Tennis male players statistics
Professional tennis before the start of the open era
Before the start of the
open erain 1968, the professional circuit was much less popular than the traditional amateur circuit. For example, Wimbledon in 1957 was a success despite its being an amateur-only tournament and exclusion of Pancho Gonzales, Pancho Segura, Frank Sedgman, Ken Rosewall, and Tony Trabert. The only exceptional male player who entered Wimbledon that year was Lew Hoad. In contrast, the Pro Tournament of Champions in Forest Hills, New York, which was held just a few weeks after Wimbledon, experienced small crowds and lost money, despite the presence of the top professional players.
Until the start of the open era, there was a marked difference in skill between professional and amateur players. For example, Hoad turned professional in July 1957, just after winning the Wimbledon final 6-2, 6-1, 6-2. Although he had been the top amateur player, Hoad won just two of his first eleven matches on the professional tour.
The professional tour before the start of the open era was not popular and was fragile financially. It was difficult for the tour to establish tradition because poor attendance or the lack of television coverage could cause any professional tournament to be cancelled at any time. In contrast, the amateur tour had loads of tradition because the events did not change from year to year and because the schedules of amateur players were virtually dictated by their national tennis federations. For example,
Gottfried von Crammwas not allowed to enter the singles event at the French Championships in 1937, although he was cruelly forced to play the doubles event there. He was not allowed to participate in any Grand Slam tournament between the 1938 French Championships and the 1939 U.S. Championships. Another example is John Bromwich, the best Australian player, who was prevented by Norman Brookes, president of the Australian Lawn Tennis Association, from playing Wimbledon three consecutive years (1938, 1939, 1946) because Brookes' priority was to win the Davis Cup. There were many similar examples, which finally motivated tour players to create the Association of Tennis Professionalsin 1972 because they no longer wanted to be dependent on tennis federations or professional tennis promoters.
Since 1983, men's tennis has had a very strong tradition and clear hierarchy of tournaments: (1) Grand Slam tournaments, including Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, the French Open, and the Australian Open; (2) the
Tennis Masters Cup; and (3) the Davis Cup. Before 1983, however, and in particular before the start of the open era in 1968, the hierarchy of professional tournaments changed virtually every year. For example, in 1934, the U.S. Pro was a high-class tournament with all the best players, but just two years later, this tournament was ordinary because only professional teachers (no leading touring pros) entered the event.
Before the start of the open era and in addition to numerous small tournaments and head-to-head tours between the leading professionals, there were a few major professional tournaments that stood out at different periods:
*Some survived sporadically because of financial collapses and others temporarily stood out when other important tournaments were not held:
**Bristol Cup (held at Cannes or at Beaulieu) in the 1920s
**Queen's Club Pro (in 1928)
**International Pro Championship of Britain in Southport in the 1930s
**World Pro Championships in Berlin in the 1930s
**U.S Pro Hardcourt in
Los Angeles, Californiain 1945 (the only significant professional tournament that year)
**Philadelphia Pro 1950-1952
**Pro Tournament of Champions, held in Los Angeles in 1956 and at Forest Hills thereafter (when it was not mergeed with the U.S. Pro)
**Masters Pro Round Robin in Los Angeles in 1957 and 1958
**Australian Pro in 1954, 1957, and 1958
**Madison Square Garden Pro in 1966 and 1967
**Wimbledon Pro in 1967
** ... and a few other Australian pro or South African pro tournaments.
*There were a few team events modeled on the Davis Cup, such as the Bonnardel Cup in the 1930s and the Kramer Cup from 1961 through 1963.
*Three traditional "championship tournaments" survived, often having all the leading players but sometimes having very depleted fields. The most prestigious of the three was generally the
London Indoor Professional Championship. Played between 1934 and 1990 at Wembley Arenain England, it was unofficially usually considered the world championship until 1967. The oldest of the three was the United States Professional Championship, played between 1927 and 1999. From 1954 through 1962, this tournament was played indoors in Cleveland and was called the "World Professional Championships." The third major tournament was the French Professional Championship, played usually at Roland Garros from 1934 (perhaps before but the data are unclear) through 1968. The British and American championships continued into the open era but soon devolved to the status of minor tournaments.
Because of the instability of the professional tour, the greatest tournaments in a given year could be the three "championship tournaments" (such as in 1964) or other tournaments (such as in 1959 when the greatest tournaments probably were the Forest Hills Pro, the Masters Pro in Los Angeles, and almost all the Australian pro tournaments).
