There’s certainly a debate as to who is the top American men’s tennis player of all time. Do you rank a player based on the longevity of his career? What about players who burned bright but quickly faded? How about those whose off-court celebrity topped their actual performance?

In this Betway Insider top 10, we’ll try to determine the best of the best as opposed to those who were simply very good. Many tennis fans will no doubt have their own top 10 opinions since this is one debate that can be very divisive.

What American male tennis player has the most Grand Slam titles?

Pete Sampras’ 14 titles at Grand Slam events are the most won by any American men’s tennis player.

Who was the last American man to win a tennis Grand Slam?

Surprisingly, the last American man to win a Grand Slam event was Andy Roddick all the way back in 2003, when he was the U.S. Open champion.

Who is the greatest American men’s tennis player of all time?

Not to spoil this list… but Pete Sampras’ 14 Grand Slam titles make him an undeniable choice for this honor. Second-place finisher Jimmy Connors has the most ATP tournament titles of all time.

Famous American Male Tennis Players 2023

Taylor Fritz, Frances Tiafoe, and Tommy Paul are among the most famous American men’s tennis players in 2023.

Honorable Mentions

Several talented men’s tennis stars did not make this list of the top 10 Americans. Those deserving of honorable mentions here include Brian Teacher, Roscoe Tanner, Johan Kriek, and Vitas Gerulaitis.

Ranking the Top 10 Greatest U.S. Men’s Tennis Players in History

  1. Michael Chang

Years Active: 1987 to 2003
ATP Titles: 34
Grand Slam Titles: 1
Highest World Ranking: No. 2

A 17-year-old Michael Chang first made his mark on the tennis world in a big way back in 1989. Playing in a loaded 1989 French Open whose seeds included Ivan Lendl, Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg, Andre Agassi, and Jimmy Connors, the teenage Chang came away the champion.

Chang’s stunning victory over world No. 1 Ivan Lendl in the final made him the youngest man in history to win a Grand Slam event at 17 years, 3 months, and 20 days. He also became the first player of Asian descent in Grand Slam history to win a major.

Chang had a stellar remainder of his career -- rising as high as No. 2 in the world rankings. He returned to the Roland Garros final six years later in 1995 but lost. He also made two Australian Open finals and the 1996 U.S. Open final.

  1. Stan Smith

Years Active: 1964 to 1985
ATP Titles: 64 (48 in Open Era)
Grand Slam Titles: 2
Highest World Ranking: No. 1

If this list were based solely on societal recognition, Stan Smith would rank much higher on it. After all, he is the namesake of perhaps the most famous “tennis shoe” of the last 30 years. On the court, Smith more than held his own and at one time was ranked No. 1 in the world.

Smith is the current president of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.  He also won two Grand Slam events, including a famous five-set victory over Ilie Nastase in a battle of world No. 1 vs. No. 2 at the 1972 Wimbledon Championships.

  1. Arthur Ashe

Years Active: 1959 to 1980
ATP Titles: 76 (44 in Open Era)
Grand Slam Titles: 2
Highest World Ranking: No. 2

A former world No. 2, Arthur Ashe won the 1968 U.S. Open to become the first African American man to win a Grand Slam event. He also became the first African American to win the Australian Open in 1970 and the first black man to win at Wimbledon in 1975. 

Ashe competed in four Australian Open tournaments -- reaching the finals each time. He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1985.

  1. Andy Roddick

Years Active: 2000 to 2015
ATP Titles: 32
Grand Slam Titles: 1
Highest World Ranking: No. 1

Former world No. 1 Andy Roddick was one of tennis’ winningest men of the 2000s. He also happened to have tremendously bad luck in Grand Slam finals.

Roddick defeated Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero to win his first and only career major title when he broke through as a 21-year-old to win the 2003 U.S. Open. He would make four more major finals, facing tennis legend Roger Federer each time. His loss at Wimbledon in 2009 was particularly heartbreaking, since the historic final not only went five sets but required 30 games to decide the final set.

Federer won that classic 2009 match.

  1. Jim Courier

Years Active: 1988 to 2000, 2005
ATP Titles: 23
Grand Slam Titles: 4
Highest World Ranking: No. 1

Former world No. 1 Jim Courier was nearly untouchable for a stretch between 1991 and 1993. During a span of 10 Grand Slam tournaments, he reached nine quarterfinals, six finals, and won four titles. Most notable, perhaps, was his first major win, when he defeated fellow American Andre Agassi in a thrilling five-set 1991 French Open final. Courier won the final two sets of that match to complete his comeback.

