Most Successful Players in Tennis History
Tennis is a sport that has gained significant popularity over the years. The sport is thousands of years old, dating back to ancient Greece. Tennis came from a game called “paume” that originated in France. The game was originally played with the hand, and developed into “Jeu de paume,” which was played with rackets. The first tennis racket was invented in Italy. Tennis balls underwent changes over the years as well. The first tennis balls were made of wood. Later, cellulose was added to tennis balls to make them bouncier.
Tennis was initially played as a form of entertainment among monks, but soon became a game reserved for royalty and the upper class. The game even came to be known as royal tennis in Australia and the United Kingdom. During the 1530s, King Henry VIII built a tennis court at Hampton Court Palace. The original court is no longer in existence, but it was rebuilt in 1625. People still use the tennis court today.
In the 19th century, Wimbledon became one of the most prominent places to play tennis. The All England Croquet Club was established in Wimbledon in 1870. Four years later, the first tennis tournament was played in the United States. Brothers Clarence and Joseph Clark played in the tournament. In 1881, the first US Open was played.
As the game of tennis has progressed, there have been several athletes who have made their mark on the game. These athletes have made tennis more exciting to watch. Today, multiple talented tennis players prove that tennis is a game for all social classes.
Here are some of history’s most famous tennis players.
Ken Roswell was born in Sydney, Australia in 1934. He became a professional tennis player in 1957 and had a long career, retiring in 1980. Roswell won $1,602,700 as a professional player. He earned 133 career titles, including two US Open, two French, and four Australian Grand Slam titles. Ken Roswell was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame the year he retired. Roswell was known for being particularly agile. He had an impressive volley and backhand.
Andre Agassi has 61 career titles under her belt, including eight Grand Slam titles: two US Open, one Wimbledon, four Australian and one French. Agassi won over $31,000,000 during his career before retiring in 2006. He was born in Las Vegas and currently resides there. Andre Agassi became an Olympic gold medalist in 1996 and was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 2011. Agassi got his professional start in the 1980s and was known for his brash attitude and long hair. He made tennis more popular among the younger generation since he looked more like a rock star than an athlete. Agassi’s career spanned 20 years. He was known for his serve returns and groundstroke. He is also known for the work he does in the community. Andre Agassi is married to tennis star Steffi Graf, who is a legend in her own right.
John McEnroe is a long-time resident of New York City but was born in Wiesbaden, West Germany in 1959. He became a pro tennis player in 1978 and retired from the game in 1992. McEnroe’s career prize money amounts to more than $12,000,000, and he has 105 career titles under his belt. John McEnroe was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 1999. He is still well known for his bad boy attitude on the court. He was very competitive, and a sore loser, which made some tennis fans love him and others hate him. Tennis enthusiasts still remember his battles with Jimmy Connors and Bjorn Borg during the Wimbledon finals in 1980. McEnroe is also famous for making creative shots and moving quickly on the tennis court.
Pete Sampras is a native of Potomac, Maryland, and was born in 1971. Before retiring in 2002, Sampras won an impressive $34,280,489 in prize money and earned 64 career titles. Pete Sampras also won several Grand Slam titles, including seven Wimbledon, five US Open and two Australian. He became a professional tennis player in 1988 and received induction into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 2007. Tennis enthusiasts often question Sampras’ ranking as one of the greatest tennis players of all time. However, Sampras was considered to be the best tennis player of all when he retired. He is known for playing best on grass and hard courts. For six consecutive years, he was ranked #1 in the world. He is also known for his tennis battles with Andre Agassi.
Venus Williams and her younger sister Serena Williams have been taking the tennis world by storm since the 1990s. Venus was born in California in 1980 and turned pro in 1994. She has won over $40,000,000 in prize money and currently resides in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Williams has two US Open titles and five Wimbledon titles and is still playing professionally. Some fans believe if Venus didn’t have to compete against her sister, she’d have earned more Grand Slam titles. Venus and Serena played against each other nine times; Serena won seven of the nine matches. Venus has stated that Wimbledon is her favorite court. She’s won five titles at Wimbledon, the most recent one in 2008. In 2014, she was ranked number 47 in the world after taking a break due to hip and knee injuries.
Billie Jean King
Billie Jean King is a Long Beach, California native, but currently resides in both New York and Chicago. She started playing tennis professionally in 1968 and retired in 1983. Four years later, she was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame. Her prize money totals $1,966,487, and she has 129 career titles. King has won four US Open titles, six Wimbledon, one Australian and one French Grand Slam. King is also famous for her feud with Bobby Riggs in 1973. She gave women more confidence to be athletic when she defeated Riggs. Billie Jean King was one of the most famous female tennis players in the 1960s and 1970s.
Serena Williams has long been noted as one of tennis’ greatest players, male or female. She turned pro in 1995, a year after her older sister Venus started playing professionally. The two have been dominating women’s tennis since the 1990s. Serena has earned over $88,000,000 in prize money and 72 career titles. Serena’s win at the 2017 Australian Open is perhaps her most impressive victory. She was pregnant with her daughter at the time. Sports Illustrated named Williams Sportsperson of the Year in 2015. She has also won Laureus Sportswoman of the Year in 2003, 2010, 2016 and 2018. Serena has also become a pop culture icon. Serena has two documentaries: Serena: The Other Side of Greatness and Being Serena. She has also appeared on TV shows. Her appearances include a guest spot on MADtv, ER and America’s Next Top Model. She also appeared in the music video for Beyonce’s single “Sorry” from her famed Lemonade album.
Most recently, Serena Williams is known for displaying grace and good sportsmanship at the 2018 US Open. Tennis fans admired her graciousness when she encouraged the crowd to stop booing after Osaka won the Wimbledon title. Serena received a code violation because her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou was giving her signals from the sidelines. Williams also asserted that she is treated more harshly as a tennis player because she is a woman. She demanded an apology from head umpire Carlos Ramos. Serena is already considered the greatest tennis player of the Open Era by many; this incident increased fan admiration.
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