with the most Majors of all time. Sitting at 16, Federer has been building his tennis empire since his stunning 2003 Wimbledon win. The Swiss Maestro, King of Grass, and Destroyer of Man, has dominated the tennis world. Now that the rest of the world has caught up, Federer has started losing more of late, not because of bad play. Novak Djokovic has beaten everyone in his way in 2011, only losing twice (once to Federer). Rafael Nadal's game is just a bad match up for Federer. With the career slam behind him (16 career slams), Federer will look to win the Olympics in 2012 to get the Golden Slam he so desperately wants. Only time will tell if we will ever see another player of this caliber, and if we do, he'll have to be pretty damn good.

These are your choices. Who is the GOAT. Who will never be surpassed

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