Greatest Grass Court Players in Tennis History
The truth of the matter is that tennis began on grass. It was known in the early day as "lawn tennis."
Clay courts came along primarily in the 1920s when Stade Roland Garros was built to showcase the talents and triumphs of France's Musketeers—Rene Lacoste, Jean Borotra, Jacques Brugnon and Henri Cochet.
There are still clay courts throughout Europe and South America, but few in the United States and Canada.
The emergence of hard courts began for the most part after the Open Era in tennis was underway in 1968. Now, of course, hard court tennis is the mainstay with most of the tennis year played on artificial surfaces.
The U.S. Open and the Australian Open are both held on hard courts, which are easier to maintain than their more established counterparts—grass courts or clay courts.
It is understandable that most modern fans equate grass to Wimbledon because it remains the only major venue with grass courts.
But tennis prior to the Open Era existed primarily on green lawns; therefore, the history of tennis has been shaped by players who excelled on grass.
You cannot simply go back 40 years to look for grass court greats; you must go back to the beginning, or at least as far back as there are easily accessible records. For our purposes, we are going back 90 years to survey the players who helped shape the modern games on grass.
20. Rafael Nadal, Spain
Rafael Nadal: 3 Grass Court Titles including 2 Majors on Grass
After being defeated in 2006 and 2007 by Roger Federer in Wimbledon finals, Rafael Nadal won his first Slam final not on clay in 2008.
Nadal took the Wimbledon Championship away from rival Roger Federer in 2008, forever denying the Swiss his sixth consecutive championship.
The 2008 Wimbledon final is judged by many as the greatest Grand Slam final at Wimbledon—perhaps the greatest major final at any venue.
During a rain-interrupted match, with the light failing, Nadal held on to win 6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 9-7. For Nadal, it was a historic and memorable win. For Federer, it was a disappointing and record-ending loss.
Unable to defend his 2008 championship because of injury, Nadal came back to win his second Wimbledon crown in 2010, defeating Czech Tomas Berdych in the final.
Nadal overwhelmed Berdych in the final 6-3, 7-5, 6-4.
Rafael Nadal played in six Wimbledon championships, winning twice in four final appearances. His overall winning percentage at the All England Club in men’s singles is 87.87 to date.
In addition to winning Wimbledon twice, Nadal also won a grass court title at the Queen's Club in 2008, giving him a total of three grass court titles so far in his career.
Nadal won 90 percent of his 971 service games played on grass (874). He won 76 percent of his first serves on grass.
To date Nadal has won 50 matches while losing 12, giving him an overall winning percentage of 80.6 on grass.
19. Stan Smith, United States
Stan Smith: 5 Grass Court Titles, Including 2 Majors on Grass
American Stan Smith finally captured his only Wimbledon title, defeating Romanian Ilie Nastase in a five-set thriller 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 in 1972.
It was a sweet victory after losing a five-set final to John Newcombe the year before.
Smith also won the U.S. Open in 1971 when it was played on grass. Both of his Grand Slam wins came on grass courts.
Known primarily for his doubles play, Smith also won frequently at singles, reaching the No. 1 ranking in 1972.
Besides grass courts wins at majors, Smith won titles at Melbourne in 1969 on grass, the Queen's Club in 1971 and at Nottingham in 1974.
His winning percentage at Wimbledon was 72.58 (45-17) while his percentage at the Australian Open was 66.67 (6-3).
At the U.S. Open, during the period of time the event was held on grass, Smith accumulated a 75.0 winning percentage playing 11 seasons on the green lawns at Forest Hills.
In total Smith's winning percentage was 72.97 (81-30) at grass majors throughout his career.
18. Arthur Ashe, United States
Arthur Ashe: 3 Grass Court Titles, Including 3 Majors on Grass
The great Arthur Ashe of the United States defeated countryman Jimmy Connors during the 1975 Wimbledon final 6-1, 6-1, 5-7, 6-4.
It was the only time Ashe appeared in the gentleman’s final at the All England Club.
Connors was the clear favorite coming into the tournament but fell short in the final match.
Ashe also won the Australian Open in 1970 when it was played on grass as well as at the U.S. Open in 1968 when that Grand Slam tournament was contested on the grass courts of Forest Hills.
In all, Ashe won three Grand Slam tournaments––all on grass.
His winning percentage at Wimbledon was 76.09 (35-11) while his winning percentage at the Australian Open was 83.87 (26-5).
At Ashe's home tournament, the U.S. Open, he maintained a 75.71 winning percentage (53-17).
In total, Ashe's winning percentage at grass court majors was 77.55 (114-33).
