Tennis is a sport that garners attention year after year, on and off the court due to its rich history and rapid transformation.
The sport started as household activities and has gradually evolved to become part of national tournaments and competitions. Today, we have several international cups, grand slams, tournaments, and titles in honour of this amazing sport.
Over the years, many professionals and star players from different continents have graced this great sport with their best skills and talents trying to win one slam or title. In doing so, they have also made a name and built a rewarding career for themselves by receiving several accolades and titles for their efforts.
Before now, many people had faint ideas about the wide pool of men and women that have graced this great sport with their brilliance every year and throughout the history of tennis.
They always come up with a restricted list of accomplished tennis players out of the several winners and legends of the sport. The reason for this unintentional oversight lies in the fact that only a few men and women have repeatedly made it to the finals and won multiple titles leaving one-time winners in the shadows.
The yardstick we used in selecting the best player includes several parameters. The number of successful singles and doubles and the number of cups and slams the players own tops the list.
Their contributions off the clay court are another significant yardstick. This part includes their projects, the development of their community, and their contribution to the sport.
To this end, we intend to discuss some of the best tennis players of all time in no particular order, considering several factors on and off the court.
The Male Category
The singles category for men is probably the oldest match class in this sport's history. Wimbledon began with this category and has since produced many legends and stars. Let's look at some of the great men who have stamped their names on the sands of this beautiful sport.
The first is Roger Federer. This tennis player is not yet retired but already has a spot in the hall of fame early in his career. Federer has revolutionized the sport with his pro skills and warm personality.
In terms of style, he is armed with what many describe as a versatile yet skilful combination. Some say he is the GOAT of men's tennis.
Federer dominates all tennis courts, and his calm yet powerful touches make him a deadly force to reckon with. The swiss, who is currently the world's number nine, won his first grand slam at twenty-one. Since then, he has clinch nineteen more grand slams with more than a hundred titles, so far in his career, including the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, etc.
With this record, Roger Federer has cemented his place as one of the greatest of modern time. Roger Federer is a perfect gentleman off the games, and his effortlessness while playing made him a fans' favourite.
He has supported the establishment of some tournaments like the Laver Cup as a token of contribution towards tennis development.
Roger Federer is also a philanthropist with many projects supporting the less privileged to his name. Moreso, he routinely gets mentioned on many highest-paid sports personality lists.
Coming next is Rafael Nadal. Nadal is another tennis pro that has dominated the modern era. He is known by many for explosive touches. In the early phase of his journey, he rivalled Roger Federer, and the passion he plays with is apparent.
Nadal is also not retired at the moment as he continues to face fierce rivalry with Novak Djokovic.
Nadal's uncle helped him start his illustrious journey as a teenager and win singles and titles even as a young lad. He has dominated the clay court, evident by his record number of winning. Rafael Nadal has to his name twenty grand slams and several Australian, French and American open. Most people regard him as the GOAT of men's tennis.
Off clay, Nadal established an academy that supports young athletes. The tennis player also advertises for many popular brands and gets several endorsement deals from these companies. Rafael Nadal is a renowned philanthropist and has helped many victims of floods and disasters in Spain and beyond.
Nadal has several academies in the middle east and has featured in many celebrity videos. Recently, an asteroid was named after him. In the football world, he has helped his hometown sports club financially on several occasions and supports the football champions, Real Madrid.
In addition to the two greatest stars of this era, Novak Djokovic is another name that must come up when talking about world stars and the best of the game.
The man started his journey at a young age and won his first major title at 20 while challenging the other two great tennis players of his time.
Djokovic has made it to several finals and gathered nineteen more grand slams, Wimbledon, Australian Open, American Open, and French Open. Currently, he stands as the world's number one and has been occupying the role for a while. Djokovic has also proven to be a versatile yet ruthless force on different grounds. Novak Djokovic has won an all-time joint record 20 Grand Slam men's singles.
Novak Djokovic plays aggressively with deep and penetrating strokes as his trademark. He is also known as a very fit and athletic player earning him several advantages on many grounds. Off the clay, Djokovic is a philanthropist and has a foundation where he supports the less privileged, especially children with schooling and feeding.
Novak Djokovic also helped victims of floods and natural disasters across many continents. He plays several charity matches and has endorsement deals with telecommunication firms in Serbia and beyond. Novak Djokovic, a Christian, is also a football fan, and he supports Serbia and Milan in-country and sports club matches, respectively.
Apart from the big three, we have two legends that have been inducted into the hall of fame at different parts of their careers. One of them is Andre Agassi, who is now retired.
He was immortalized ten years ago after many successful matches. He began his journey in the eighties and won many international titles. Off the pitch, Agassi was a relatively loud individual. However, this loud aura waned over the years. In his days, Agassi was truly feared and was a force to reckon with.
The other person is Pete Sampras. He also played in the eighties and was inducted into the hall of fame thirteen years ago after winning several cups. Sampras enjoyed huge success playing matches at several tournaments except for the French Open. Other legends of this amazing sport include John McEnroe, Borg, Jimmy Connors, and Laver.
The prestigious Laver Cup was named after the legend, Rodney George Laver. John McEnroe and Borg were fierce rivals in their days. To this effect, a movie in honour of the legendary John McEnroe versus Borg rivalry was made four years ago.
Another famous rivalry is the one between Connors and John. Connors, one of the greatest ever, played for many weeks against his arch-rival in what we can describe as an illustrious tennis career.
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Top Female Tennis Players
Several top female tennis players have graced several tournaments with their exceptional talent and skill. Notable among them are the famous Williams sisters from the USA. Serena Williams, the youngest among the duo, has enjoyed unparalleled success, even overshadowing her sister.
The USA tennis player is renowned for her powerful playing style and has proceeded to win several international awards and grand slams in her career. She is known as the GOAT of women's tennis.
Her consistency particularly stands as a reason why she is a role model to many young female athletes. Off the pitch, the tennis player is known for her fashion involvement, endorsement deals, and activism. She also writes and engages in charity works.
Her sister, Venus, is another wonder on the pitch and could be classed among the greatest. Even though many people think she lives under her sister's shadow, she enjoyed some enviable success of her own. She has many grand slams and titles, including the coveted ones to her name.
Apart from these two USA wonders, other women who have made remarkable marks on the grass in enviable records include Steffi, Billie, and Martina.
Truly, weeks of practice and dedication made these names stand out from a pool of thousands of athletes. Apart from weeks of practice, determination and consistency are other factors that set them apart from the rest.
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Why Are Tennis Players Paid So much?
Answering the question: "Why are tennis players paid so much?" requires a multidimensional approach.
First and foremost, the tennis players listed above have paid their dues to show the universe their exceptional skills and talent. Tennis players like Djokovic, Nadal, Federer and Sampras have also remained consistent over the years despite injuries and other challenges. As such, a large chunk of their income comes from sponsors and adverts.
Their multiple winnings and titles at international tournaments also contribute to some of their huge wages.
On the contrary, millions of tennis players out there barely make a living from this sport. The reason for this huge disparity is that most of these players play in low-tier leagues and tournaments that lack proper sponsorship and endorsement deals.
They also play at low levels compared to the pro tennis players we mentioned above. Many people erroneously think or assume all players that participate in this game get rewarded handsomely.
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