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The history of modern tennis dates back to the middle of the 19th century. Already in 1877, the first Wimbledon tournament took place, since 1900 it has played the Davis Cup team.
In the middle of the last century, tennis was divided into amateur and professional. It was with her that the countdown of modern tennis and its stars began.
The greatest players will be discussed below. And only a few managed to collect a full Grand Slam (to win all 4 championships during the season).
Rafael Nadal (born 1986). Nadal's sports career began in 2001. Since then, this Spaniard has been able to win the Career Golden Helmet. Nadal won all the Slam tournaments (majors) in different years, and also won the Olympics. And all this in singles. Only Nadal was able to win the so-called Red Helmet in 2010. This is the name of the unbeaten streak of three consecutive won tournaments of the Masters series and the French Open. The already legendary Spanish tennis player holds the record for the number of matches won in a row on one surface. From April 8, 2005 to May 20, 2007, Nadal scored 81 victories in a row on clay. It is noteworthy that that series also included two victories at Roland Garros. Nadal has already won 7 victories in this clay tournament, breaking Bjorn Borg's record. In 2008, the Spaniard in the Wimbledon final won against his principal rival Roger Federer 6: 4, 6: 4, 6: 7, 6: 7, 9: 7. That match lasted 4 hours 48 minutes, a record for the tournament. Thanks to the victory, Nadal was able to become the first tennis player after Borg, who won both Roland Garros and Wimbledon during the year. A year later, Federer will repeat this achievement, and a year later - again Nadal. In 2010, he managed another achievement. Nadal was able to win three Grand Slam tournaments in a row during the year, which was only possible for Rod Laver in 1969. There are 11 Grand Slam victories in the tennis player's collection of awards. Nadal at the age of 19 was able to become the second racket of the world, repeating the achievement of Boris Becker. In 2008, he became the world's best tennis player. Even an asteroid is named after Nadal.
Bjorn Borg (born 1956). The active career of the Swedish athlete lasted from 1973 to 1993. During this time, Björg won 11 Grand Slam titles. However, out of four majors, only two obeyed him - Roland Garros and Wimbledon. In Australia, Borg performed only once in general, reaching the third round in 1974. In the US Open, the Swede played regularly, but was able to reach the final four times. There he was stopped twice by local players, Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe. But Borg shone at Roland Garros, where he won 6 times, and at Wimbledon (5 wins). Borg remains the only player in history who was able to win three times in Paris and London. In total, Borg won 77 tournaments in singles, and for 109 weeks he held the title of the first racket of the world.
Margaret Smith-Court (born 1942). The great Australian tennis player was able to win as many as 24 Grand Slam titles, but only 11 of them were in the Open Era. But it was Smith Court who became the first woman in 1970 to win the Grand Slam. The Australian became the only athlete to win the Grand Slam in two categories at once. In addition to singles, it was also mixed doubles. During her rich career, Court has played 85 times in the major finals in various categories, a record shared by Martina Navratilova. Court has been able to win more than half of the Grand Slam tournaments in which she competed in singles (24 out of 47). In total, Margaret has 92 singles titles. Also, the tennis player is the owner of another achievement - she won each major in each category at least twice. At the end of her glorious career, Smith Court became a minister of the Pentecostal Church.
Rod Laver (born 1938). Although he was overtaken by Roy Emerson in the number of won Grand Slam tournaments (12 to 11), it was Laver who is better known. After all, this is the only man who was able to collect the Grand Slam after the beginning of the Open Era. In addition, Laver won 4 major tournaments of the season back in 1962, although he was still an amateur at that time. Already at 21, the promising Australian made it to the Wimbledon final, where he lost. Then there were 16 more finals and 11 victories in them. Laver successfully represented his country in the Davis Cup. From 1959 to 1973, thanks to him, 5 victories were won in this prestigious team competition. The year 1969 was special in Laver's career, when he managed to win the Grand Slam. Then he shone on the courts, winning 17 tournaments out of 32 in which he took part. Laver won 106 of 122 matches then. The Australian's active career ended only in 1977. In total, he managed to win 184 tournaments, however, only 47 fell on the professional era. Laver was distinguished by universalism, he was perfectly prepared, both physically and tactically. He was one of the first tennis players to actively use top-spin in their arsenal. Today Rod Laver is officially recognized as a legend in Australian sports and an asteroid is also named after him.
