rec.sport.tennis
Top Ten Players - All Time and Open Era
Rec.sport.tennis spends much of its time arguing, and rearguing, about the greatest players ever,
and how they should be ranked.  These discussions are endless precisely because no one can agree
on the criteria to rank the players, and everyone is convinced their criteria should be used.  Here,
in one place (as opposed to google archives) are the all-time lists of rst's regulars, along with their
ranking methodology.  This page was last updated in
December 2005.  Up to six lists:

Top Ten Men (All-time)
Top Ten Men (Open Era)
Top Ten Men (Peak)
Top Ten Women (All-time)
Top Ten Women (Open Era)
Top Ten Women (Peak)
Mikko Ämmälä:  Peak open era modern racket tiers based on combination of domination and efficiency.
Steve Jaros:  General criteria - winning lots of slams (winning W is a must for top 5 inclusion) and/or
winning all of them, with some intangible modifications.

Peak defined as each player at the very best tourney form for one Championship of the Universe
tournament on some hypothetical totally neutral hybrid surface, *but* that form using the equipment
(wood or modern racket) that the players actually used:
Men Open Era

1  Laver
2 Borg
3 Sampras
4 Agassi
5 McEnroe
6 Connors
7 Federer
8 Becker
9 Edberg
10 Lendl
Women Open Era

1  Navratilova
2 Evert
3 Graf
4 Smith Court
5 King
6 Seles
7 Serena
8 Venus
9 Goolagong
10 Sanchez-Vicario
Whisper:  Clearly the 2 biggest slams are Wim/USO, so players who do well here should be rated
highly - my lists put an emphasis on these 2 slams, but also a couple of wildcards to award sustained
excellence in other slams & some intangible factors.

'Peak' to me means player most likely to win a match, taking into account skill, talent, mental
toughness, experience etc.
Men All-time

1 Sampras
2 Laver
3 Borg
4 Tilden
5 Perry
6 McEnroe
7 Hoad
8 Budge
9 Connors
10 Lacoste
Men Open Era

1 Sampras
2 Borg
3 McEnroe
4 Connors
5 Federer
6 Becker
7 Edberg
8 Lendl
9 Agassi
10 Wilander
Women All-time

1  Graf
2  Wills Moody
3  Navratilova
4  Evert
5  Smith Court
6  King
7  Lenglen
8  Bueno
9  Seles
10 Serena
Women Open Era

1 Graf
2 Navratilova
3 Evert
4 Court
5 King
6 Seles
7 Serena
8 Venus
9 Hingis
10 Henin
Yury aka Ukrfan:
Men All-time

1  Gonzales
1  Laver
3  Borg
4  Rosewall
5  Sampras
6  Lendl
7  Tilden
8  McEnroe
9  Budge
10  Connors
Men Open Era

1  Borg
2  Sampras
3  Lendl
4  McEnroe
5  Connors
6  Laver
7  Agassi
8  Becker
9  Wilander
10  Edberg
Women All-time

1  Navratilova
2  Graf
3  Wills Moody
4  Evert
5  Smith Court
6  Lenglen
7  King
8  Connolly
9  Seles
10  Serena
Women Open Era

1  Navratilova
2  Graf
3  Evert
4  King
5  Seles
6  Serena
7  Hingis
8  Smith Court
9  Goolagong
10  Davenport
Raja: Top 10 men based on completeness + dominance.  Zero weight given to Davis Cup or doubles.  
Men All-time

1   Laver
2  Borg
3  Lendl
4  Gonzalez
5  Sampras
6  Tilden
7  McEnroe
8  Budge
9  Rosewall
10  Connors
Women All-time

1  Graf
2  Wills Moody
3  Navratilova
4  Smith Court
5  Evert
6  Lenglen
7  Dod
8  Connolly
9  King
10 Seles
Men Open Era (1974-)

1   Borg
2  Lendl
3  Sampras
4  McEnroe
5  Connors
6  Agassi
7  Wilander
8  Becker
9  Federer
10 Edberg
Women Open Era (1974-)

1   Graf
2  Navratilova
3  Evert
4  Seles
5  Serena
6  Goolagong
7  Hingis
8  Venus
9  Sanchez-Vicario
10 Davenport
Men All-time

