Considering the long history of tennis as a sport, hard-court surfaces are a fairly recent phenomenon. Before the Open Era, most professional tennis matches were played on grass with some tournaments held on European clay courts, usually prior to the start of the French Open.
In 1978, the US Open began playing exclusively on DecoTurf, and the Australian Open converted to hard courts in 1988.
Ultimately, synthetic surfaces are much easier to build and maintain than grass or clay courts.
The clay court season lasts from April through early June before the grass season takes over, played from early June through mid July.
Currently, hard-court tennis consumes the majority of the season. It starts after the Wimbledon grass-court tournament concludes and lasts nearly eight months until the clay season begins again in April.
Some of the retired players on this list did not have the opportunity to play as much on artificial surfaces as those still playing today. For example, pros like Bjorn Borg left the game in 1981 just as artificial surfaces were gaining popularity.
The ATP statistics used to compile this list are available at the ATP website. The categories selected were the ten most meaningful ATP records that tracked results accumulated by players on hard courts.
The top 14 players who were included were ranked against each other in each of these selected categories with points awarded from 1 to 14, depending on where the player's ranking fell.
To date, these are the best hard court tennis players in the history of the sport.