The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Tennis Players of all time. This list of famous Tennis Players is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Tennis Players.
With an HPI of 68.15, Rod Laver is the most famous Tennis Player. His biography has been translated into 54 different languages on wikipedia.
Rodney George Laver (born 9 August 1938) is an Australian former tennis player. Laver was the world number 1 ranked professional in some sources in 1964, in all sources from 1965 to 1969 and in some sources in 1970, spanning four years before and three years after the start of the Open Era in 1968. He was also ranked the world number 1 amateur in 1961 by Lance Tingay and 1962 by Tingay and Ned Potter. Laver's 198 singles titles are the most in tennis history. This included his all-time men's record of 10 or more titles per year for seven consecutive years (1964–70). He excelled on all of the court surfaces of his time: grass, clay, hard, carpet, and wood. Laver won 11 Grand Slam singles titles, though he was banned from playing those tournaments for the five years prior to the Open Era. Laver is the only player, male or female, to win a Grand Slam (winning all four major titles in the same calendar year) twice in singles, in 1962 and 1969; the latter remains the only time a man has done so in the Open Era. He is the first male player out of two to be winner and runner up at all four grand slams, followed by Roger Federer. He is the second of four male players to win each major title twice (preceded by Roy Emerson and followed by Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal). Laver also won eight Pro Slam titles, including the "pro Grand Slam" in 1967, and he contributed to five Davis Cup titles for Australia during an age when the Davis Cup was deemed as significant as the four majors.The Laver Cup tournament and the Rod Laver Arena are named after him.
With an HPI of 62.77, Margaret Court is the 2nd most famous Tennis Player. Her biography has been translated into 53 different languages.
Margaret Court (née Smith; born 16 July 1942), also known as Margaret Smith Court, is an Australian retired former world No. 1 tennis player and a Christian minister. Considered one of the greatest tennis players of all time, her 24 major singles titles and total of 64 major titles (including 19 Grand Slam women's doubles and 21 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles) are the most in tennis history. Court was born in Albury, New South Wales. In 1960, aged 17, she won the first of seven consecutive Australian Open singles titles. She completed a Career Grand Slam at the age of 21 with her victory at Wimbledon in 1963. Taking a brief hiatus in 1966 and 1967, Court played as an amateur until the advent of the Open Era in 1968. She completed a Grand Slam by winning all four major singles titles in 1970, part of a record six consecutive major singles victories. She gave birth to her first child in 1972, but returned to tennis later in the year and won three Grand Slam singles titles in 1973. She took similar breaks after her second and third children were born, retiring from the game in 1977. Court's all-surfaces (hard, clay, grass and carpet) singles career-winning percentage of 91.74 is the best of all time according to the Sporteology website. Her Open era singles career winning percentage of 91.02% (608–60) is unequalled, as is her Open era winning percentage of 91.67% (11–1) in Grand Slam singles finals. Her win–loss performance in all Grand Slam singles tournaments was 90.00% (207–23). She was 95.24% (60–3) at the Australian Open, 89.80% (44–5) at the French Open, 85.00% (51–9) at Wimbledon, and 89.66% (52–6) at the US Open. She also shares the Open era record for most Grand Slam singles titles as a mother (3) with Kim Clijsters. In 1973, Court set the record for most singles titles won in a single Grand Slam event, with 11 Australian Open wins. This record was surpassed by Rafael Nadal in 2019 when he won his 12th French Open title, but remains a women's record. Court is one of only three players in history (all women) to have won the "Grand Slam Boxed Set", consisting of every Grand Slam title (the singles, doubles and mixed doubles). She is the only player in tennis history to complete a Multiple Grand Slam set, twice, in all three disciplines. Uniquely, she won all 12 as an amateur and then, after a period of retirement, returned as a professional to win all 12 again. Court is also one of only six tennis players to win a Multiple Grand Slam set in two disciplines, matching Roy Emerson, Martina Navratilova, Frank Sedgman, Doris Hart, and Serena Williams. She also won the Fed Cup with Australia on four occasions. The International Tennis Hall of Fame states "For sheer strength of performance and accomplishment there has never been a tennis player to match (her)." In 2010, the Herald Sun called her the greatest female tennis player of all time, a view supported by Evonne Goolagong Cawley.Having grown up as a Roman Catholic, Court became associated with Pentecostalism in the 1970s and became a Christian minister in that tradition in 1991. She later founded Margaret Court Ministries.
With an HPI of 59.75, Roy Emerson is the 3rd most famous Tennis Player. His biography has been translated into 39 different languages.