1   Sampras
2  Gonzales
3  Laver
4  Borg
5  Tilden
6  McEnroe
7  Lendl
8  Connors
9  Budge
10  Agassi
Men Open Era

1  Sampras
2  Borg
3  McEnroe
4  Lendl
5  Connors
6  Agassi
7  Federer
8  Becker
9  Wilander
10 Edberg
Women Open Era

1  Graf
2  Navratilova
3  Evert
4  Serena
5  Seles
6  Hingis
7  Venus
8  Goolagong
9  Smith Court
10  King
Men Peak (post 1974)

1  Federer
2 Sampras
3 Agassi
4 Becker
5 Stich
6 Edberg
7 Borg*
8 McEnroe*
9 Connors*
10 Lendl

*wood/metal rackets
at peak
Women Peak (post 1974)

1  Serena
2 Venus
3 Henin-Hardenne
4 Sharapova
5 Davenport
6 Capriati
7 Clijsters
8 Seles
9 Graf
10 Navratilova
Men Peak All-time

1 Sampras
2 McEnroe
3 Hoad
4 Laver
5 Federer
6 Gonzales
7 Borg
8 Becker
9 Connors
10 Agassi
Women Peak All-time

1 Graf
2 Henin
3 Seles
4 Navratilova
5 Serena
6 King
7 Smith Court
8 Connolly
9 Moody
10 Venus
SV:  In an alternate universe, players from all eras (at their respective bests) enter a tournament
on a fairly neutral surface, e.g. medium hardcourt, how would you seed the players.
Men

1   Sampras
2  Becker
3  McEnroe
Men Peak (Open Era)

Tier 1  McEnroe/Federer

Tier 2  Sampras/Lendl

Tier 3 Agassi/Becker
          Wilander/Edberg
Topspin: Criteria - lots of slams get you in the discussion, after that it is about the nature and
pattern of the slams won, the competition, the dominance and consistency shown, DC record where
appropriate, doubles where appropriate.  All-time criteria - slams won, references by other players. A
wider range because inter-era comparisons become so difficult.

At peak, all the greats reach performances that are just about perfect, and there is nothing to choose
between them. Results will be entirely about match-ups and surfaces. Maintaining a 'peak' for an
extended period is what distinguishes really great players.
Men All-time (Tier 1)

Tilden
Crawford
Perry
Budge
Kramer
Gonzales
Hoad
Laver
Emerson
Borg
Sampras
Women All-time (Tier 1)

Lenglen
Moody
Connolly
Bueno
Court
Graf
Navratilova
Men Open Era

Tier 1  Laver/ Borg

Tier 2  Sampras/Connors
McEnroe/Lendl

Tier 3  Agassi/Becker/
Newcombe/Edberg/
Wilander
Women Open Era

Tier 1  Graf/Navratilova/
Court

Tier 2  Evert

Tier 3  Seles/King

Tier 4  Serena/Venus/
Goolagong
Men (peak)

1 year peak - McEnroe, Federer
2 year peak - Federer
5 year peak - Borg
10 year peak - Laver/Sampras
15+ year peak - Gonzales/Laver
                        Connors
                        Rosewall/Agassi
Women (peak)

Graf
ahonkan: I am extrapolating the careers of the current players (Fed, Nadal, Justine, etc.).  I am
definitely not a slamist and value versatility, so those players who win more titles, YEC's, DC's and
doubles (e.g. Nav, Mac) rank much higher for me than the one-note specialists (Sampras, Graf).  I
have tried to give some weightage to competition faced, which again downgrades Sampras & Graf and
upgrades Lendl, Nav.
Men All-time

1   Federer
2  Laver
3  Borg
4  McEnroe
5  Lendl
6  Gonzales
7  Budge
8  Rosewall
9  Sampras
10  Connors
Women All-time

1  Navratilova
2  Moody
3  Lenglen
4  Connolly
5  Graf
6  Evert
7  King
8  Smith Court
9  Serena
10 Seles
Men Open Era

1  Federer
2  Laver
3  Borg
4  McEnroe
5  Lendl
6  Sampras
7  Connors
8  Wilander
9  Agassi
10 Courier
Women Open Era

1   Navratilova
2  Graf
3  Evert
4  King
5  Smith Court
6  Serena
7  Seles
8  Davenport
9  Hingis
10 Mandlikova