The scrappy left-hander with the topspin ground strokes remains the only two-time Grand Slam winner. Twelve times during a 17-year span (1959-1975) he ranked in the top 10.
2. PETE SAMPRAS, USA
No. 1 for six straight years going into 1999, Sampras needed one more singles title in a Grand Slam event to tie Roy Emerson for the most ever (12).
3. BILL BUDGE, USA
At 6-2, 155 pounds, “Big” Bill Tilden had the ideal tennis build. His 10 majors in the 1920s and ’30s were unequaled for more than 30 years (Roy Emerson in 1967).
4. DON BUDGE, USA
The redhead with the game’s best backhand gained immorality in 1938 by capturing the first Grand Slam. That year also marked the end to his fabulous 92-match, 14-tournament winning streak.
5. BJORN BORG, SWEDEN
With his shoulder, length blond hair and trademark headband, Borg used heavy topspin and a two-fisted backhand to win five straight Wimbledons (1976-80) and a record six French titles.
6. JOHN McENROE, USA
The mercurial lefty combined magnificent touch and feel with great court sense, winning four U.S. Opens and three Wimbledons from 1979 to ’84.
7. JIMMY CONNORS, USA
Connors, another lefty, is the only player to win the U.S. Open on three different surfaces–grass, clay and hard court. In all, he won five Opens between 1974 and ’83.
8. KEN ROSEWALL, AUSTRALIA
After turning pro in 1957, the diminutive Rosewall (5-7) strung together 18 major titles in singles, doubles and mixed doubles.
9. PANCHO GONZALES, USA
With a booming serve and fiery temper, Gonzales won his first U.S. open as an unheralded 20-year-old in 1948.
10. ARTHUR ASHE, USA
The only African-American male to win a major singles title, Ashe did it three times, the first in 1968.
TOP 10 MOMENTS, MEN
1. THE ROCKET SECURES A SECOND SLAM (1069)
With his defeat of countryman Tony Roche in the U.S. Open final, Rod Laver completes his second Grand Slam. Laver, who in 1962 became just the second man to sweep the four majors, remains the only player to do it twice.
2. BUDGE RECORDS THE FIRST GRAND SLAM (1938)
Don Budge waits out six days of rain at the U.S. Championships before taking the singles final in four sets.
3. KING BEATS RIGGS IN “THE BATTLE OF THE SEXES” (1973)
Before a record crowd of 30,742 in the Houston Astrodome, 29-year-old Billie Jean King defeats 55-year-old Bobby Riggs in straight sets. Beyond proving that a woman at the top of her game could defeat a man well past his prime, the event shows that tennis has drawing power.
4. BORG AND McENROE DUEL AT WIMBLEDON (1980)
Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe play a Wimbledon final for the ages. Leading 5-4 in the fourth set, Borg has double match point only to see McEnroe rally to force a tie-breaker, which McEnroe wins 34 points later. Refusing to buckle, Borg comes back to win the fifth set, securing his fifth straight Wimbledon singles title.
5. ASHE BREAKS THROUGH AT THE U.S. OPEN (1968)
Seeded fifth behind four Australian pros in the first U.S. Championships of the “open” era, Arthur Ashe becomes the first African-American male to win a Grand Slam tournament. Because of his amateur status, Ashe is ineligible for the $14,000 first prize, settling for $28 a day in expenses.
6. THE “OPEN” ERA BEGINS (1968)
Tennis is forever changed when the governing associations of the sport decide to open tournaments to both pros and amateurs for the first time.
7. TILDEN’S TITLE TIES RECORD (1929)
At age 36, Bill Tilden wins his seventh U.S. Championships singles title in the ’20s.
8. THE DAVIS CUP IS BORN (1900)
Harvard student Dwight Davis conceives the idea for the tournament (given his name soon after) and leads the U.S. team to victory over Great Britain.
9. FRANCE’S FOUR MUSKETEERS WIN THE DAVIS CUP (1927)
The French team of Rene Lacoste, Jean Borotra, Henri Cochet and Jacques Brugnon snaps the United States’ seven-year Davis Cup stranglehold by exhausting the venerable Bill Tilden.
10. BORIS BECKER ARRIVES AT WIMBLEDON (1985)
At age 17, Becker wins Wimbledon, becoming the youngest male, the first unseeded player and the first German to win singles at Wimbledon.