Why isn’t Courier ranked higher on this list? Although he has a 12-12 career record against Michael Chang, his 4-16 career record against Pete Sampras might be more telling as to the extent of his greatness.

  1. Bill Tilden

Years Active: 1912 to 1946
ATP Titles: 138
Grand Slam Titles: 10
Highest World Ranking: No. 1

A former world No. 1 from a bygone era, Bill Tilden was a 10-time Grand Slam winner. That number would have been higher had tournaments such as the French Open been more accessible to Americans in the 1920s and 1930s.

Nonetheless, Tilden won the U.S. Open six years in a row from 1920 to 1925, establishing himself (alongside Babe Ruth and Joe Lewis) as one of the three premier U.S. athletes of the 1920s. Despite playing in such a different era than everyone else on this list, Tilden certainly deserves to be recognized among history’s greatest male U.S. tennis players.

  1. Andre Agassi

Years Active: 1986 to 2006
ATP Titles: 60
Grand Slam Titles: 8
Highest World Ranking: No. 1

Yet another former world No. 1 (notice a trend?), Andre Agassi was an eight-time major winner who completed the career Grand Slam – making him one of only five men to accomplish that feat. He also became an Olympic gold medalist by defeating Spaniard Sergi Bruguera in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

A master of the hard court, Agassi won four Australian Opens and two U.S. Opens. Shockingly, his first Grand Slam was a victory at Wimbledon in 1992, when he defeated Goran Ivanisevic in a topsy-turvy five-setter. Agassi battled back to win the fifth set after a 6-1 loss in the fourth.

Agassi has certainly earned his spot among the top U.S. men’s tennis players of all time.

  1. John McEnroe

Years Active: 1978 to 1994 (also competed in doubles until 2006)
ATP Titles: 77
Grand Slam Titles: 7
Highest World Ranking: No. 1

While Agassi might have more career Grand Slam titles (eight) than John McEnroe (seven), “Johnny Mac” is a tennis icon. From his commentary for ESPN and his gushing relationship with his brother (and fellow tennis player) Patrick, to his heated rivalries with Jimmy Connors and Bjorn Borg, McEnroe has been a ubiquitous figure in the game for 45 years.

McEnroe’s 1980 season was particularly memorable. He lost a dazzling Wimbledon final to Bjorn Borg -- dropping the dramatic fourth-set tiebreak 16-18 before falling 6-8 in the final set. He would meet Borg again that year at the U.S. Open. After winning the first two sets, McEnroe lost the third and fourth. Suddenly, it looked as though he would choke again. No, that wasn’t going to happen, as McEnroe won a memorable fifth set to claim the championship.

McEnroe is arguably history’s most famous American men’s tennis player.

  1. Jimmy Connors

Years Active: 1972-1996
ATP Titles: 109
Grand Slam Titles: 8
Highest World Ranking: No. 1

Jimmy Connors fell in four French Open semifinals, and Roland Garros is the only major title missing from his bid for a career Grand Slam. That unfortunate fact aside, Connors is one of the winningest players in the history of the sport.

Connors made the U.S. Open semifinals every year from 1974 to 1985. He reached seven U.S. Open finals and won five of them. He even cracked the semifinals as a 40-year-old in 1991, falling to a far younger Jim Courier, who had beaten Pete Sampras in quarterfinals.

And speaking of Sampras…

  1. Pete Sampras

Years Active: 1988 to 2003
ATP Titles: 64
Grand Slam Titles: 14
Highest World Ranking: No. 1

Pete Sampras is the greatest American men’s tennis player of all time. He has the most Grand Slam event championships of any American man with 14 total. Like Jimmy Connors, he is only one French Open title short of a career Grand Slam.

The 1990s were an era of great parody in tennis, but not when it came to Wimbledon. From 1993 to 2000, Sampras won seven of eight Wimbledon titles. His only premature exit resulted from a shocking loss to Richard Krajicek in the 1996 quarterfinals – a match often remembered as one of Wimbledon’s greatest upsets.

Parameters of Rankings

These rankings are based on each player’s total wins, each player’s legacy in the sport of tennis, the author’s subjective opinion, and each player’s career longevity.


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