THE TOP TEN Male Tennis Players of the 20th Century
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Rod Laver of Australia was easily the greatest player who ever played the game. He won two Grand Slams, once as an amateur in 1962 and again as a professional in 1969. These were both in a calendar year and this achievement of winning the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open has never been done and probably --- safe to say -- will never be done. Since 1969 no man has even won a calendar Grand Slam.
Bjorn Borg of Sweden won 6 French Opens and 5 Wimbledons which is quite unimaginable as they are played on two completely different surfaces, clay and grass, and also played less than a month apart every summer. Being European and brought up on clay, you would expect him to win a couple of French titles but to win 6 of those and back it up by playing only one grass court event every year, Wimbledon, and winning that five times puts him safely at No. 2.
Jimmy Connors from the United States has won more singles titles than any other male player and is far ahead of the second player in titles won. He also won the US Open on three different surfaces - grass, har-tru and hard court. The only player to do so. In 1974 he won the Australian, Wimbledon and US Open titles, but was not allowed to play the French Open due to World Team Tennis. Had he played it, he could have the Grand Slam in a calendar year.
John McEnroe also of the USA was easily the most talented player I have ever seen. His shot making was pure genius and in 1984 he lost only an amazing two matches the whole year. One to Lendl in the final of the French Open and one to me at the ATP Championships in Cincinnati. He won 77 singles and 77 doubles titles and was the only player to be ranked No 1 on the singles and doubles computer ranking.
Pete Sampras of the USA is a safe bet at No 5. Though my critics might feel he should be ranked higher, I have to take into consideration his competition on grass and the fact that he never came close to winning the French Open on clay. He has tied Roy Emerson's 12 Grand Slam singles titles and is on the verge of taking that total to 13 and standing alone at the top of Grand Slam singles titles won.
Bill Tilden also of the USA. I have him put at No 6 simply because of history. I obviously never saw him play, but he was easily the best of his time and in computer match-ups he always comes out favourably. He was the one man to end the domination of the four French musketeers in international tennis.
Don Budge of the USA. He was the first ever winner of the calendar Grand Slam in 1938 and that certainly is good enough to be ranked amongst the top 10.
Roy Emerson because his record of winning 12 Grand Slam singles titles stood alone till this year's Wimbledon when Sampras tied him. But keep in mind that Emerson also won an incredible number of Grand Slam doubles titles that made him a more complete player.
I have put the name of Pancho Gonzalez at No 9 because he turned pro at a very young age after winning the US Open and played his best tennis as a professional on their own tour before tennis was open. When tennis opened up in 1968 he continued at age 40 and 41 beating America's No 1 player Charles Paseral in a 5 � hour match on the Center Court at Wimbledon. He also coached me for three years which brought in my greatest improvement.
Lew Hoad and Ken Rosewall
Lew Hoad and the evergreen Ken Rosewall, I have put at No 10 together. Rosewall beat Hoad in the final of the US Open to deny Hoad a calendar year Grand Slam. Hoad was good enough to beat any one on any surface on a given day, which made him unique and no one would question that. Rosewall won the French Open at 17 and then again at age 34. A remarkable feat. He did win the Australian and US Open titles and became the greatest player never to win Wimbledon.
[source: http://www.rediff.com/millenni/vijay.htm ]
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