Tennis has treated us to some of the greatest sportspeople in history. While it can be difficult to judge who is the greatest of all time we can at least see who has dominated for the longest period. The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) allows us to look at who has been ranked number one for the longest time consecutively and therefore who has dominated the sport. Here are the top 5 male tennis players of all time.
5. Pete Sampras
For many tennis fans, the 90s were defined by the rivalry between Sampras and Agassi. Sampras was one of the best grasscourt players to ever grace the game and was ranked number 1 six times between 1993 and 1998. He was once ranked number 1 for 102 weeks in a row (between April 1996 and March 1998).
The current world champion took control of the tennis world in 2011 forcing rivals Federer and Nadal to stand to one side. While the three-man rivalry would continue for ten more years Djokovic had earned his place among them. From July 2014 to November 2016 Djokovic was world number 1 for 122 weeks in a row.
3. Ivan Lendl
Ivan Lendl was a champion for the people. He was runner up 4 times before finally getting a grand slam. In the late eighties, he really shined. He was world number 1 for 157 weeks from 1985 to 1988.
2. Jimmy Connors
Connors has more ATP Singles titles than any other player before or since. Connors was ranked as world number 1 for an incredible 160 weeks in a row and a total of 268 weeks overall.
1. Roger Federer
It will surprise no one to see Federer’s name at the top of the list. The most dominant player in the history of tennis has spent 237 weeks in a row as world number 1. He was without competition for most of 2004 to 2007 as Nadal was still learning his trade on surfaces other than clay. Federer has continued to win titles since then and is both the most dominant player ever at one time and the most consistent champion over the span of his career. Incredible.