Dush’s Top 5 Greatest Tennis Players

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By Emily Dush, Sports Writer

 

Many sports fans know the popular tennis players of today. These are the players that have made history on and off the court or players who have proven that playing into your late 30s and after childbirth are possible. These players are Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Rafeal Nadal to name a few. 

However, there are a bunch of great players that came before them — breaking records in their own time and paving the way for the legends of today.

5. John McEncroe

McEncroe was an American tennis player who played on the men’s tour from 1977 to 1992. At age 18, McEncroe won the mixed doubles at the 1977 Wimbledon with Mary Carillo. During that same tournament, he went through the qualifying rounds to the semifinals of the main draw. After this performance, he went to Stanford University and played on the men’s team, leading them to an NCAA Championship. During his career, he won a total of 77 single titles and 78 doubles titles. McEnroe played Bjorn Borg in the 1980 Wimbledon final, and this match is dubbed as one of the greatest Wimbledon matches for its length and opponents with polar opposite personalities.

4. Michael Chang

Chang was an American tennis player who played on the men’s tour from 1987 to 2003. Chang is the youngest male tennis player to win a Grand Slam as he won the 1989 French Open title at the age of 17. During his career, he broke many records such as being the first American man since 1955 to win the French Open and the first American to win a Grand Slam since 1984. He was also the youngest player to be ranked player in the top 5 of the men’s ranking in the world.

3. Chris Evert

Evert was an American tennis player who played on the women’s tour from 1971 to 1989, and she played her first Grand Slam tournament at the age of 16. During her time on tour, she won 18 Grand Slam titles and won a total of 157 singles titles and 32 doubles titles. Evert was a pioneer in her playing style by playing from the back of the court compared to her rivals whose playing style was coming into the net. Evert’s biggest rival was undoubtedly Martina Navratilova as the two of them faced off 80 times over the course of their years including 14 Grand Slam finals. Their rivalry produced some great tennis from their different playing styles. It was always a battle of who would execute better as Evert played from the baseline and Navratilova was dominant at net.

2. Pete Sampras

Sampras was an American tennis player who played on the tour from 1988 to 2002. Sampras was known as “Pistol Pete” because of his big serve. His game consisted of serving and volleying. During his time on the tour, he won 14 Grand Slams and held the No. 1 ranking for a total of 286 weeks. Also during that time on tour, his biggest rivalries were against Andre Agassi and Patrick Rafter.

1. Steffi Graf

Graf played on the women’s tour from 1982 to 1999 — winning 22 Grand Slam titles and is one of three women to win a calendar Grand Slam, which occurs when a player wins all four grand slam titles in the same year. Graf completed this feat in 1988, and she also won the Olympic gold medal the same year — making it a Golden Slam. Additionally, Graf held the No. 1 ranking spot on the women’s tour for a total of 377 weeks. Graf is a German player known for her big forehand, nasty slice and athletic movement on the court. During her time on tour, her big rivalry was against Monica Seles where they had epic matches that made fans eager to watch the match.

These are several of the greatest players that have ever stepped onto a tennis court. They paved the way for Roger Federer, Serena Williams and the legends of today. They have set records that are meant to be broken and will push the players of today to become legends themselves. 

 

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