Contact Us

Five Greatest grass-court players of all time

In this blog, we will take a look at the greatest five players on grass ever, with respect to parameters like titles, longevity and dominance over the years.

Last updated: 23.07.2020
Five Greatest grass-court players of all time | Sports Social Blog

Grass season is a very special time of the year for tennis players and fans alike. In fact, the US and Australian Open used to be contested on grass. A time when tennis was known as lawn tennis, played exclusively on grass. Unfortunately, this is a thing of the past and the grass season is a very brief one. 

The season is nestled into just four weeks of the summer, culminating with the historic Wimbledon Championships. Apart from Wimbledon, the Queen's Club Tournament and the Halle Open are the only other reputed tournaments played on grass these days.

Grass-courts are a lot faster than Hard-courts or Clay-courts and also produce a bit of variable bounce. Rallies are usually much faster on grass-courts, and players with big serves and good volleying skills usually do well on grass. 

Some play for these relatively few weeks on grass. Others try to pretend they don't exist at all. Regardless, it's a nice change of pace to watch a surface that encourages and rewards aggressive play. 

The current true measure of success in tennis is how well a player performs at Wimbledon. And the discussion about the greatest grass-court players of all time can inspire lively debates. Here's our take on the top five grass-court players of all time:

5. Boris Becker:

One of the most popular global sport-persons in the 1980s was Boris Becker. With his blonde hair, thighs like tree trunks, and a thunderous serve, Becker won Wimbledon in 1985 at a tender age of 17 years. 

The German was a crowd favourite with his driving volleys and great athleticism on the court.  Becker had a very potent single-handed backhand, but his forehand was inconsistent. But grass is a surface on which serve and volley will get you deep into the match. And he was a master of that art.


Becker reached the Wimbledon final on seven different occasions, which include five times in six years [1985-90]. 

His second and third Wimbledon crown came in 1986 and 1989 respectively. He did not win the Wimbledon title even once in the 1990s though, as Pete Sampras was in his absolute prime throughout this decade. 

Becker had a winning ratio of 82.3% on grass and won seven grass titles in his career. He played in a very competitive era of tennis and remains the greatest tennis player Germany has ever produced.

4. John McEnroe:

Very few tennis players can match the talent and temperament of John McEnroe. He was a left-handed player and possessed arguably the greatest volley of all time.

McEnroe's net skills were even good enough to keep a legendary baseliner like Bjorn Borg on his toes.

The American won his maiden Wimbledon title in 1981 by beating Bjorn Borg, a year after losing an emphatic battle in the final against the same rival. He also demolished Jimmy Connors in the 1984 final, eventually finishing with three Wimbledon titles. 

McEnroe demolished contemporaries like Connors and Ivan Lendl. He had a winning ratio of 85.8% on grass and managed to win eight titles on the surface.

3. Bjorn Borg:

Bjorn Borg won five consecutive Wimbledon titles from 1976 to 1980 - not bad at all for someone who was a strict baseliner and played better on clay. 

The Mercurial Swede's record has not been bettered yet, but what is most astonishing is that Borg could have added a lot more titles to his tally, if it wasn't for the early retirement at an age of 27 years. 

He had decent volleying skills for a baseliner and also committed very few unforced errors. Borg bettered John McEnroe in an epic five-setter in the Wimbledon final of 1980. Also, he made it to the sixth straight final in 1981 but lost to his American rival this time around.

Borg had a winning ratio of 84.7% on grass and had six career titles on the surface.

2. Roger Federer:

Widely acknowledged as the greatest tennis player of all time, Roger Federer has won the Wimbledon title on eight separate occasions. Grass remains his most preferred surface by far.

Federer first burst onto the scene with an emphatic victory over the legendary Pete Sampras in the 2001 Wimbledon fourth round. And as fate would have it -- Sampras never won the Wimbledon title after this. 

Federer is not a typical serve and volley player and plays primarily from the baseline. However, he is good at the net and capable of winning points with volleys. 

Federer won five straight Wimbledon titles from 2003 to 2007. He played three epic finals-- two against arch-rival Rafael Nadal in 2007 and 2008, winning the former and losing the latter. And the third came in 2019 against Djokovic. He failed to capitalise on several match-points and ultimately lost to his Serbian. 

He has a career record of 16 career titles on grass and has a winning ratio of 86% on grass.

1. Pete Sampras:

There has never been a better grass-court player than Pete Sampras. 

Sampras' serve remains the greatest shot in the history of the game, and his volleying skills were pretty special too. His court coverage was extremely good and possessed the intensity of a true champion.

Sampras completely dominated the proceedings in Wimbledon in the 1990s and won seven titles in eight years from 1993 to 2000. 

Sampras beat fellow greats Andre Agassi, Boris Becker and Jim Courier on grass to build an emphatic legacy on the surface. His groundstrokes were a treat to watch on the centre court in London.

Sampras won 10 career titles on grass and had a winning ratio of 83.5% on the surface.

Chase Your Sport

Stay up-to-date on the latest sports news, stats, expert analysis and trends, including cricket, football, wrestling, tennis, basketball, Formula One and more. Find previews, schedules, results of upcoming events, and fantasy tips on Chase Your Sport.