Roy Stanley Emerson (born 3 November 1936) is an Australian former tennis player who won 12 Grand Slam singles titles and 16 Grand Slam doubles titles, for a total of 28 Grand Slam titles. He is the only male player to have completed a career Grand Slam (winning titles at all four Grand Slam events) in both singles and doubles, and the first of four male players to complete a double career Grand Slam in singles (later followed by Rod Laver, Novak Djokovic, and Rafael Nadal). His 28 major titles are the all-time record for a male player. He was ranked world No. 1 amateur in 1961 by Ned Potter, 1964 by Potter, Lance Tingay and an Ulrich Kaiser panel of 14 experts and 1965 by Tingay, Joseph McCauley, Sport za Rubezhom and an Ulrich Kaiser panel of 16 experts.Emerson was the first male player to win 12 singles majors. He held that record for 30 years until it was passed by Pete Sampras in 2000. He also held the record of six Australian Open men's singles titles until 2019 when Novak Djokovic won his seventh title. Emerson won five of those titles consecutively (1963–67), a still-standing record. Emerson is one of only five tennis players ever to win multiple slam sets in two disciplines. Emerson was a member of a record eight Davis Cup–winning teams between 1959 and 1967. Unlike several of his contemporaries, he chose to remain an amateur player and did not turn pro during the pre-Open Era.
With an HPI of 56.56, Ken Rosewall is the 4th most famous Tennis Player. His biography has been translated into 37 different languages.
Kenneth Robert Rosewall (born 2 November 1934) is an Australian former world top-ranking amateur and professional tennis player. He won a record 23 tennis Majors in singles, including 8 Grand Slam singles titles and, before the Open Era, a record 15 Pro Slam titles; overall, he reached a record 35 Major finals. He won the Pro Grand Slam in 1963. Rosewall won a record 24 major men's doubles titles. He won 9 grand slam titles in men's doubles with a career men's doubles grand slam and also won 15 Pro Slam men's doubles titles. Rosewall had a renowned backhand and enjoyed a long career at the highest levels from the early 1950s to the early 1970s. Rosewall was ranked the world No. 1 tennis player by multiple sources from 1961 to 1964, multiple sources in 1970 and Rino Tommasi in 1971 and 1972. Rosewall was first ranked in the top 20 in 1952 and last ranked in the top 20 in 1977. Rosewall is the only player to have simultaneously held Pro Grand Slam titles on three different surfaces (1962–1963). At the 1971 Australian Open he became the first male player during the open era to win a Grand Slam tournament without dropping a set. Rosewall won world professional championship tours in 1963, 1964, and the WCT titles in 1971 and 1972. A natural left-hander, Rosewall was taught by his father to play right-handed. He developed a powerful and effective backhand but never had anything more than an accurate but relatively soft serve. He was 1.70 m (5 ft 7 in) tall, weighed 67 kg (148 lb) and was ironically nicknamed "Muscles" by his fellow-players because of his lack of them. He was, however, fast, agile, and tireless, with a deadly volley. The father of two and grandfather of five, Rosewall now lives in northern Sydney.
With an HPI of 55.10, John Newcombe is the 5th most famous Tennis Player. His biography has been translated into 40 different languages.
John David Newcombe AO OBE (born 23 May 1944) is an Australian former professional tennis player. He is one of the few men to have attained a world No. 1 ranking in both singles and doubles. At the majors, he won seven singles titles, a former record 17 men's doubles titles, and two mixed doubles titles. He also contributed to five Davis Cup titles for Australia during an age when the Davis Cup was deemed as significant as the majors. Tennis magazine rated him the 10th best male player of the period 1965–2005.
With an HPI of 50.34, Jack Crawford is the 6th most famous Tennis Player. His biography has been translated into 18 different languages.
John Herbert Crawford, (22 March 1908 – 10 September 1991) was an Australian tennis player during the 1930s. He was the World No. 1 amateur for 1933, during which year he won the Australian Open, the French Open, and Wimbledon, and was runner-up at the U.S. Open in five sets, thus missing the Grand Slam by one set that year. He also won the Australian Open in 1931, 1932, and 1935. He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1979.
With an HPI of 48.17, Lew Hoad is the 7th most famous Tennis Player. His biography has been translated into 21 different languages.