Pete Sampras (born 1971). The legendary American turned professional at 17. A unique case, this great tennis player won 14 Grand Slam tournaments, but Roland Garros never submitted to him. In France, Sampras made it to the semifinals only once, where he lost in three sets to the future champion, Evgeny Kafelnikov. But at Wimbledon, Sampras managed to become a real legend. The tennis player managed to surpass the Borg indicators and win in London as much as 7 times. From 1993 to 2000, only once, in 1996, Sampras ceded his throne to the King of Wimbledon. It is noteworthy that in 2001 Sampras in the fourth round lost to a new rising star, 19-year-old Roger Federer with a score of 6: 7, 7: 6, 4: 6, 7: 6, 5: 7. Thus, the old king allegedly transferred the keys to the tournament to the new one. Throughout his career, Sampras was number one in the ranking for 286 weeks, this record will be broken only in 2012 by the same Federer. In singles, the American won 64 tournaments. Sampras had his own special style. He was characterized by a powerful confident serve and an aggressive approach to the net. The tennis player played excellently since the summer, he was distinguished by his signature smash. But this style, great for fast grass, was not good for slow soil. This led to the failure of Sampras at Roland Garros.
Serena Williams (born 1981). The active tennis player's career is still ongoing, so she can still replenish her impressive collection of her trophies. When the star Venus Williams emerged on the courts in 2000-2001, many experts noted that her younger sister would have an even more glorious career. Already in 2002-2003, Serena assembled a non-classical Grand Slam. She was able to win all 4 tournaments in singles in a row, but not within one year. In total, Serena's collection currently has 15 Grand Slam titles, with 13 more, along with her sister, she won in doubles. Of her 19 Major Finals, Serena has won 15, while losing twice to her sister Venus. Truth and 6 victories over it and won. It is Serena who is the only tennis player who was able to win the Golden Helmet in both singles and doubles. Neither the legendary Steffi Graf, nor any of the men succeeded in this. Serena is distinguished by powerful aggressive tennis. She literally sweeps her rivals off the court. She does not hesitate to throw a scandal in order to have a psychological impact on the judges and the opponent.
Roger Federer (born 1981). This tennis player is the most titled in modern history. The Swiss is the only one who managed to win two Grand Slam tournaments five times in a row. Wimbledon in 2003-2007 and US Open 2004-2008 submitted to him. In total, Federer has 17 victories at the majors in his piggy bank. Winning at Roland Garros in 2009 made the Swiss athlete only sixth in history to win all four Grand Slam tournaments. Federer was the first after Agassi to do it on different surfaces. The Swiss has another record - he played in 24 Grand Slam tournaments. 10 of them entered the continuous streak, of which Roger won 8. In 2012, Roger became only the third tennis player in history to play 8 times in the Wimbledon final, he became also the third in history to win this championship 7 times. Federer was also one of the oldest Grand Slam winners, winning the championship at the age of almost 31. In 2012, the Swiss played his 1,000 career matches, winning his 2,000 set. For most of Federer's career, there was no strong tennis player to challenge him. Nadal is 5 years younger than him. Federer played 8 major finals with the Spaniard, winning only twice at Wimbledon. Four times in the finals Andy Roddick surrendered, three times - Andy Murray. Federer holds the records of staying in the first line of the rating - in 2004-1007 he occupied this place for 161 weeks without a break, in total Federer has been in this status for more than 235 weeks. In the near future, only Nadal will be able to surpass the legendary Swiss. Federer is distinguished by smart tennis, he has no weak points. Roger can do everything that his victories on surfaces of any type indicate.