However these 3 tournaments were considered by some tennis experts as the 3 tournaments of the professional Grand Slam (until 1967). Some years as in 1948, only one of them was held, the U.S Pro in this case, and even in 1944 none was organized : this explains why professionals players have less impressive records than those of the modern players but it doesn't mean that the banished players of the pre-open era were less great than their open era colleagues.
As any statistics, those of this article should be prudently considered because
a) they are mixing performances of the amateur circuit (until 1967), the professional circuit (until 1967) and the open circuit (since 1968)
and b) they don't always take into account the greatest events of a given year (see the 1959 example above).
For instance Rosewall's amateur successes between 1953 and 1956 aren't worth much because the very best players were professionals and then couldn't play the same events as Rosewall.
Another example : when Rod Laver captured the amateur Grand Slam in 1962 he was probably only the 5th player in the world behind Rosewall, Hoad, Segura and Gimeno, all professionals, and therefore his 1962 Grand Slam is worth nothing. In 1967 this same Rod Laver was omnipotent on fast courts by winning all the greatest pro tournaments that year, Wimbledon Pro (grass), the U.S. Pro (grass), Wembley Pro (indoor wood, fastest surface ever used in tennis) and the French Pro (indoor wood). In the classic statistics these tournaments are seldom listed because only the amateur tournaments were taken into account but no one (not even Newcombe or Emerson, the best amateurs in 1967) disputed Laver's supremacy in 1967 : in the above Laver's statistics (19 major tournaments) three of the four previous tournaments are listed. But to give you another ironic example : the one tournament not chosen is "1967 Wimbledon Pro" because it wasn't a "Grand Slam pro" tournament (and of course not a Grand Slam amateur tournament) but it was probably the greatest pro event of the 60's and in particular of 1967. It just indicates once more that the Grand Slam label is not always attributed to the greatest tournaments of a given year.
In reality to fairly compare pre-open era players records with open era players's it would be necessary to select from the tennis beginnings the 4 greatest events of each year, knowing it would change every year "(some years it is awfully difficult to choose the 4 greatest tennis events)". Thus, for instance, Ken Rosewall's record of 23 victories, indicated above, would be reduced to about 21 tournaments "equivalent to the modern Grand Slam tournaments" : "Wembley Pro 1957, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963 - New York City-Madison Square Garden Pro 1966 - French Pro 1958, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966 - French Open 1968 - U.S. Pro 1963, 1965 - U.S. Open 1970 - Australian Open 1971 - WCT Finals 1971, 1972. In that list on one hand have disappeared all Rosewall's great amateur successes (Australia 1953, 1955 - Roland Garros 1953 - U.S. 1956) and also the 1972 Australian Open without eighteen of the twenty best players but on the other hand have appeared some great pro tournaments which weren't one of the 3 classic ones (see
Ken Rosewall's article).
Most major singles titles, including major professional titles before the open era
"The three professional tournaments (Wembley Pro, French Pro, U.S. Pro) until 1967 are sometimes referred as the professional Grand Slam tournaments by tennis historians as Robert Geist in "DER GRÖSSTE MEISTER Die denkwürdige Karriere des australischen Tennisspielers Kenneth Robert Rosewall" or Raymond Lee in his "Greatest Player of All time: A Statistical Analysis" article [http://www.sportsmediainc.net/tennisweek/index.cfm?func=showarticle&newsid=17405] ."
= ROSEWALL, Ken: 23 major singles titles =
*Grand Slam tournaments (8 titles)
**Australian Championships (excluding professionals): 1953, 1955
**Australian Open (amateurs and professionals): 1971, 1972
**French Championships (excluding professionals): 1953
**French Open (amateurs and professionals): 1968
**U.S. Championships (excluding professionals): 1956
**U.S. Open (amateurs and professionals): 1970
*Major professional tournaments before the
open erabegan (15 titles)
**U.S. Pro: 1963, 1965
**French Pro: 1958, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966
**Wembley Pro: 1957, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963
"Rosewall's wins at the Wembley Pro in 1968 and the U.S. Pro in 1971 are not included in the list of his "major" titles because those tournaments were not major events after the start of the open era in April 1968."
= LAVER, Rod: 19 major singles titles =
*Grand Slam tournaments (11 titles)
**Australian Championships (excluding professionals): 1960, 1962
**Australian Open (amateurs and professionals): 1969
**French Championships (excluding professionals): 1962
**French Open (amateurs and professionals): 1969
**Wimbledon (excluding professionals): 1961, 1962
**Wimbledon (amateurs and professionals): 1968, 1969
**U.S. Championships (excluding professionals): 1962
**U.S. Open (amateurs and professionals): 1969
*Major professional tournaments before the open era began (8 titles)
**U.S. Pro: 1964, 1966, 1967
**French Pro: 1967
**Wembley Pro: 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967
"Laver's wins at the Wembley Pro in 1969 and 1970, the U.S. Pro in 1968 and 1969, and the French Pro in 1968 are not included in the list of his "major" titles because those tournaments were not major events after the start of the open era."
