Tennis is a truly international sport, with great players from many different nations competing at tournaments across the globe to determine the best. The sport's preponderance of prestigious championships has allowed many different players to compile glittering records of achievements. But what matters most - major titles, peak form, contemporaneous competition, or something else entirely? And in consideration of it all, which player stands above the rest as the greatest to ever pick up a racquet?
Rafael NadalShow moreShow less
The King of Clay dominated the French Open like never before, and won pretty much everything else too.
While the achievements of many great players can be compared and debated on subjective grounds, the core question of who is the best player of all time is best answered by considering which player, in their absolute peak form, would be most likely to win a match against any other. In answer to this question, there can be little doubt that the best singular version of any player ever is Nadal in his prime playing at the French Open, where the clay surface is perfectly attuned to his highly physical, topspin-heavy, baseline-focused game. Nadal has been close to unstoppable at the French Open for almost his entire career, having won the tournament on his first attempt at the age of 19, and subsequently suffering only two defeats there over the next 14 years. Nadal's 12 French Open wins are not only the highest total of victories for any player at any professional tournament, but would alone place his total Grand Slam titles among the top five men's players ever, even if he had never played at any of the other three Grand Slams (though in fact, he has won all three others as well).