Chris Evert (born 1954). If for men Nadal can be called the real ground king, then for women Chris Evert can be considered such. Of her 18 Grand Slam victories, she won 10 on clay, with seven at Roland Garros. The remaining three came from the US Championship, which had such coverage in those years. The first and last victory at the majors was in Paris. The clay courts have also given Evert the longest winning streak in Grand Slam tournaments. For four years in a row, the American won the US Open. But the tennis player was still quite versatile. During her career, she managed to win at all majors, five victories were won on the grass. The American won three times at home on hard. Evert became famous for her two-handed backhand. The fact is that, speaking among juniors, Chris was still quite small and weak, which was reflected in the use of such a technique. The graceful tennis player was loved by the press and the public. For his calmness and restraint, Evert was even nicknamed the Snow Maiden. In the late 1970s, the athlete got herself a worthy rival - Martina Navratilova. Their confrontation became epic in women's tennis. In total, Chris Evert won 157 singles titles. Moreover, she never lost in the first rounds of the Grand Slam tournaments. The personal life of the athlete was not so successful; even the legendary tennis player Jimmy Connors is listed among her many novels.
Martina Navratilova (born 1956). While Evert's main victories were at Roland Garros, Navratilova conquered Wimbledon. It was there that her first and last victory at the Grand Slam tournaments took place. Of its 18 majors, exactly half were in London. At the same time, Navratilova won 6 victories in a row there from 1982 to 1987. She managed to win three more times in Australia when there was turf. The athlete did not submit to the Calendar Helmet, but she has another record on her account - six victories at the Majors in a row. The period between Wimbledon 1983 and the US Championship 1984 was unique. Navratilova lost 14 more Grand Slam finals. Martina's career was marked by a huge rivalry with Chris Evert. In total, they played 80 matches among themselves, of 10 in the major finals. Seven of them stayed with Martina. In total, during her career, Navratilova won 167 victories in singles, this is an absolute record for both men and women. For 331 weeks she was the first racket in the world. And Navratilova shone in doubles. She won 177 titles there, 41 of them in Grand Slam tournaments. The last major victory came to Navratilova at the age of 50! In the USSR, the successes of this tennis player were silent for a long time, although in the 1980s she had no equal. The fact is that at the age of 18, the Czech athlete emigrated to the United States. Martina also became one of the first athletes to openly admit her homosexuality.
Steffi Graf (born 1969). In 1988, the German tennis player did the impossible - she won the Grand Slam. In addition, that year she also won Olympic gold. Steffi Graf became a worthy successor to Martina Navratilova. Having lost to her in the major finals twice, the German won 4 wins. In 1995-1996, the German woman also won all the majors in which she participated. Then she missed the Australian Open of her own accord. In 1988-1990, Graf won 8 of the 9 Grand Slam tournaments played, losing to Arante Sanchez. In 1988, at the peak of her form, the German won the fastest victory in history in the major finals. With a score of 6: 0, 6: 0, the Soviet athlete Natalya Zvereva was defeated in just 34 minutes. In total, the German scored 107 victories in singles, of which 22 in Grand Slam tournaments (9 lost finals). She was number one for 377 weeks. The German is a versatile player who did not care what surface to play on. He is the only tennis player who has won each Grand Slam tournament at least 4 times. The Graf has the most victories at Wimbledon - 7, and the first and last Major was at Roland Garros. The rival of the German woman could be Monica Seles, but in 1993, a crazy fan, Gunther Parhe, stabbed her with a knife. Finally, Monica never recovered from that blow, and the German woman did not have worthy opponents. The Earl's reputation throughout her career was spotless, she did not scandal, did not start whirlwind romances. In 1991, unexpectedly for everyone, a German woman married the legendary tennis player Andre Agassi, the couple has two children.