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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Top Ten Male Players in Wimbledon Tennis

Wimbledon is one of the four grand slam tournaments in tennis and traditionally it is the most prestigious tennis tournament in the world. In fact, Wimbledon is the oldest among the grand slam tournaments and it created some of the early greats of the game who had huge contribution to the development of world tennis. Here, I attempted to make a list of top ten male tennis players of Wimbledon. Before taking you through the list, I would like to tell you that the list is based on my own opinion and you do not need to agree with me on this list. I would rather appreciate if you share your opinions regarding the list in the comment section. Another thing is that I gave preference to the players’ achievements in both singles and doubles events while making the list. Let us now go through the list:

Pete Sampras

The American legend of male tennis is the most successful player at Wimbledon in Open Era with 7 singles titles to his credit. The only other player, who won 7 Wimbledon singles titles, is William Renshaw. Sampras won 14 grand slam titles during his illustrious career. So, you can see half of his total grand slam titles came at Wimbledon, and thus, making him one of the greatest players in the history of Wimbledon. One of the most prolific servers of all time, Sampras won his first three Wimbledon titles in three consecutive years spanning from 1993 to 1995, but failed to win the 1996 Wimbledon. Last four titles also came in four straight years (1997-2000). However, Pete Sampras could never win any doubles title in a grand slam tournament.

Roger Federer

Roger Federer is definitely one of the greatest tennis players of all time. Even there are many who believe that he is the greatest male player the game has ever seen. Federer has recently clinched his 14th grand slam title, and thus, equaling Pete Sampras’ record 14 grand slam titles. An all rounder in terms of technique, Federer has won 5 out of his 14 grand slam titles at Wimbledon and all those titles came in consecutive years from 2003-2007. Though he reached the 6th straight Wimbledon final in 2008, the Swiss legend lost to his arch-rival Rafael Nadal in an epic final. Only William Renshaw and Sampras (both 7 titles) have more Wimbledon titles than Federer. So, there is no doubt, Federer is one of the most notable champions of this British grass-court grand slam tournament.

William Renshaw

I thought I should have placed William Renshaw at the top of the list. In fact, the British tennis legend is perhaps the most successful male tennis player of Wimbledon with record 7 singles and 7 doubles titles to his credit. The reason I put him at no. 3 behind Sampras and Federer is the time Renshaw played the game. There is no doubt, the game was not as much competitive in his era as it has been in Open era which Sampras and Federer belong to. Still, William Renshaw is considered to be one of the all time greats of Wimbledon. In fact, William Renshaw is one of the stars of the game’s primitive era. He won 6 out of his 7 Wimbledon titles in a row from 1881 to 1886. Even though he could not win any grand slam title other than Wimbledon, Renshaw deserves to be one of the great tennis players of all time.

Bjorn Borg

Bjorn Borg may be best known for his unprecedented success at French Open, the only clay-court grand slam tournament, but the Swede is also one of the most successful performers at Wimbledon. Out of his 11 career grand slam singles titles, Borg won 5 at Wimbledon, while the other 6 titles coming at French Open. In fact, he comes third in terms of winning Wimbledon singles title in Open era. A powerful baseliner, Bjorn Borg could produce topspin in his ground strokes and used to play double handed backhand. Other than Federer, Bjorn Borg is the only other player in Open era who won 5 Wimbledon singles titles in consecutive years (1976-1980). Though he could not win any title in Australian Open or US Open, Borg is considered to be a legend of Wimbledon as well as French Open grand slam tournaments.

Lawrence Doherty

Lawrence Doherty, along with his elder brother Reginald Doherty, dominated Wimbledon as well as world tennis at the turn of the 20th century. In fact, the Doherty brothers won 9 Wimbledon titles between themselves in the space of 10 years (1897-1906). Lawrence, nicknamed Little Do, won all of his 5 Wimbledon titles in consecutive years (1902-1906). Moreover, Lawrence Doherty, who became the first tennis player to win a grand slam tournament outside of his country, won 8 doubles titles at Wimbledon pairing his brother, and thus, forming the most successful pair in Wimbledon men’s doubles event.

