The Most Famous


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This page contains a list of the greatest Romanian Tennis Players. The pantheon dataset contains 1,148 Tennis Players, 23 of which were born in Romania. This makes Romania the birth place of the 16th most number of Tennis Players behind Netherlands and Slovakia.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Romanian Tennis Players of all time. This list of famous Romanian 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 Romanian Tennis Players.

Photo of Ilie Năstase

1. Ilie Năstase (1946 - )

With an HPI of 70.79, Ilie Năstase is the most famous Romanian Tennis Player.  His biography has been translated into 46 different languages on wikipedia.

Ilie Theodoriu Năstase (Romanian pronunciation: [iˈli.e nəsˈtase] (listen), born 19 July 1946) is a Romanian former world No. 1 tennis player. He was ranked world No. 1 in singles from 23 August 1973 to 2 June 1974, and was the first man to hold the top position on the computerized ATP Rankings. Năstase is one of the 10 players in history who have won over 100 total ATP titles, with 64 in singles and 45 in doubles.Năstase won seven major titles: two in singles, three in men's doubles and two in mixed doubles. He also won four Masters Grand Prix year-end championship titles and seven Grand Prix Super Series titles (1970–73), the precursors to the current Masters 1000. He was the first professional sports figure to sign an endorsement contract with Nike, doing so in 1972. Năstase wrote several novels in French in the 1980s, and was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1991.

Photo of Ion Țiriac

2. Ion Țiriac (1939 - )

With an HPI of 67.49, Ion Țiriac is the 2nd most famous Romanian Tennis Player.  His biography has been translated into 20 different languages.

Ion Țiriac (Romanian pronunciation: [iˈon t͡siriˈak]; born 9 May 1939), also known as the "Brașov Bulldozer", is a Romanian businessman and former professional tennis and ice hockey player. He is the current president of the Romanian Tennis Federation.A former singles top 10 player on the ATP Tour, he is the winner of one grand slam title, the 1970 French Open in men's doubles. Țiriac was the first man to play against a woman and defeat her in one set in a sanctioned tennis tournament (against Abigail Maynard, in 1975). The highlight of his ice hockey career was participating as defenseman in the Romanian national team at the 1964 Winter Olympics. After retirement, he became active as a tennis coach, advisor and player agent in the 1980s, taking under his wing Ilie Năstase, Manuel Orantes, Adriano Panatta, Guillermo Vilas, Henri Leconte and the young Boris Becker. Later, Țiriac developed the Mutua Madrid Open ATP masters tennis tournament, which he owns. In 2013, he was elected as contributor into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. He has currently been managing French tennis player Lucas Pouille since December 2016. As a tennis player he played dramatic 5 setters against Rod Laver, Stan Smith, Jan Kodeš or Manuel Orantes. His singles record includes wins over Arthur Ashe, Stan Smith, Roscoe Tanner, Manuel Orantes, Andrés Gimeno, Adriano Panatta and Niki Pilić. He played 3 Davis Cup finals (in 1969, 1971 and 1972).According to Forbes magazine, in 2020 he was ranked as the third richest businessman from Romania.

Photo of Simona Halep

3. Simona Halep (1991 - )

With an HPI of 58.59, Simona Halep is the 3rd most famous Romanian Tennis Player.  Her biography has been translated into 55 different languages.

