Greatest Grand Slam players 1974 - 2015
Sampras and Federer clearly dominated the Grand Slam tournaments like no other player did since 1974. They hold the highest total Grand Slam titles, are the only players with current record titles at multiple Grand Slam tournaments and are among the best as to multiple yearly slams and successive years with slam titles. Roland Garros is the only Grand Slam tournament that could escape their stranglehold. In 1981, Borg set a record there that only three decades later has been broken by Nadal. None of the clay kings, however, currently holds a record total titles at any of the other slams. In 1980, Borg had realised a record total titles at Wimbledon, but both Sampras and Federer improved his record.
Top 10 of Grand Slam players
At Roland Garros, Federer clearly performed better than Sampras, whose best result is 1 semifinal. At the Australian Open, Federer collected twice as much titles as Sampras. At the US Open and Wimbledon, both players share the record. Might the Swiss be the best all-rounder, and Sampras the best serve&volley-er?
Over to the greatest Roland Garros champions, Borg and Nadal. Only Borg dominated another slam tournament. With Nadal still going and already 3 Grand Slam titles ahead of Borg, the Spaniard now ties Sampras at the No. 2 spot on the Grand Slam front.
Ranks No. 5 to 9 remain subject to debate. The levels in this Top 10 are rather clear though: 4 players are outstanding, the differences between thef 6 other players are less pronounced.
5. Agassi, McEnroe, Lendl, Djokovic
9. Connors, Wilander
To boil down from all 48 Grand Slam winners to this Top 10, we applied these criteria :
- total Grand Slam titles
- titles per Grand Slam tournament
- reaching or winning multiple finals in 1 calendar year
- total and successive years with slam titles
- efficiency rates in Grand Slam finals (titles/finals)
Below you'll find high-level facts & figures on each criterion plus links to more detailled topics. For a Top 10 per tournament, check the 4 first items in our leftnavigation menu.
Total Grand Slam titles
Based exclusively on Grand Slam titles, an initial Top 10 of greatest Grand Slam players would be :
|5.||Connors, Lendl, Agassi , Djokovic||
Only 4 players collected 10 titles or more, a quartet that will turn out to be among the best for all criteria mentionned above.
More details in our overview of Grand Slam finals 1974-2015.
Titles per Grand Slam tournament
Together, 3 players of the quartet with 10 titles or more own the highest total titles at 3 Grand Slam tournaments : Sampras, Nadal and Federer. Three outsiders share a record with them. This is the situation in February 2015 :
- Djokovic owns the exclusive Australian Open record
- Nadal owns the exclusive Roland Garros record
- Sampras and Federer share 2 records : the Wimbledon record with Federer and the US Open record with Federer and Connors
The Top 3 at each tournament consists of a selection of these 6 players, joined only by Borg, Kuerten, Lendl and Wilander who all reach Top 3 at Roland Garros. Borg makes it to the Top 3 at a 2nd Grand Slam tournament. More details in our overview of titles per tournament since 1974.
With his 9 Roland Garros titles, Nadal owns the highest total titles at any slam tournament. Federer and Sampras own 7 titles at Wimbledon. Borg is the only player with 6 titles. Of these 4, Nadal is the only one who didn't win another slam 5 times (yet). He did collect titles at all 4 Grand Slam tournaments though, which Borg and Sampras never could.
Federer is the only player who won 5 straight titles at 2 slams. Borg won 5 straight titles at 1 slam and another 4 straight titles at another slam. Nadal won 5 straight titles at Roland Garros. Sampras' longest tournament series lasted 4 years. Djokovic, McEnroe & Lendl won 3 consecutive titles at 1 of the 4 slam tournaments.
Multiple titles & finals per year
Winning 2 or more slam titles in 1 year is a clear sign of dominating the year, as there are only 4 Grand Slam tournaments and there's never been a year with 2 players winning each 2 slams. Time to compare all players who reached or won multiple slam finals in a calendar year :
- only 3 players won multiple slams in 3 or more years : Federer (5 years), Sampras (4) and Borg (3).
- Federer is the only player who won 3 times a triple slam/year and the only player who reached all 4 finals in 1 year.
Total & successive years with slam titles
Courtesy to his 2014 Roland Garros title, Nadal is ahead of the other players, with slam titles in 10 successive years. Sampras, Federer and Borg won at least one Grand Slam title for 8 consecutive years. Lendl completes this Top 5 with 4 consecutive years.
As to total years, Nadal now ties Sampras with 10 years, 1 year more than Federer, who in turn is 1 year ahead of Borg. Agassi is next up with 7 years. With titles in 6 different years, Lendl and Edberg end very close to this Top 5. More details in our year-to-year overview of Grand Slam titles since each player's 1st slam victory.
Efficiciency rate in Grand Slam finals
A less siginificant stat maybe as it turns out the Top 4 players are also among the most efficient players in slam finals, but comparing the efficiency rate might help to finetune our initial Top 10.
After that, you may want to check our Top 10's results at the Tennis Masters Cup. Allthough slightly less prestigious than the Grand Slams, the TMC is a reliable barometer for the all-time greatest as the winner has to beat 4 or 5 players of the Top 8.