Reginald Doherty

The elder brother of Lawrence, Reginald Doherty is another successful male tennis player in history of Wimbledon with 4 consecutive titles from 1897 to 1900. Inspired by his father, Reginald and his younger brother Lawrence started playing tennis in order to keep themselves healthy and fit. The rest was history as the two brothers formed one of the most dominant partnerships in his history of Wimbledon men’s doubles event as they won 8 Wimbledon doubles titles. Both the brothers attended Cambridge University and represented the Lawn tennis club of the university. It is said that Reginald Doherty was unstoppable until he started to become ill. Still, there is no doubt, Reginald is one of the most prolific male tennis player in the history of Wimbledon.

Anthony Wilding

Mostly known as Tony Wilding, the former world no. 1 is one of the most successful players in the history of Wimbledon tennis. During his short career, Tony Wilding won 4 singles titles in consecutive years starting from 1910 to 1913 besides 4 doubles titles at Wimbledon. The New Zealander also has 2 singles and a doubles title in Australian Open. All his professional successes came in the eve of World War I, and had he not lost his life in the war, Wilding could have won more titles in tennis. Alike the Doherty brothers, Tony also attended Cambridge University and his skill of tennis was improved while representing the Cambridge University Lawn Tennis Club.

Rod Laver

Rod Laver is one of those very few tennis greats who played the game both pre and post Open Era period. Four out of his 11 grand slam singles titles came at Wimbledon, and unlike many other Wimbledon greats, his 4 Wimbledon singles titles did not come in consecutive years. In fact, after winning the first two titles in 1961 and 1962, Rod Laver took 6 years to win his next Wimbledon title. It shows that the Australian was a dominant figure in world tennis not for few years. In fact, Rod Laver was the world no. 1 of men’s tennis for seven consecutive years starting from 1964 to 1970.

Moreover, the Australian great is the only tennis player who won all four grand slam titles in a single year (1969) in Open era, and thus, achieving a calendar year grand slam. Most importantly, Laver earned this achievement twice in his career, first as an amateur in 1962, and then as a professional in 1969 during Open Era. So, Laver is not only an all time great of Wimbledon, he is, in fact, one of the greatest ever male tennis player of all time.

Bill Tilden

Not only one of the greatest tennis players of all time, Bill Tilden is also considered to be one of most influential and dominant figures of tennis. Before 1950, Tilden was considered to be the greatest ever tennis player. The American’s three voyages to United Kingdom by ship were proven to be three successful Wimbledon triumphs in 1920, 1921 and 1930, and thus, becoming the first American to win Wimbledon title. You might say that he won only 3 titles at Wimbledon, but his successful entries into Wimbledon came at a time when tennis players rarely toured other countries to take part in overseas tournaments, and thus, changing the image of tennis. Tilden shares the record 7 US Open singles titles with William Larned and Richard D. Sears. Bill Tilden also won a doubles title at Wimbledon.

John McEnroe

Another tennis great John McEnroe has been included in the list mainly because of his successes both in men’s singles and doubles events at Wimbledon. McEnroe won 3 singles and five doubles titles in this grass-court grand slam tournament. There is no other male tennis player who has got similar success in both singles and doubles at Wimbledon in Open Era. Along with Peter Fleming, John McEnroe formed a dominating pair in doubles as they won 57 men’s doubles titles together and all his Wimbledon doubles titles came along with Fleming. Overall, McEnroe deserves a place in this list as one of the most notable Wimbledon champions.

There are some other players who could have made the list by their own. Here, I am giving a list of some of those great players:

Fred Perry, Boris Becker, Wilfred Baddeley, Arthur Gore, René Lacoste, Jimmy Connors, Roy Emerson and Stefan Edberg.

1 comment:

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