Counting down the top 10 Wimbledon players of all time will be a great challenge, as so many incredibly talented men and women have competed at Wimbledon over its storied history. Still, there are those select few who have made the grass at Wimbledon their personal playgrounds, and they have sculpted their game to Wimbledon’s grass, often at the expense of their ability to play on other surfaces like clay. Still, these dominant Wimbledon players will tell you the sacrifice is worth it, that winning Wimbledon is all that really matters in the tennis world. Here are my picks for those special athletes; the top 10 Wimbledon players of all time:
10 – Rod Laver
Despite the success of Sampras and Federer many long time tennis fans still consider this Australian lefty the greatest male tennis player ever. He played some of his best tennis at Wimbledon, winning the championship 4 times, and finishing as a runner-up twice more. The competition for a spot on the list of the top 10 Wimbledon players of all time is truly fierce when this tennis legend can only squeak into the number 10 spot.
9 – Boris Becker
When you talk about players whose tennis career revolved around Wimbledon, Boris Becker’s name is certainly one that leaps to mind. Becker burst on the scene as a 17 year old, becoming the youngest Wimbledon champion in 1985. His electrifying net play would help him capture the Wimbledon title 3 times, and finish as runner-up an additional 4 times.
8 – Chris Evert
Its no surprise that one of the greatest female tennis players ever would find her way on to the list of the top 10 Wimbledon players of all time. The French Open was really her strongest tournament. She won that title 7 times, but she was always a threat at Wimbledon as well, capturing 3 titles over her illustrious playing career, and finishing as runner-up on 7 other occasions.
7 – Bjorn Borg
What makes Bjorn Borg’s accomplishment of 5 straight Wimbledon titles so special is the fact that he was a natural baseliner. At a time when Wimbledon was dominated by quick moving serve and volleyers, Borg was forced to adapt or perish at the All England Club. He successfully made the transition, and the rest is history as he enjoyed half a decade of dominance at the hallowed tourney.
6 – Steffi Graf
At the peak of her career, Steffi Graf was as dominant as any tennis player, male or female, to ever play the sport. She was equally deadly on all surfaces, as showed by the fact that she won each of the 4 Grand Slam tennis tournaments at least 4 times. Wimbledon was no exception. She captured the title 7 times during her career, earning her an easy spot on the list of the top 10 Wimbledon players of all time.
5 – Roger Federer
For the bulk of his career he has been the most dominant player in the world on every surface but clay, but saves his best stuff for the grass at Wimbledon. He has won the last 7 Wimbledon tournaments, including 5 in a row, a consecutive Wimbledon winning streak he shares with Bjorn Borg. He may not have won his last Wimbledon title either, and just recently, just days before his 33rd birthday, pushed Novac Djokovic to 5 sets before losing the 2014 Wimbledon final.
4 – Helen Wills Moody
Yes, there were some great tennis players dominating the grass at Wimbledon before the 1970s. Moody enjoyed more than a decade of success at the All England Club in the 1920s and 1930s, carting home the Wimbledon hardware an impressive 8 times in that span. Even more impressive was the fact that she only made the finals 9 times. 8 for 9 makes for a phenomenal winning percentage on the biggest stage in tennis.
3 – Pete Sampras
Although women dominate the top half of the list of the top 10 Wimbledon players of all time, one man had such a great career at Wimbledon he manages to sneak into the number 3 spot. Pete Sampras is considered by many to be the best male tennis player of all time, and the majority of tennis fans will tell you he hung up the racket too early. Pistol Pete was all but untouchable at the All England Club, winning 7 titles in 8 years there.
2 – Billie Jean King
An incredible volleyer, Billie Jean King’s game was suited to the grass of Wimbledon, and she was the most dominant player at the All England Club in the 1960s and early 1970s. She won the tournament a total of 6 times during that span, and finished as the runner-up an additional 3 times. She remained a threat to win the Wimbledon crown throughout here career, reaching the semi-finals 5 times, including in 1983 at the ripe old age of 38.
1 – Martina Navratilova
As good as the others on the list are, there is only one logical choice for the number one spot on the list of the top 10 Wimbledon players of all time. Martina was, quite simply, Miss Wimbledon. Her left-handed serve and volley game, her athleticism and her court coverage allowed her to confound and dominate her Wimbledon opponents. She won the Wimbledon singles crown an amazing 9 times, an all time record among women or men. She finished runner-up an additional 3 times. Astoundingly, she was even more dominant as a doubles player at Wimbledon, but her success in singles alone is enough to sit her atop this list.