= TILDEN, Bill: 14 major singles titles =
*Grand Slam tournaments (10 titles)
**U.S. Championships (excluding professionals): 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1929
**Wimbledon (excluding professionals): 1920, 1921, 1930
*Major professional tournaments before the open era began (3 titles)
**French Pro: 1934
**U.S. Pro: 1931, 1935
*Major amateur title (1 title)
**World Hard Court Championships (official clay court world championships): 1921
= GONZALES, Pancho: 14 major singles titles =
*Grand Slam tournaments (2 titles)
**U.S Championships (excluding professionals): 1948, 1949
*Major professional tournaments before the open era began (12 titles)
**U.S. Pro: 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1961
**Wembley Pro: 1950, 1951, 1952, 1956
= SAMPRAS, Pete: 14 major singles titles =
*Grand Slam tournaments (14 titles)
**Australian Open (amateurs and professionals): 1994, 1997
**Wimbledon (amateurs and professionals): 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000
**U.S. Open (amateurs and professionals): 1990, 1993, 1995, 1996, 2002
Male tennis players with most singles titles
Rod Laver: 185 tournaments "(See all the complete details in the corresponding article.)"
Jimmy Connors: 147 tournaments "(see all the complete details in the corresponding article.)"
Ivan Lendl: 144 tournaments "(See all the complete details in the corresponding article.)"
Jaroslav Drobny: 136 tournaments
Ken Rosewall: at least 132 tournaments "(See all the complete details in the corresponding article.)"
Bill Tilden: at least 130 tournaments
Tony Wilding: at least 112 tournaments "(See all the complete details in the corresponding article.)"
Roy Emerson: at least 110 tournaments "(See all the complete details in the corresponding french article.)"
Björn Borg: 99 tournaments "(See all the complete details in the corresponding article.)"
John McEnroe: 97 tournaments "(See all the complete details in the corresponding article.)"
Pancho Gonzales: 91 tournaments "(See all the complete details in the corresponding article.)"
Bobby Riggs: 89 tournaments
Ilie Năstase: 87 tournaments "(See all the complete details in the corresponding article.)"
Budge Patty: 78 tournaments
Manuel Santana: 74 tournaments
Arthur Ashe: 73 tournaments
Martin Mulligan: 72 tournaments
John Newcombe: 70 tournaments
Guillermo Vilas: 68 tournaments "(See all the complete details in the corresponding article.)"
Andre Agassi: 65 tournaments or 75 if non-ATP are counted "(See all the complete details in the corresponding article.)"
Pete Sampras: 64 tournaments
Gardnar Mulloy: 63 tournaments
Stan Smith: 60 tournaments
Bob Hewitt: 59 tournaments
Roger Federer: 58 tournaments "including Brest challenger, January 1999 and AAMI Kooyong Classic, January 2005)"
Tony Trabert: 57 tournaments
Vic Seixas: 56 tournaments
Nicola Pietrangeli: 54 tournaments
Boris Becker: 51 tournaments
Tom Okker: 51 tournaments. Sources: ATP; Michel Sutter, Vainqueurs Winners 1946-2003, Paris 2003; Joe McCauley, The History of Professional Tennis, London 2001; Robert Geist, Der Grösste Meister Die denkwürdige Karriere des australischen Tennisspielers Kenneth Robert Rosewall, Vienna 1999 ; Tony Trabert in "Tennis de France" magazine; ATP ; John Barrett editor,World of Tennis Yearbooks, London 1969 to 1983 Before 1972 tennis results weren't automatically registered as it is now with the ITF (International Tennis Federation) and the ATP. Many have been lost or even never recorded. In particular many professional results before 1968 have disappeared or are contradictory (for instance Ray Bowers, who gives a very detailed account of the 1926-1945 pro era called "History of the Pro Tennis Wars" in the "Tennis Server" Web site, categorically affirms that there was no 1936 Wembley Pro tournament (and no 1938 edition too) while McCauley lists a final result). However the most important ones have been preserved. Now the ATP data aren't far from being exhaustive. They only begin in 1968 and they omit many results until 1971-1972 and even after. For example you can't find any results of the Dunlop Sydney Open in March 1970 (won by Laver) or of the New South Wales Championships in 1973 (Mal Anderson) or in 1974 (Tony Roche).
