Poll: Who is the best male tennis player of all time? 1

With the current ATP world #1 rankings again in play, it’s time to revisit a poll that first made its appearance on this very site two years ago: best male tennis player ever.

We’ve updated it for late 2012 by adding just one name: Novak Djokovic. I’m not sure he’ll garner as many votes as, say, Sampras, Borg, McEnroe or even Federer, but the way Djoko dominated over much of 2011 and 2012 (until Federer recently stampeded back to the world #1 spot again) makes it surprising that we excluded Djokovic from this poll when it was originally posted.

So – is Roger the best ever, with his new record 300 total weeks at #1? It’s difficult to name anyone who’s played a full career with his consistency and total mastery of the game. And it’s the Swiss Maestro who inspired the best piece of tennis writing I’ve ever seen – the sublime “Federer as Religious Experience,” by the most brilliant writer of the last 20 years, David Foster Wallace.

There are almost 700 votes already in for this poll. I’m interested to see who’s leading when we hit 1,000. Have your say – vote for whoever you think is the Best Player ever.

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One thought on “Poll: Who is the best male tennis player of all time?

  • John Vivant

    I will always have a deep love for Borg. I think there was something really special about him – but maybe it was just the hair. So many things can go into why a person thinks one player is better than another – especially historically. There are the current best and then there are the historical best, the best ever. This is why I would suggest that un-retired players like Nadal not be included in a “best ever”. Because of their current popularity and excellence, un-retired players like him garner a disproportionate number of votes. I have seen this in my own best ever poll for soccer players. As a result, I exclude Messi from the poll. Otherwise he’d been walking away with it despite the fact that we don’t have the entire picture of his career. What if Messi never wins a World Cup? Will people perhaps want to take their votes back then? Meanwhile, the Pele story is pretty clear to us now, 30 years after his retirement – plus of course he has scored the most goals ever (1000) and won the most World Cups (3) and did it with a beautiful style which approaches the sublime flowing hair of Borg. Therefore Pele should be at or near the top of a soccer best ever poll but perhaps Nadal should not (yet) be at the top of a best ever tennis poll – I think.