When we talk about the best tennis players ever, we hear the names of Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, and John McEnroe. Those legends are all retired now but the game is in good hands with the current batch of tennis greats.
Here are the 10 best active tennis players in the world according to the ATP rankings as of May 28, 2019:
1. Novak Djokovic
The #1 ranked tennis player in the ATP rankings is Novak Djokovic of Serbia. The 32-year old Djokovic is a 15-time grand slam tournament winner and the owner of five ATP Finals titles and a winner of 33 ATP Tour Masters 1000 tournaments. The 6-2 right-hander has held the #1 ranking for 250 weeks and is the first Serbian to hold that ranking. He owns the record for most victories at the Australian Open with six. Djokovic is also the 8th tennis player to accomplish the career grand slam and the third to hold the four major titles at once. He is also the only player to have won all 9 ATP Masters 1000 tournaments.
2. Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal is the undisputed king of the clay courts. The 32-year old Spaniard holds many records in clay court tournaments including 11 French Open titles, 11 Monte-Carlo Masters victories, and 11 Barcelona title conquests. He also holds the record for most consecutive wins in a single surface, winning a remarkable 81 consecutive games on clay. His 50-set unbeaten streak on clay is also the longest in the Open Era. Nadal beat Djokovic last month in the finals of the Italian Open. The victory was his 34th ATP Tour Masters 1000 tournament win, breaking a tie with Djokovic for most all-time by any tennis player.
3. Roger Federer
Roger Federer holds the record for most major tournaments won with 20. Known as the Federer Express, the 37-year old was world #1 for a total of 310 weeks including a record 237 straight weeks. Federer has won a record eight Wimbledon titles and a record five straight U.S. Open titles. During his prime, Federer was an unstoppable force as he was continuously ranked in the Top 10 from October 2002 to November 2016. The Swiss master is the first player since Jimmy Connors to win at least 100 or more singles titles in the Open Era.
4. Dominic Thiem
Dominic Thiem is currently the highest-ranked tennis player not to have won a major title. The 25-year old Austrian is known as an aggressive baseline player who uses a powerful single-handed backhand. He is one of the strongest servers in the game today and is one of the best youngsters on clay. Nine out of his 13 ATP titles have come on clay and he’s beaten the likes of Nadal, Federer and Stan Wawrinka on that surface. Thiem lost to Nadal in the finals of the 2018 French Open, his first ever finals appearance at a grand slam event. Thiem defeated Roger Federer to claim his first Masters 1000 title at the 2019 Indian Wells Masters.
5. Alexander Zverev
Alexander Zverev is the youngest player in the current Top 5. The 22-year old German is also the second-youngest player in the ATP’s Top 10 rankings. He has won a total of 11 ATP singles titles including the 2018 ATP Finals. He is the youngest player to have won the ATP Finals in a decade. Outside the Big Four of Djokovic, Nadal, Federer and Andy Murray, Zverev is the only active player to have three Masters victories. He is a former world #1 as a junior and won the 2014 Australian Open Juniors title.
6. Stefanos Tsitsipas
Stefanos Tsitsipas is the youngest player in the current Top 10. The 20-year old from Greece is the highest-ranked player ever from his country at his current ranking. Tsitsipas has won a total of three ATP titles and has made the finals in seven. He won his first ATP title at the 2018 Stockholm Open. Later, he would finish runner-up in the Canadian Open and become the youngest player to defeat four Top 10 opponents in the same tournament. Tsitsipas made the semifinals in the 2019 Australian Open, his highest ever finish in a grand slam tournament.
7. Kei Nishikori
Kei Nishikori is the only male Japanese tennis player to be ranked in the Top 5 in the world. The 29-year old Japanese has won a total of 12 ATP tournaments since turning pro in 2007. Nishikori is the first ever male Asian tennis player to have played in a grand slam final. He did so by reaching the finals of the 2014 U.S. Open. He is also the first Asian to qualify for the ATP World Tour Finals, reaching the semifinals in 2014 and 2016. He also beat Rafael Nadal to win the bronze medal in the 2016 summer Olympic games
8. Kevin Anderson
Kevin Anderson is the first South African player to have reached the Top 5 since Kevin Curren in 1985. Anderson made the 2018 Wimbledon Finals by defeating John Isner in the second-longest match in the history of the major tournaments. The semifinals match between Anderson and Isner lasted a total of 6 hours and 36 minutes. Anderson also made the U.S. Open Finals in 2017, losing to Rafael Nadal in the title match. He is also the incumbent Vice President of ATP Player Council and has held that position since 2016.
9. Juan Martin del Potro
Juan Martin del Potro became the first player to win four titles in his first four tournaments of the season, doing so in 2008. The 30-year old Argentinian won the 2009 U.S. Open, defeating Rafael Nadal in the semifinals and then Roger Federer in the finals. He became the first player to beat both Federer and Nadal in the same grand slam event and the only player outside the Big Four to win a grand slam tournament from the 2005 French Open to the 2013 U.S. Open or a period that spanned 35 major tournaments. He was the bronze medal winner at the 2012 London Olympics and the silver medalist during the 2016 Rio Olympics.
10. John Isner
John Isner is considered as one of the best servers to play in the ATP Tour. The 34-year old from Greensboro, North Carolina has the 2nd most aces in ATP history with 11,403 aces. He played in the longest professional tennis match in history at the 2010 Wimbledon Championships when he defeated Nicolas Mahut in 11 hours and 5 minutes, in a match that was played across three days. Isner has a total of 14 singles titles and his best finish at a grand slam event was last year’s semi-finals stint at Wimbledon.