Bhubaneswar: The game of tennis tests the grit and determination like none other. With fitness being the main key to succeed, motivation, inspiration and most of all perseverance to continue pursuing your target is what matters the most in the game.
The world has seen many legendary athletes in the arena of tennis over the years. Down the line we have witnessed some high voltage clash of titans to rise and fall of legends.
Touted as a royal game demanding great physical agility and offering intense competition, it was after the open era that the game welcomed pros and amateurs alike since 1968 and subsequently with the formation of Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) merit based ranking system in 1973 we have seen emergence of great tennis players.
In men’s tennis, from 1973 to the current world number one, 26 tennis stars have ascended the throne. Many have had a handful of weeks of being on the perch while some others had a considerable reign over the game.
Most recently we have seen some fierce fighting for the top most position with competition between the four best in present tennis era namely Andy Murray, Noval Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal being the best.
Andy Murray: The rise of the current world number one Andy Murray is nothing less than a magnificent love story. After eleven years and 798 matches as a professional the Briton finally conquered the top spot owing to his sheer determination, sacrifices, and perseverance to persist no matter what. While many others would have given up Murray was not the kind. All the time, the 29 year old has had heart breaking losses in close final encounters but he always kept returning stronger. That’s what paid him off. After reaching the semis of 12 of his last thirteen major tournaments points rallied up the line for the Briton to grab the top spot recently but it remains to be seen how long he can keep it.
Novak Djokovic: When it comes to preceding world number one players none have been more vociferous than the Serbian Novak Djokovic.
Born in 1987 at Belgrade the Yugoslavian turned pro in 2003. With a series of stunning wins the Serbian grabbed the headlines in tennis world all of a sudden grabbing 66 career titles so far. He has 12 grand slams so far to his name with 6 Australian Open titles being the most dominant sprint of them all.
Roger Federer: Considered the greatest ever tennis player of all times, the Swiss star has been through goods and bads of the game. He is considered as the most adapting player. Having played with the likes of Sampras, Rafael, Djokovic he has tasted the spirit of the game like no one other. Having touched different generations he has a blistering 88 career titles to his name with an all-time record of 17 grand slams including a stunning 7 Wimbledon titles. Federer has the most notable record of having stood the test of time with an all-time record 302 weeks as the world number one tennis player. He ruled like an undisputed king for 237 consecutive weeks in the game more than anybody.
Rafael Nadal : With 14 grand slams including 9 French open titles the fiery spaniard is the most elegant player of the game. Known for his relentless acrobatics and scenes of never dying attitude Nadal is the greatest clay court player of all time owing to his supreme dominance when he is at his best. He is the second male player after Agassi to complete the singles Career Golden Slam. In 2011 Nadal was named the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year.
While these four may have ruled the game since last decade but ever since 1973 when for the first time the rankings based merit system was developed so far 26 other players have remained on top. Some are considered the greatest others may just lag behind but nonetheless best in what they do.
Greats like Pete Sampras known for his once unachievable 7 Wimbledon titles, to Andre Agassi the most charismatic and benevolent player in the history of the game to Jimmy Connors for his insurmountable 109 titles and a humongous 1256 wins in 1535 matches have enjoyed success at the top.
Others like Bjorn Borg known for his stardom, John McEnroe for his artistry and volleying skills, Ivan Lendl, Boris Becker, Mats Wilander, John David Newcombe, Ilie Năstase, Andy Roddick, Gustavo Kuerten, Patrcik Rafter, Carlos Moya, Yevgeny Cafelnikov, Marcelo Rios, Thomas muster, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Llyeton Hewitt, Marat Safin have graced this beautiful game and went on to grab the top echelon.