Tennis

John McEnroe and Martina Navratilova among Wimbledon greats

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With just under two weeks until the Wimbledon Championships kicks off it's only fitting to take a look at some of the most influential players to have ever graced the courts...

John McEnroe

If McEnroe was ever playing a game of tennis you'd definitely know about it with his infamous "you cannot be serious" slogan being bellowed out on court at every opportunity.

It is fair to say that this American's fiery temper won him no favours on court but it did win him fans, who couldn't get enough of seeing him in the middle of a quarrel whether it be with officials or umpires.

What is clear though is despite throwing a racquet about on court almost every game his temper didn't overshadow the fact that he had exceptional talent. Throughout his career the former world No. 1 won a total of nine Grand Slam titles with three of those being Wimbledon.

As a reward for his continued contribution to tennis McEnroe was credited with an induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1999.

Since retiring from the game McEnroe has remained an active member of the tennis association and even continues to play in the ATP Champions Tour. The main reason behind this however is probably so he can still relive those infamous rivalries with the likes of Bjorn Borg and Ivan Lendl.

Martina Navratilova

This former world No. 1 is without a doubt one of the greatest female players of all time. She broke the boundaries of women's tennis with both her talent and aggression.

Billie Jean King hailed her ability when she claimed in 2006 that she is "the greatest singles, doubles and mixed doubles players who's ever lived."

This statement couldn't be truer since her statistics reflect just that. She won Wimbledon a record nine times and accumulated a spectacular 57 major titles throughout her career.

The 57-year-old was world. No 1 for a total of 332 weeks in singles, and a record 237 weeks in doubles, thus making her the only player in history to have held the top spot in both singles and doubles for over 200 weeks.

Like McEnroe she was also entered into the Tennis Hall of Fame back in 2000.

Pete Sampras

The former world No. 1 is considered to be the greatest player of all time, with a career spanning an impressive 14 years he has scooped up a total of 14 Grand Slam titles.

In recent years Swiss player Roger Federer has managed to match his seven Wimbledon Championship titles.

Since retiring from the game Sampras has taken part in some exhibition matches where he has come up against the player who could potentially beat his record, but his experience wasn't enough to beat the current Wimbledon champion.

Sampras recognised the potential power of participating in a double's team and he chose none other than fellow American John McEnroe - their partnership saw them win the Davis Cup together back in 1995.

Steffi Graf

The versatility the German displayed during her career was extraordinary - she had an ability to play on all surfaces and be consistent every time.

This resulted in her being the only player to ever win each of the four Grand Slams at least four times.

Her talent has been credited by tennis legends including Billie Jean King and Maria Navratilova who has included Graf on her personal list of greatest players.

Following in the footsteps of her other tennis heroes she was lucky enough to be included in the Tennis Hall of Fame in 2004.

Bjorn Borg

Borg is an 11 time Grand Slam winner who shared a temperamental rivalry with John McEnroe, which especially came to a head at Wimbledon.

He, like the others, is also regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. Borg used to hold the record for five consecutive Wimbledon titles and six French Open titles until it was recently broken by Nadal.

Like his rival McEnroe he joined the Champions tour after retirement. The former world No. 1 entered into the Hall of Fame slightly earlier than the others back in 1987.

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Topics:
Tennis
Wimbledon

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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