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Tennis Trivia 2008: Greatest male singles players
Source: Wikipedia
A frequent topic of discussion among tennis fans and commentators is who was the greatest male singles player of all time. No consensus has ever existed, however. By a large margin, an Associated Press poll in 1950 named Bill Tilden as the greatest player of the first half of the 20th century.[44] From 1920-1930, Tilden won singles titles at Wimbledon three times and the U.S. Championships seven times. In 1938, however, Donald Budge became the first person to win all four Grand Slam singles titles during the same calendar year and won six consecutive Grand Slam singles titles in 1937 and 1938. Tilden called Budge "the finest player 365 days a year that ever lived."[45] And in his 1979 autobiography, Jack Kramer said that, based on consistent play, Budge was the greatest player ever.[46] Some observers, however, also felt that Kramer deserved consideration for the title. Kramer was among the few who dominated amateur and professional tennis during the late 1940s and early 1950s. Tony Trabert has said that of the players he saw before the start of the open era, Kramer was the best male champion.[47]

By the latter half of the 1950s and 1960s, Budge and others had added Pancho Gonzales and Lew Hoad to the list of contenders. Budge reportedly believed that Gonzales was the greatest player ever.[48] Gonzales said about Hoad, "When Lew's game was at its peak nobody could touch him. ... I think his game was the best game ever. Better than mine. He was capable of making more shots than anybody. His two volleys were great. His overhead was enormous. He had the most natural tennis mind with the most natural tennis physique."[49]

During the open era, first Rod Laver and then more recently Björn Borg and Pete Sampras were regarded by many of their contemporaries as among the greatest ever. Cliff Drysdale has said that Laver is the greatest player ever.[50] Mats Wilander said, "The greatest player ever is not necessarily the player who has won the most. I would say that Björn Borg is the greatest player ever because he won Wimbledon five times in a row. And out of those five times, he won the French Open all of those five years, plus another year."[51] Laver has said that Sampras is "equal to anyone who has ever played the game."[52] John McEnroe has said that either Laver or Sampras is the greatest player ever.[53] Roger Federer is now considered by many observers to have the most "complete" game in modern tennis, with the potential to surpass the achievements of these past greats. Many experts of tennis, former tennis players and some of his own tennis peers believe Federer may become the greatest player in the history of the game.[54][55][56][57][58] The tennis historian Raymond Lee did a statistical analysis account of the question, counting tournament wins totals and percentages of career match wins and wins in a 5 year period. His alltime list ranks Laver ahead of Borg and Tilden (tie), Federer, Gonzales, Rosewall, Budge, Lendl, Connors, Sampras in the top ten.[59]





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