Tennis is a globally recognized sport, where players come from different parts of the world to make a name. However, many great legends came from the United States.
America gave many talented players, who engraved their name in the history of tennis. There are so many great American players that it’s hard to just choose “Top 10 Greatest American Tennis Players in History.”
The calculations are complex to rank the top 10, as every player differs from each other and became great in a category. The Grand Slam is the most prestigious event in the sport. Therefore, we will rank the player according to their achievements in Grand Slam.
#10. Jimmy Connors
Jimmy Connors is one of the greatest players to hail from the United States. He has bagged a total of ten Grand Slam titles throughout his career. Aside from his majors, he has lifted 109 singles titles.
However, Connors’ feat is not only limited to winning eight major singles titles and two Grand Slam titles in men’s doubles but he was also a former Rank 1 on the ATP table. Further, the American was on the peak of rankings for 160 consecutive weeks from 1974 to 1977, which was a then-record and later broken by the Swiss veteran Roger Federer.
But Jimmy made a record another record later in his career, he became the first player in the sport’s history to cross the 200 weeks mark at ATP Rank 1. Without a doubt, Jimmy Connors deserves to be on this list.
#9. Don Budge
It is not wrong to say, Don Budge is a pioneer for American men’s tennis, as he was the first player in tennis history to win all four Grand Slam titles in a single year.
Budge won 14 Grand Slam in his entire career. He is the only player on this list who has lifted four Pro Slams, a format for professional players prior to the Open era. Further, he lifted 43 singles titles in his career and also won the triple crown thrice in his career.
The American legend is one of the best backhand players and even recognized as a Number One player during his times. However, his career was short-lived, as Budge joined US Air Force to serve in the Second World War. Don received a major injury, which became a cause for his retirement in 1955. Post-war, the American played for few years, but mostly against his rival Bobby Riggs, another American legend in the sport.
#8. Pete Sampras
Who doesn’t know the name of Pete Sampras, he is the greatest American men’s tennis player to ever exist.
Like Don Budge, Sampras also bagged 14 major titles throughout his tennis career. However, he won all the Grand Slams in the singles division. He is also the only man to win so many major titles in singles.
The American legend has been ATP Number One for six consecutive years. Further, his backhand serves were so precise and powerful that earned him the nickname ‘Pistol Pete’. He was also the last American male player to lift the Wimbledon trophy. He retired from the sport on an exquisite note, lifting the 2002 US Open against Andre Agassi.
#7. John McEnroe
John McEnroe became a well-known name in the sport since his debut year. He claimed many records in his career to sit on the throne of the best player during his time.
McEnroe has won seven singles Grand Slam titles, which is half of Sampras. However, McEnroe also won nine and one major titles at doubles and mixed doubles, resulting in 17 Grand Slam titles. Therefore, the American legend is also the only male player in the country’s history to claim 17 major titles.
John also captained the American national team in Davis Cup and led them to lift the cup five times. Thus, without a doubt, American tennis is indebted to the legend and McEnroe deserves to be the greatest player of his country.
#6. Chris Evert
At sixth rank, we got one of the best female players in the history of American tennis. She bagged a total of 21 Grand Slam titles, which includes 18 singles and three doubles.
Evert dominated the court during the 70s, opponents were scared to face the right-handed American legend. Chris Evert’s winning percentage in singles matches is still the highest in both men’s and women’s division.
The American veteran dominated every type of court, although her expertise on clay court was legendary. She won a French Open for a record seven times and thus got recognized as the ‘Queen of Clay’.
#5. Venus Williams
Williams Sisters are a well-known name in the world. The elder sister Venus Williams is hailed as one of the greatest American players.
She earned the title of World Number One in both singles and doubles. She was the first African-American to reach the top spot in WTA Rankings in the Open era. Williams has bagged 23 major titles, which include 7 singles, 2 mixed doubles, and 14 doubles. She won all her double major titles playing with her sister Serena Williams.
She is also the active female player to reach the finals of all four Grand Slams, which she shares with her younger sister Serena.
#4. Helen Wills
If Don Budge is a pioneer in the American men’s history in the sport, then Helen Wills is the one for the female players of the United States.
Wills won 31 Grand Slam titles in her career, which includes 19 major singles titles. Further, she became the fourth female player to win the most Grand Slam singles titles. She used to practice against male players to up her game. Therefore, she has the highest winning percentage in Grand Slam matches in the women’s division. She also holds a record 13-times winning major tournaments without losing a set.
She was a great legend in not only American but also the global history of tennis. Therefore, many claim her as “the most dominant tennis player of the 20th century.” Even her match against Suzanne Lenglen, another prominent player of Wills’ time, was called the “Match of the Century.”
#3. Serena Williams
When Venus Williams has appeared on this list, then we can expect the younger sister will also feature in this Top 10 list. Serena Williams ranks third on this list because of her achievements in the sport.
Williams won 39 Grand Slam titles, combining the singles, doubles, and mixed doubles. We already know, she dominated the doubles with her elder sister as her partner. However, her singles career is also phenomenal, winning 73 titles and which includes 23 major singles. Therefore, she is the American female player with the most number of Grand Slam singles titles.
Serena has been World Number One for 319 weeks. Further, she has been on the top spot for a record 186 consecutive weeks, which she shares with German great Steffi Graf.
#2. Billie Jean King
The American great Billie Jean King is without a doubt the greatest player of her country and the world. The former World Number One won 39 Grand Slams, including 12 singles, 16 doubles, and 11 in mixed doubles.
King has not only contributed to the rich history of the sport but also raised her voice against gender equality. Her match against a legendary American male player, Bobby Riggs became infamous as “the Battle of Sexes.” Further, King stood victorious against Riggs in that historical match.
#1. Martina Navratilova
We finally made it to the top spot, and it seems American women were more successful compared to men. Martina Navratilova is acing this list of “Top 10 Greatest American Tennis Players in History.”
Navratilova is the most successful player in the history of American tennis. She is the only American player who won 59 Grand Slam titles. Further, the record remains untouched in both men’s and women’s categories. Martina got infamous because of her extreme physical conditions and powerful shots. She is also the “Queen of Wimbledon,” winning nine times.
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