Simona Halep (Romanian pronunciation: [siˈmona haˈlep]; born 27 September 1991) is a Romanian professional tennis player. She has been ranked world No. 1 in singles twice between 2017 and 2019, for a total of 64 weeks, which ranks eleventh in the history of the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) rankings. Halep was the year-end No. 1 in 2017 and 2018. From 2014 through 2021, she was ranked in the top 10 for 373 consecutive weeks, the eighth-longest streak in WTA history. During this seven-year span, she finished each year ranked no lower than No. 4. She has won 22 WTA singles titles and has finished runner-up 17 times. Halep has won two Grand Slam singles titles: the 2018 French Open and the 2019 Wimbledon Championships. Halep first broke into the world's top 50 at the end of 2011, reached the top 20 in August 2013, and then the top 10 in January 2014. She won her first six WTA titles in the same calendar year in 2013, and was the first to do so since Steffi Graf in 1986. This led to her being named the WTA Most Improved Player at the end of the year. Halep reached three Grand Slam finals at the 2014 French Open, the 2017 French Open, and the 2018 Australian Open before winning her first Grand Slam singles title at the 2018 French Open against Sloane Stephens. A former junior champion there, she became just the sixth player to win both the girls' singles and women's singles titles at the French Open. Halep also finished runner-up at the 2014 WTA Finals to Serena Williams despite inflicting the worst loss of Williams' career at that point in the round robin stage. She did not defeat Williams a second time until the final of the 2019 Wimbledon Championships. Halep was the WTA Most Popular Player of the Year for two consecutive years in 2014 and 2015, as well as the WTA Fan Favorite Singles Player of the Year for three consecutive years in 2017, 2018, and 2019. She is a recipient of the Patriarchal Cross of Romania and the Order of the Star of Romania, and was named an honorary citizen of Bucharest. She is the third Romanian to be in the top 10 of the WTA rankings after Virginia Ruzici and Irina Spîrlea, and the second Romanian woman to win a Grand Slam singles title after Ruzici. She is also the first Romanian woman to be ranked No. 1 and the first Romanian player to win a Wimbledon singles title. Halep is regarded as one of the best returners on the WTA Tour, while also building her game around being aggressive and being able to hit winners from defensive positions.

Photo of Virginia Ruzici

4. Virginia Ruzici (1955 - )

With an HPI of 56.64, Virginia Ruzici is the 4th most famous Romanian Tennis Player.  Her biography has been translated into 25 different languages.

Virginia Ruzici (born 31 January 1955) is a former professional tennis player from Romania. She won the 1978 French Open singles championship.

Photo of Andrei Pavel

5. Andrei Pavel (1974 - )

With an HPI of 52.27, Andrei Pavel is the 5th most famous Romanian Tennis Player.  His biography has been translated into 27 different languages.

Andrei Pavel (born 27 January 1974) is a Romanian tennis coach and former professional tennis player. He is currently coaching the no. 60 male tennis player Marius Copil.

Photo of Sorana Cîrstea

6. Sorana Cîrstea (1990 - )

With an HPI of 48.98, Sorana Cîrstea is the 6th most famous Romanian Tennis Player.  Her biography has been translated into 31 different languages.

Sorana Mihaela Cîrstea (Romanian pronunciation: [soˈrana ˈkɨrste̯a]; born 7 April 1990) is a Romanian tennis player. In singles, she achieved a career-high ranking of world No. 21, on 12 August 2013. In doubles, her career-high ranking is No. 35, which she reached on 9 March 2009. Her biggest achievements: reaching the quarterfinals at the 2009 French Open and the final at the 2013 Rogers Cup. Over her career, Cîrstea has defeated 13 Top 10 players: Anna Chakvetadze, Sara Errani, Jelena Janković, Angelique Kerber, Petra Kvitová, Li Na, Karolína Plíšková, Francesca Schiavone, Sam Stosur, Caroline Wozniacki, Vera Zvonareva, Johanna Konta and Venus Williams.

Photo of Ruxandra Dragomir

7. Ruxandra Dragomir (1972 - )

With an HPI of 48.48, Ruxandra Dragomir is the 7th most famous Romanian Tennis Player.  Her biography has been translated into 18 different languages.

Ruxandra Dragomir Ilie (born 24 October 1972) is a retired tennis player from Romania. She won four singles and five doubles titles on the WTA Tour during her career. The right-hander reached her highest individual WTA ranking on 25 August 1997, when she became the number 15 of the world. Between 2009 and 2013 she was the president of Romanian Tennis Federation. Her best performance at a Grand Slam tournament came when she got to the quarterfinals of the 1997 French Open, defeating Sonya Jeyaseelan, Yayuk Basuki, Karina Habšudová and Nicole Arendt before losing to eventual champion Iva Majoli. Dragomir retired from professional tennis in 2005.

