3. Donald Budge
John Donald Budge was born on 13 June 1915 and unfortunately passed away on January 26, 2000. Budge’s most recognized achievement was that he was the first person to ever win all four Grand Slam tournaments in one year.
Records, Pro Slam Wins and Grand Slam Wins
Budge played in 11 Grand Slam tournaments and managed to win 6 as well as played in 17 Pro Slam Tournaments and won 4 of them. After turning to Professional tennis in 1939 he was unable to compete in Grand Slam tournaments.
The Grand Slam tournaments Don Budge won are: 1937 Wimbledon, 1937 US, 1938 Australian, 1938 French, 1938 Wimbledon and 1938 US. He also reached the finals in the 1936 US Grand Slam tournament but ended up as runner up.
On the other hand, after turning to Pro, Budge went on to win the following Pro Slam Tournaments: 1939 French Pro, 1939 Wembley Pro, 1940 US Pro, 1942 US Pro and won second place in: 1946 US Pro, 1947 US Pro, 1949 US Pro and 1953 US Pro.
Don Budge is the youngest man in tennis history to complete the Grand Slam, what most tennis players are aiming at – to win all four Grand Slam tournaments in one year, two days before his 23rd birthday when he won the 1938 French Open on June 11th.
Budge was also the second man to win all four Grand Slams, the first being Fred Perry, another tennis legend.
Military, injury and later honors
In 1942 Budge joined the military, thus putting a break to his tennis career. Here, during an obstacle course he injured his shoulder, tearing a muscle. In his later released biography Budge says the following:
“The tear didn’t heal, and the scar tissue that was formed complicated the injury and made it even serious. Nevertheless … I was able to carry on with my military duties … as long as two years afterwards, in the spring of ’45, I was given a full month’s medical leave so that I could go to Berkeley and have an osteopath, Dr. J. LeRoy Near, work with me.”
His injury however made him play worse and worse, making it seem like he was another man. Budge retired in 1955, with no other Major title won after he injured himself in the army.
Few years after his retirement, in 1964 Budge was inducted in the International Tennis Hall of Fame at Newport, Rhode Island.
December 1999 tragedy hit Don Budge’s life when he couldn’t recover from a car accident. He died one month later, aged 84, on January 26th 2000 in a nursing home in Pennsylvania.
2. Rod Laver
Rod Laver, age 77 as of 2015, is an Australian tennis legend and just as everyone else in this Top 10, he’s considered by many as one of the greatest tennis players in history.
Records set by Laver and Grand Slams and Pro Slams won
Laver has managed to accumulate, in his whole tennis career, a total of 200 singles titles, out of which 52 are listed by the ATP. This feat is a peer-less record to this day. Laver also managed to win 22 singles titles in a single season, in 1962, and also he won at least 10 titles per season for seven consecutive years, 1964 through 1970.
Laver had no weak points, no matter the court he played: grass, clay, hard, carpet or wood.
Laver’s awesomeness doesn’t stop here: he achieved the Grand Slam (winning all Grand Slam tournaments in one year) twice! First he did it in 1962, during his Amateur Career, after which he turned to pro (thus not being allowed to participate in Grand Slam Tournaments, only in Pro Slam). When the Open Era began, Laver achieved his second Grand Slam, in 1969.
Rod Laver’s played in 40 Grand Slam tournaments (both in his Amateur career and his Open career) and in 15 Pro Slam tournaments (only during his Professional career).
Out of the 40 Grand Slam tournaments, Laver managed to win 11: 1960 Australian, 1961 Wimbledon, 1962 Australian, 1962 French, 1962 Wimbledon, 1962 US, 1968 Wimbledon, 1969 Australian Open, 1969 French Open, 1969 Wimbledon and 1969 US Open. He also reached the finals but ended as runner up in another 6 Grand Slam out of the 40 he played in: 1959 Wimbledon, 1960 Wimbledon, 1960 US, 1961 Australian, 1961 US and 1968 French Open.
In the 15 Pro Slam tournaments Rod Laver played in, he won 8 and reached the final in another 6. The Pro Slams Laver won are: 1964 US Pro, 1964 Wembley Pro, 1965 Wembley Pro, 1966 US Pro, 1966 Wembley Pro, 1967 USPro, 1967 French Pro and 1967 Wembley Pro. He got 2nd place in: 1963 US Pro, 1963 French Pro, 1964 French Pro, 1965 US Pro, 1965 French Pro and 1966 French Pro.
Laver was inducted in the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1981, in the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1985 and was classified by the National Trust of Australia (who appealed to the general public’s opinion) as an Australian National Living Treasure alongside other world-renown Australians.
1. Roger Federer
We’ve decided that no one would fit the number 1 spot on our list than Roger Federer. He’s a living legend and, in our opinion, the best out of today’s generation of tennis players. Ranked No. 2 in ATP’s rankings in October, Federer’s latest No. 1 ranking was in 9 June 2012 and lasted 17 weeks until 4 November 2012.
Record-setter and Grand Slam winner
Federer’s first time reaching the No. 1 spot in the ATP rankings was in 2 February 2004 when, in full dominance, he stayed for a full 237 weeks, until 17 August 2008. His total number of weeks as number 1 adds up to 302, making him the player with the most weeks as No. 1 ATP. He also is the tennis player with the most consecutive weeks as No. 1: 237.
Federer’s records don’t stop here: he won 17 Grand Slam tournament singles titles, is the only player to have reached every Grand Slam final for at least five times, reached Wimbledon Finals for an astounding number of 10 times, managed to achieve a career Grand Slam (he’s one of the 7 to have done it so far, 4 in the Open Era), he is also sharing two Open Era records for the most titles won at Wimbledon, 7 titles, – shared with Pete Sampras and at the US Open, 5 titles, – shared with Jimmy Connors and Pete Sampras.
Federer has won 17 out of the 66 Grand Slam Tournaments he played in: 2003 Wimbledon, 2004 Australian Open, 2004 Wimbledon, 2004 US Open, 2005 Wimbledon, 2005 US Open, 2006 Australian Open, 2006 Wimbledon, 2006 US Open, 2007 Australian Open, 2007 Wimbledon, 2007 US Open, 2008 US Open, 2009 French Open, 2009 Wimbledon, 2010 Australian Open and 2012 Wimbledon.
Federer also got to the finals in another 9 Grand Slam tournaments, but ended up as runner-up: 2006 French Open, 2007 French Open, 2008 French Open, 2008 Wimbledon, 2009 Australian Open, 2009 US Open, 2011 French Open, 2014 Wimbledon, 2015 Wimbledon and 2015 US Open.
Federer reached a total of 38 semifinals at Major events overall, and out of these 38 he played in 23 consecutive Grand Slam Tournaments: from the Wimbledon 2004 until the 2010 Australian Open. And out of these 23 Semi Finals reaches, he advanced to the finals in 21, winning 14 of them.
Federer, throughout his career, has reached all 4 Major Finals in the same year 3 times: in 2006, 2007 and 2009.
According to Jimmy Connors, our number 5 in the list: “In an era of specialists, you’re either a clay court specialist, a grass court specialist, or a hard court specialist… or you’re Roger Federer.”.
Earlier this year, Federer managed to climb up another level, reaching his 1,000 win (against Milos Raonic in the finals of the Brisbane International). He joined alongside Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl as the only three men to ever achieve this in the Open Era.
There are still great things to expect from Federer, nothing is impossible for him!