View Full Version : The ten 'most elite' players of all time/The 20 best tennis players of all time

Jan 7th, 2009, 07:15 PM
Let's be honest. The tennis 'Hall of Fame' is really a tennis 'Hall of Popular'. If you win ONE slam, and enough people like you, you get in. See Yanick Noah and Gabriella Sabatini. It's not about accomplishment.

I've often felt they need to have a 'top ten room'. A room where the the most influencial, most important players in tennis history are documented. Just so people can see who the true greats are.

The 'ten' limit is arbitrary, but it enforces discipline. Especially when you have to deal with the entire history of the sport. However, in the entire, admitedly flawed, history of the sport, only eight players have won double digit slam singles titles. Yet, oddly, only seven of them are accorded 'all time great' status.

Nav, Court, King, Graf, Wills Moody, Lenglen, Evert

Nobody ever disputes those names, even if they dispute those eras.

So why is Molla Bjurkstedt Mallory overlooked? Subject for another thread.

But there are seven, there's no arguement, re-made the sport, dominated the era, names will never be forgotten players in womens's tennis.

Nav, Court, King, Graf, Wills Moody, Lenglen, Evert

Then there is

Serena-Seles-Connolly vs Margaret Osbourne Dupont, Louise Brough, and Doris Hart.

Osbourne DuPont, Brough and Hart all won sic GS singles titles. And 24, 29, and 30 doubles and mixed slam titles. Compared to those numbers Serena-Seles-Connolly are specialists, not complete tennis players.

But let's lump those seven together, after the Elite Seven.

Nav, Court, King, Graf, Wills Moody, Lenglen, Evert

Then ...

Serena, Seles, Connolly, Osbourne Dupont, Brough, and Hart.

The fourteen best CAREERS in the history of women's tennis.

After that comes .....

Venus. She may be ahead of some of the players previously mentioned, but she isn't after anyone else, not if you look at the actual record.

After that, probably, Goolagong, Henin, Hingis Maria Bueno, in some order.

And I have to make a place for Althea Gibson, without whom none of the Open Era records would have ture meaning.

And, of course, it's gets me to a solid '20 best tennis players of all time'.

Jan 7th, 2009, 07:32 PM
I often wonder what does being an all-time elite, all-time great, one of the best players ever, the best player ever mean? How can one become such a player?

There's certainly nothing concrete. It might not be a particularly convincing argument, but if one really wanted to, one could make an argument that Gabriela Sabatini was a superior tennis player to Steffi Graf. Just making the point that the gap of 21 slams isn't necessarily as absolute as it seems.

You hear people dismiss/ignore Court all the time, because of personal reasons, her Aussie's coming at the AO etc. All her seasons of dominance going unlooked, for some.

Slams are important, so is dominating, beating your peers, winning the accolades of the time. I think being an important focus for improvement and change of the game is also important in an all-time great. The nature of a tennis great's game is also important, how did they play how effective was their game, what about their peak game, how did they win when not at their best? The respect of your peers, your successors, your predecessors, the commentators of the game, the fans, this also counts towards a player being seen as 'elite.' What about the classics matches, the ability to enthrall, entertain and incite passion in a tennis-loving crowd.

There's so much that makes an all-time great player. Does it matter who is in the top five or who is the top ten? We need to have a list to acknowledge them and I agree entirely with Volcana's top twenty. What matters most to me is that we have some all time great players to look back to (and currently) enjoy and respect.