Photo of Victor Hănescu

8. Victor Hănescu (1981 - )

With an HPI of 48.39, Victor Hănescu is the 8th most famous Romanian Tennis Player.  His biography has been translated into 25 different languages.

Victor Hănescu (born 21 July 1981) is a former Romanian tennis player. His career-high singles ranking was world no. 26.

Photo of Monica Niculescu

9. Monica Niculescu (1987 - )

With an HPI of 48.10, Monica Niculescu is the 9th most famous Romanian Tennis Player.  Her biography has been translated into 31 different languages.

Monica Niculescu (born 25 September 1987) is a Romanian professional tennis player. She reached her career-high singles ranking of world No. 28 in February 2012, and has three singles titles to her credit on the WTA Tour since she turned professional in May 2002, the last one coming at the end of 2016, at the Luxembourg Open. Although she was a steady top-30 player for several years and enjoyed relative success in singles, she is also a doubles specialist, where she achieved a career-high ranking of No. 11, in April 2018, after partnering with Grand Slam winner and Olympic medalist Andrea Sestini Hlaváčková at Indian Wells. Her best doubles result up to date is reaching Grand Slam doubles final at Wimbledon in 2017, alongside Chan Hao-ching. She was also runner-up at three Premier Mandatory events: the 2015 Wuhan Open, with fellow Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu, the 2016 Rogers Cup, with former world No. 1, Simona Halep, and the 2017 Cincinnati Open, partnering former world No. 1 in doubles, Hsieh Su-wei. She is popular among spectators and other players alike for her unconventional style of play, employing an extreme grip as well as two hands for both her forehand and backhand. She is also best known for her trademark forehand-slice, her winning demeanor and her exceptional shot-making abilities at the net. Niculescu currently holds the Open Era record of highest first serve percentage in a year (91%-in 2011, tied with Sara Errani).[1] Niculescu has defeated many top-ten opponents throughout her career, having 25 wins against top-ten opponents to date.Niculescu was born in Slatina, Romania, but moved to Bucharest when she was four. She is currently coached by Călin Stelian Ciorbagiu.

Photo of Irina-Camelia Begu

10. Irina-Camelia Begu (1990 - )

With an HPI of 47.68, Irina-Camelia Begu is the 10th most famous Romanian Tennis Player.  Her biography has been translated into 29 different languages.

Irina-Camelia Begu (born 26 August 1990) is a Romanian professional tennis player. She reached a career-high singles ranking of World No. 22 in the world, in August 2016. Two years later, she reached her highest WTA doubles ranking, also No. 22. Begu has won four singles titles and nine doubles titles on the WTA Tour. She also has won one singles title on the WTA 125K series, as well as, 12 singles and 19 doubles titles on the ITF Circuit. As a junior, she reached semifinal at the 2007 Wimbledon Championships, partnering with Oksana Kalashnikova. Later, as a senior, she continued with Grand Slam doubles success. She reached the semifinal at the 2018 Australian Open and quarterfinals of the 2017 French Open and 2018 Wimbledon Championships. In singles, she has the round of 16 as her best Grand Slam result at the 2015 Australian Open and 2016 French Open. In singles, she reached one Premier final at the 2014 Kremlin Cup, but lost to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Her other significant results in singles include two quarterfinals of the Premier Mandatory-level Madrid Open in 2015 and 2016 and semifinal of the Premier 5 Italian Open in 2016. In doubles, she has never won higher level tournament than International, but reached the final of the Premier-5 Wuhan Open in 2015, as well as, two Premier-level finals at the Kremlin Cup in 2015 and Eastbourne International in 2018.

Pantheon has 23 people classified as tennis players born between 1939 and 1994. Of these 23, 23 (100.00%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living tennis players include Ilie Năstase, Ion Țiriac, and Simona Halep.

Living Tennis Players

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