Tennis is played on a rectangular surface called tennis court and there are three kinds of courts: grass, clay and hard. Among these courts, grass court is the oldest surface and the hard one is the youngest category. There also used to be carpet courts which are discontinued after 2008.
Throughout a year, different competitions take place on these three surfaces, among which are the four Grand Slam. Further, all Grand Slam used to be played on grass but now only Wimbledon is grass court whereas Roland Garros is clay and Australian Open and US Open takes place on hard court.
All tennis players are able to play on any kind of surface, but everyone got a favorite surface where they can utilize their maximum potential. In this article we will talk about some great players who made a mark on the history of tennis because of their phenomenal performance at hard court.
#10. Andy Murray
The Former World No.1 Andy Murray might not have won a lot of Grand Slams but he had won a major title on hard court. Andy Murray won his first title in 2012 US Open against none other than the hard-court maestro Novak Djokovic.
The two-handed backhand player is the best counterpuncher of modern times, and his trait gives him a great boost while playing on hard surface. The Tennis knight could have won many more records and dominated much more on hard courts, but because of his hip surgery, the Briton lost his touch and dropped to Ranking 102. Thus Murray now mostly plays in low-tier circuits.
#9. Stefan Edberg
Stefan Edberg was believed to be the successor of the legacy of the Swiss great Bjorn Borg, although Edberg didn’t have as many titles as Borg but he did make a name for himself being a connoisseur of serve-and-volley style. Further, his style gave him a dominance at the hard courts.
Edberg had a high winning percentage on hard courts and bagged many titles throughout his 13-year-long career, which even include two Australian Open and two of US Open. Many tennis pundits believed facing Edberg on a fast-playing surface like hard courts could be a tough challenge to overcome.
#8. Jimmy Connors
I considered the American legend Jimmy Connors as the best hard court player of his time, as the retired World No.1 not only won US Open five times but also won the maiden hard court edition of US Open. The American Grand Slam used to be played on clay courts when Connors turned pro, but since 1978, it took place on a hard court.
Connors was known for his playing as the American was one of the few baseline players during an era filled with net players. The outstanding baseliner was not only blessed with great serve but could also cover the court, giving him an edge while playing on hard courts.
Aside from the American’s dominance at the US Open hard courts, he also won 29 Grand Prix Super Series finals and most of them were on hard surfaces. Therefore, Jimmy Connors had a great rate of winning at hard courts compared to grass or clay.
#7. Rafael Nadal
At eighth place on this list of “Ranking Top 10 Greatest Hard Court tennis Player” we got Rafael Nadal, the man known as the ‘King of Clay.’ However, there is nothing to be amaze as the Spaniard is one of the greatest players of the modern era.
Nadal has such an impeccable record on clay court that most ignore to look at the stats of playing on hard court. The Spaniard is known for his topspin groundstrokes and speedy footworks, along with some aggressive counterpunches. His playing style is not only well suited for clay but also gives him an advantage on hard surfaces. Nadal has won five Grand Slams on hard court till now, including four on US Open and one at the Australian Open. He even won numerous ATP Master titles at hard circuits.
Many sports pundits even compare Nadal’s playing style and personality to another great hard court player, Jimmy Connors and even the American legend himself have agreed on this fact.
#6. John McEnroe
Who hasn’t heard the name of the great American legend John McEnroe, one of the best players to step on a tennis court. The American great is known for his over the top performance on grass, but McEnroe could also dominate on the hard surface.
The retired World No.1 claimed his first major singles title in 1979 US Open when he was just a 20-year-old boy. John McEnroe further went on bagging three more US Open titles and he also won four more hard court titles in America but in doubles.
The American loved to play on hard court as apart from Grand Slam titles, he also won many master tournaments. He had the best winning percentage on hard courts during his time.
#5. Ivan Lendl
Ivan Lendl has won five Grand Slam singles titles on the hard-court, two Australian Open and three of US Open, thus there is no more need to say more why Lendl is on this list. The former World No.1 further has been to eight consecutive US Open finals, which remain an unbroken record till this date.
The Czech-American not only dominated the hard court as a player but also groomed players who also dominated at the hard surface. Under Lendl’s guidance, Andy Murray won his first Grand Slam title and that too against Novak Djokovic at 2012 US Open.
#4. Andre Agassi
Andre Agassi is known for his dominance at hard courts, his great serves gave him quite an edge on hard surfaces. Agassi won eight major titles throughout his phenomenal career, including four Australian Open and two of US Open titles.
Agassi could play on any surface, but his first-strike playing style was something else when on hard surface. Aside from his Grand Slam success at hard, he also won numerous other tournaments at a hard court. Many claimed Agassi unbeatable on the synthetic surface, as the American legend grew up playing on hard courts.
#3. Pete Sampras
Who hasn’t heard the name of ‘Pistol Pete’? The American legend has dominated the court throughout his professional career, but his excellence at a hard court was incomparable during his days.
The American legend had a really high winning percentage on hard courts, thus he went on bagging numerous titles in his long career, including two Australian Open and five US Open titles. Further, Sampras won the US Open in 2002, which was also his last major title he took part and also the only man to ever win the last Grand Slam of their pro career.
#2. Roger Federer
Roger Federer is one of the best players in the world and is known as the ‘King of Grass.’ But now you all might wonder why a player who is great on grass is doing at a list of the Greatest Hard Court Tennis Players. So the Swiss maestro has a fluid style of playing and can play on any kind of surface, but his dominance on green is so great that it overshadows his achievements on the hard court.
King Fed won a record 20 Grand Slams till now, which he also shares with Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. However, his Grand Slam collection includes six Australian Open and five US Open. There is no doubt the World No.9 is one of the greatest player to appear on a hard court but couldn’t past the achievements of the Number One on this list.
#1. Novak Djokovic
If we are talking about the greatest hard court tennis player, then how can we not talk about the Swiss maestro Novak Djokovic. The current World No.1 is at his prime at the moment and dominating the tennis on every all surfaces, but hard courts are his specialty.
Djokovic has already matched the record 20 Grand Slam titles of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal and might even break the record by the end of this season, as only the hard court of US Open is left to conquer this season. The Serb has won three of US Open titles and a record of nine Australian titles.
Nole is an aggressive baseline player with a great court coverage and excellent accuracy. Djokovic is further blessed with excellent groundstrokes and wonderful serves, which can take down opposition on any surface, but it’s like they work better on hard surfaces. The World No.1 has the best winning percentage on a hard cort in the present times.
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