Therefore the global amounts listed here are at least equal if not superior to those of the ATP "(even the modern players as Connors, Lendl, McEnroe, Nastase, Ashe or Borg have more titles here (for instance Borg won his first tournament at Helsinki in 1973 and it doesn't appear in the ATP statistics))". Other remark : Michel Sutter chose about 150-200 tournaments each year including some invitation tournaments or tournaments which were at the time (before the nineties) the equivalent of the challenger series tournaments of today. When those tournaments appeared in the early nineties Sutter listed them in his book. Sutter, being the main source of that part of the article, such tournaments are counted in this list "(this explains for instance why Federer has two more wins than his ATP wins number).
Male tennis players with most major pro tours won before the open era
In the years before the
open era, male professionals often played more frequently in tours than in tournaments because a head-to-head tour between two tennis stars was much more remunerative than a circuit of pro tournaments and the number of professional tournaments was small. For example, Fred Perryearned U.S. $91,000 in a 1937 North American tour against Ellsworth Vinesbut won only U.S. $450 for his 1938 victory at the U.S. Pro Tennis Championships. Vines probably never entered a tournament between the London Indoor Professional Championship in October 1935, which he won, and the May 1939 edition of that tournament, which he lost. In 1937, Vines played 70 matches on two tours and no matches in tournaments. Even in the 1950s, some professionals continued to play numerous tour matches. During his first five months as a professional (January through May 1957), Ken Rosewallplayed 76 matches on a tour against Pancho Gonzalesbut only 9 matches in tournaments. As an example of the small number of professional tournaments held before the open era, Joe McCauley has determined that for 1952, only 7 professional tournaments were played by the top international players, and 2 other professional tournaments (the British Pro and the German Pro) were reserved for domestic players. It was only during the 1960s that professional tournaments became more significant than tours.
The prevalence of head-to-head tours and the small number of professional tournaments makes it necessary to consider the tours when comparing male players from before the open era with male players during the open era. The following lists the pre-open era professionals who won the most tours based on the information currently available.
= GONZALES, Pancho: 7 major pro tours =
*January 3, 1954 - May ?, 1954: This tour was in the
United Statesand included Pancho Segura, Frank Sedgman, Donald Budgeand Carl Earn. Gonzales led Segura 30-21 (or 30-20) and Sedgman 30-21 (or 30-20). Segura led Sedgman 23-22. Budge won just a few matches against the other three (and only one against Gonzales) and was replaced in March by Earn.
*December 9, 1955 - June 3, 1956: This was a head-to-head tour in the United States against
Tony Trabert. Gonzales prevailed 74-27.
*January 1957 - May 1957: This was a world tour against
Ken Rosewall. Gonzales prevailed 50-26.
*January 1958 - May 1958: This was a world tour against
Lew Hoad. Gonzales prevailed 51-36.
*February, 20 1959 - April ?, 1959: This was a world tour including Hoad, Ashley Cooper, and
Mal Anderson. Gonzales finished with a 47-15 record. Hoad was 42-20, Cooper was 21-40, and Anderson was 13-48.
* January 1960 - June 1960 : This was a world tour including Rosewall, Segura, and
Alex Olmedo. Gonzales finished with a 49-8 record. Rosewall was 32-25, Segura was 22-28, and Olmedo was 11-44.
*December 30, 1960 - May, 28 1961: This was a world tour including Gonzales (with Segura occasionally substituting for him),
Andres Gimeno, Hoad (with Trabert, Cooper, and Sedgman occasionally substituting for Hoad), Barry MacKay, Olmedo, and Butch Buchholz. In the first phase, Gonzales finished with a 33-14 record (including the Segura matches). Gimeno was 27-20, Hoad was 24-23 (including the Trabert, Cooper, and Sedgman matches), MacKay was 22-25, Olmedo was 18-29, and Buchholz was 16-31. In the second and final phase, Gonzales def. Gimeno 21-7.
= VINES, Ellsworth: 5 major pro tours =
*January 10, 1934 - May 17, 1934: This was a
North American tour against Bill Tilden. The results are not known definitively; however, at the end of the tour, the two players had played somewhat more than 50 matches and Vines led Tilden by 19 wins. "(Vines also dominated Henri Cochet10-0 and Martin Plaa8-2 in a small United Statesversus Franceteam tour in the U.S., with Tilden being Vines' teammate.)"
