Roger Federer is the greatest player of all time

Since the inception of the tennis open era nearly four decades ago, 24 players have reached the number one world ranking on the men's professional tennis tour, but a closer look reveals that 14 of them stayed on top for less than a year. An even harder feat is to be the number one player at year's end multiple times, something accomplished by only nine players.

Ranking these nine super champions by their grand slam dominance (grand slam tournaments won) and longevity, (years ending the year as the number player) reveals the greatest male tennis players of the open era.

Roger Federer

To say that Roger dominated tennis would be a major understatement. He demolished records by doubling or even tripling past them. His success at the grand slams is and will always be the mark that all champions are judged. He possesses the best fundamentals with classic but yet modern effortless tennis strokes that make returning 120mph serves seem like a Sunday picnic at the park. With 16 majors and five years ending the year at number one, Roger earns 21 greatest player points and remains the best ever.

Pete Sampras

His championship run as a teenager at the US Open, beating one time world number one players Thomas Muster, Ivan Lendl, John McEnroe and Andre Agassi, with serving speeds and consistency never seen on such a big stage, shocked the sporting world and announced his arrival with a loud boom. His serve would later prove to be his biggest weapon in dominating the tour. He broke the long-standing grand slam record and became in the opinion of most tennis experts, the best player of all-time. With 14 grand slams and standing on the top of the year ending rankings for six years, Sampras earns 20 greatest player points.

Bjorn Borg

He's the first tennis superstar, heartthrob, and globetrotting millionaire. His topspin forehand and two- handed backhand revolutionized the sport. The tennis boom of the 1970's saw millions wearing headbands and imitating the Borg look on court. As stylish as he was, he had even more substance, winning the French Open and Wimbledon like no one before. With 11 major titles and leading the year-end ranking twice, Borg earns 13 greatest player points.

Jimmy Connors

Prior to Rafael Nadal, if my life depended on winning a tennis match, Jimbo was the one player I would choose to play for me. Armed with a weak serve, flat strokes, and limited foot speed, he went to war against three of the biggest champions, Lendl, McEnroe and Bjorn Borg, and posted results that are still in the record books. He played at the top of the game in the better parts of three decades, making him tennis's true Mr. Longevity. Eight grand slams and five years ending the year at number one, is enough for 13 greatest player points for Jimmy.

Ivan Lendl

He was the first super tennis dominator. He destroyed players through brute force, determination and fitness. His will to win was matched by no other player, and armed with a lethal forehand and powerful serve, Ivan was on pace to set records that no other mortal would ever reach. But a bad back sidelined his march and the rest of the tour breathed a sigh of relief. With eight majors and four years ending on top of the rankings, Ivan earns 12 greatest player points.

John McEnroe

He is perhaps the most recognizable American tennis player of all-time, the game's unofficial ambassador, and most colorful tennis player that the sport has ever. John dominated tennis both on court and in the headlines; with seven grand slams and finishing the year at number one four times, he earns 11 greatest player points.

Rafael Nadal

He's the winner of the career grand slam, a product of his brilliant 2010 season and young career that's begging for longevity. Staying healthy is Nadal's biggest nemesis; if he fights off injuries, he will obliterate all standing records to clearly be the greatest of all time. For now his two years on top of the year ending rankings along with his nine grand slams, earns him 11 greatest player points.

Stefan Edberg

He is the last pure serve and volley champion and arguably the best net player in the open era. He ended Ivan Lendl's run on top of the rankings and fought off rival champions Boris Becker and Jim Courier to finish the year as the number one player twice, while capturing seven major tournaments. Stefan gets nine greatest player points.

Lleyton Hewitt

In the five years between the reign of Pete Sampras and the ascent of Roger Federer, more players reached the number one spot than any other time in the ranking history. Contenders like Andy Roddick, Gustavo Kuerten, Marat Safin, Marcelo Rios and others all took turn on top, but only Lleyton Hewitt mounted what could be called a mini dominance. During that time he won two major tournaments and ended the year at number one, two years in a row, giving him four greatest player points.

Date: 03.08.2011, Source: Yahoo Sports


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