Lewis Alan Hoad (23 November 1934 – 3 July 1994) was an Australian tennis player whose career ran from 1950 to 1973. Hoad won four Major singles tournaments as an amateur (the Australian Championships, French Championships and two Wimbledons). He was a member of the Australian team that won the Davis Cup four times between 1952 and 1956. Hoad turned professional in July 1957. He won the Kooyong Tournament of Champions in 1958 and the Forest Hills Tournament of Champions in 1959. He won the Ampol Open Trophy world series of tournaments in 1959, which included the Kooyong tournament that concluded in early January 1960. Hoad's men's singles tournament victories spanned from 1951 to 1971. Hoad was ranked the world No. 1 amateur in 1953 by Harry Hopman, by Noel Brown and by the editors of Tennis de France, and also in 1956 by Lance Tingay, by Ned Potter, and by Tennis de France. He was ranked the world No. 1 professional for 1959 in Kramer's Ampol point ranking system, and by Robert Barnes (Kramer's Australian manager). Serious back problems plagued Hoad throughout his career, possibly caused by a weight-lifting exercise which he devised in 1954. The back injury became particularly intense following the 1956 Wimbledon championships, continued periodically, and led to his semi-retirement from tennis in 1967. Afterwards he made sporadic appearances at tournaments, enticed by the advent of the Open Era in 1968 and was seeded No. 7 for the 1968 Wimbledon Championships and seeded No. 12 for the 1970 French Open. Following his retirement in 1973, Hoad and his wife Jenny Staley Hoad constructed, owned and operated a tennis resort, Lew Hoad's Campo de Tenis and Lew Hoad Tennis Village in Fuengirola, Spain, near Málaga. Hoad died of leukaemia on 3 July 1994.
With an HPI of 47.74, Evonne Goolagong Cawley is the 8th most famous Tennis Player. Her biography has been translated into 42 different languages.
Evonne Fay Goolagong Cawley (née Goolagong; born 31 July 1951) is an Australian former world No. 1 tennis player. Goolagong was one of the world's leading players in the 1970s and early 1980s. At the age of 19, she won the French Open singles and the Australian Open doubles championships (the latter with Margaret Court). She won the women's singles tournament at Wimbledon in 1971,. In 1980, she became the first mother to win Wimbledon for 66 years. Goolagong went on to win 14 Grand Slam tournament titles: seven in singles (four at the Australian Open, two at Wimbledon and one at the French Open), six in women's doubles, and one in mixed doubles. She represented Australia in three Fed Cup competitions, winning the title in 1971, 1973 and 1974, and was Fed Cup captain for three consecutive years. After retiring from professional tennis in 1983, Goolagong played in senior invitational competitions, endorsed a variety of products, worked as a touring professional, and held sports-related leadership roles. Goolagong was named Australian of the Year in 1971. She was appointed as a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1972 and as an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1982. Goolagong was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1985, the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1988, and the Aboriginal Sporting Hall of Fame in 1989. She leads the Goolagong National Development Camp for Indigenous boys and girls, which encourages Indigenous youth to stay in school.
With an HPI of 47.26, Tony Roche is the 9th most famous Tennis Player. His biography has been translated into 21 different languages.
Anthony Dalton Roche AO MBE (born 17 May 1945) is an Australian former professional tennis player. A native of Tarcutta, Roche played junior tennis in the New South Wales regional city of Wagga Wagga. He won one Grand Slam singles title, the 1966 French Open at Roland Garros, and 15 Grand Slam doubles titles. In 1968, Roche won the WCT/NTL combined professional championships in men's singles by winning the final event of the season at Madison Square Garden. He was ranked World No. 2 by Lance Tingay of The Daily Telegraph in 1969. He won the U.S. Pro Championships in 1970 at Longwood in Boston. Roche won the New South Wales Open twice, in 1969 and 1976. He won a key Davis Cup singles match in 1977. He also coached multi-Grand Slam winning world No. 1s Ivan Lendl, Patrick Rafter, Roger Federer and Lleyton Hewitt as well as former World No. 4 Jelena Dokic.
With an HPI of 46.74, Norman Brookes is the 10th most famous Tennis Player. His biography has been translated into 18 different languages.
Sir Norman Everard Brookes (14 November 1877 – 28 September 1968) was an Australian tennis player. During his career he won three Grand Slam singles titles; Wimbledon in 1907 and 1914 (the first non-British individual to do so) and the Australasian Championships in 1911. Brookes was part of the Australasian Davis Cup team that won the title on five occasions. The Australian Open men's singles trophy, the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup, is named in his honour. After his active playing career Brookes became president of the Lawn Tennis Association of Australia.
Pantheon has 74 people classified as tennis players born between 1867 and 1999. Of these 74, 56 (75.68%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living tennis players include Rod Laver, Margaret Court, and Roy Emerson. The most famous deceased tennis players include Jack Crawford, Lew Hoad, and Norman Brookes. As of April 2022, 7 new tennis players have been added to Pantheon including Beryl Penrose, Gail Chanfreau, and Wilberforce Eaves.
1938 - Present
1942 - Present
1936 - Present
1934 - Present
1944 - Present
1951 - Present
1945 - Present
1940 - Present
1938 - Present
1933 - Present
1927 - Present
1981 - Present
1908 - 1991
1934 - 1994
1877 - 1968
1936 - 2020
1929 - 2007
1930 - 2021
1930 - 2017
1918 - 1999
1899 - 1966
1918 - 2015
1916 - 2001
1867 - 1920
Which Tennis Players were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 16 most globally memorable Tennis Players since 1700.