*January 9, 1935 - April ?, 1935: This was a North American tour including
Les Stoefenat first, then Hans Nüsslein(and Tilden occasionally). Vines led Stoefen 25-1 until the latter fell ill. Thereafter, Vines beat Nüsslein about three-quarters of the time and occasionally played and beat Tilden, as the Vines-Tilden match-up seemed to be a better draw.
*January 11, 1936 - May 11, 1936: This was a U.S. tour against Stoefen. Although the final standings are unknown, Vines led 33-5 as of March 29. "(In October and November 1936, Vines and Tilden faced each other in an Asian tour. The final standings are also unknown, but at the end of the Japanese part of the tour, Vines led Tilden 8-1.)"
*January 6, 1937 - May 12, 1937: This was a North American tour against
Fred Perry. Vines prevailed 32-29. "(In a small British Iles tour from May 25 through June 15, Perry defeated Vines 6-3.)"
*January 11, 1938 - May 30, 1938: This was a U.S. tour against Perry. Vines prevailed 49-35 (or 48-35). "(In a small Caribbean tour November 15-29, the two players each won four matches.)"
= KRAMER, Jack: 4 major pro tours =
*December 26, 1947 - May ?, 1948: In this
North American tour against Bobby Riggs, Kramer prevailed 69-20.
*October 25, 1949 - May 21, 1950: In this North American tour against
Pancho Gonzales, Kramer prevailed 96-27 (or 97-26).
*October 28, 1950 - March ?, 1951: In this North American tour against
Pancho Segura, Kramer prevailed 64-28 (or 58-27).
*January ?, 1953 - June 1, 1953: In this North American tour against
Frank Sedgman, Kramer prevailed 54-41.
= TILDEN, Bill: 3 major pro tours =
*February 18, 1931 - August 16, 1931: In this
North American tour against Karel Koželuh, Tilden prevailed 50-17 "(Tilden, who kept close records, summarized the outcome of this tour as follows. Overall: Tilden 50, Kozeluh 17. Indoors: Tilden 26, Kozeluh 1. Grass: Tilden 2, Kozeluh 0. Outdoor hard courts: Kozeluh 5, Tilden 3. Clay: Tilden 19, Kozeluh 11.)" Later in the autumn of 1931, the two players toured in Europe with Hans Nüsslein, Martin Plaa, Albert Burke, and Frank Hunter.
*January 4, 1932 - July ?, 1932: This North American tour began with ten pros (including Tilden, Nüsslein, Burke,
Vincent Richards, Hunter, Roman Najuch, Allen Behr, and Emmett Pare). But by the end of January, each stop featured a Tilden-Nüsslein match, preceded by a singles match between two other pros and followed by doubles. Beginning with Koželuh's joining of the tour in May and extending through the remainder of the tour, Tilden and Nüsslein competed with the other players. Complete tour results are far from being known, but Tilden is the certain winner. As of early April 1932, Tilden led Nüsslein 32 matches to 12.
*January 24, 1933 - May ?, 1933: This was another North American tour between Tilden and Nüsslein. Although the results are incomplete, Tilden was the winner. As of early May 1933, data from more than half their matches indicated that Tilden won two-thirds of the matches. (During the summer of 1933, a European tour featured several team events organized on national lines with Tilden,
Bruce Barnes, Nüsslein, and other German and French players.)
BUDGE, Don: 3 major pro tours
*January 3, 1939 - March 6, 1939: In this
North American tour against Ellsworth Vines, Budge prevailed 22-17 (or 21-18). "(From March 10 through May 8, Budge dominated Perry 28-8 in another North American tour that was less important than the previous Budge-Vines tour because Perry was second to Vines in the professional ranks. Budge also won a European tour over Vines, Bill Tilden, and Les Stoefen.)"
*January 6, 1941 - May 10, 1941: This was a North American tour against Tilden. Although complete tour results are not known with certainty, 49 of the matches are fully documented. In those matches, Budge prevailed 43-5 with 1 tie. The final outcome of the tour was probably 46-7 plus 1 tie.
*December 26, 1941 - "before" April 5, 1942: This was a North American tour against
Bobby Riggs, Frank Kovacs, Fred Perry, and Stoefen. Budge finished with a 52-18 record. Riggs was 36-36, Kovacs was 25-26, Perry was 23-30, and Stoefen, who played only when the others were injured or ill, was 2-28.
*Compilation of top ranked male tennis players since 1877
* [http://chaognosis.wordpress.com/2008/09/02/how-to-count-slams/ How to count "Slams"]
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