17. Boris Becker, Germany
Boris Becker: 7 Grass Court Titles, Including 3 Majors on Grass
Boris Becker burst onto the Wimbledon scene as an unseeded player in 1985. At age 17, Becker became the youngest Wimbledon champion as well as the first unseeded player to win the coveted trophy at the All England Club.
His opponent in the final, Kevin Curren, had displaced Jimmy Connors as well as defending champion John McEnroe to advance to the finals. The South African was powerless against Becker, however, as the German swept him aside in three hours and 18 minutes 6-3, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4.
The following year, the 18-year-old Becker defended his Wimbledon championship by defeating Ivan Lendl in the final. Becker won his second consecutive title at the All England Club.
In regaining the title in 1989, Becker overcame one of his fiercest rivals, Swede Stefan Edberg, 6-0, 7-6, 6-4. The win gave the German his third Wimbledon title.
Becker appeared in 15 Wimbledon Championships during his career, winning three times in seven final appearances—ending with a winning percentage of 85.54.
In addition to winning on the grass courts of the All England Club, Becker also won grass court titles at the Queen's Club in 1985, 1987, 1988, and 1996—seven grass court titles in all.
In total Becker won 116 matches while losing 25, giving the German an overall 82.3 winning percentage on grass during his career.
16. John McEnroe, United States
John McEnroe: 8 Grass Court Titles, Including 3 Majors on Grass
After coming so close in 1980 to defeating the cool Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe accomplished the feat in 1981, winning Wimbledon in four tense sets—4-6, 7-6, 7-6, 6-4.
It was the New Yorker's first win at the All England Club and Borg’s last appearance on Centre Court.
It was the end of an era, although no one knew it at the time.
McEnroe’s improved style of play would dominate on the grass courts of Wimbledon until technology and Pete Sampras ushered in power tennis.
McEnroe lost the 1982 Wimbledon final in five sets to another archrival, fellow American Jimmy Connors.
In 1983, however, McEnroe defeated New Zealand’s Chris Lewis 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 to win his second Wimbledon Championship.
McEnroe was able to avenge his 1982 loss to Connors, defeating him in straight sets 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 during the Wimbledon finals in 1984.
After 1984, however, McEnroe never again reached the finals at the All England Club.
McEnroe appeared at the Wimbledon Championships from 1977-1992, winning three titles during five finals. His overall winning percentage at the All England Club in men’s singles was 84.29.
In addition to his wins at majors, McEnroe also won grass court titles at the Queens Club in 1979, 1980, 1981 and 1984, plus Brisbane in 1980—in all eight grass court titles.
McEnroe won 119 matches while losing 20 giving him an overall winning percentage on grass of 85.6.
15. Rene Lacoste, France
Rene Lacoste: 4 Grass Court Titles, Including 4 Majors on Grass
Although noted primarily for his play on clay as one of the founders contributing to the legendary French Open Four Musketeers, Rene Lacoste also won on grass during a time when all majors except the French Open were played on green lawns around the world.
He did win the French Championships in 1925, 1927 and 1929.
But during the late 1920s while he was battling with Bill Tilden for tennis supremacy, Lacoste also won Wimbledon in 1925 and 1928 as well as the U.S. Open in 1926 and 1927 played on grass.
Lacoste never ventured to Australia to participate in their Championships.
In all, the Frenchman won seven Grand Slam titles, four of them on grass.
The Frenchman was a driving force in men's tennis during the days when the French were cornering the market on clay.
14. Stephen Edberg, Sweden
Stefan Edberg: 5 Grass Court Titles, Including 4 Majors on Grass
In 1988 while Boris Becker of Germany was going for this third Wimbledon title, Stefan Edberg of Sweden was attempting to win his first.
Becker had not lost a match on Centre Court since 1985. Defeating the German on his home court seemed a large task for Edberg.
The final was delayed to Monday because of rain, and the German seemed out of sorts as Edberg won 4-6, 7-6, 6-4, 6-2.
After losing to Becker in 1989, Edberg came back in 1990 to win the rubber match between the two rivals 6-2, 6-2, 3-6, 3-6, 6-2.
The two had met 24 previous times, with Becker holding the edge 15-9. That day, Edberg had the answers as he maintained his poise and his mental edge, and fought back to win.
Serve and volley artist Stefan Edberg played in 14 Wimbledon Championships, appearing in three finals and winning two titles in 1988 and 1990. His overall winning percentage was 80.33 at the All England Club.
Besides winning on the grass at Wimbledon, Edberg also captured two other grass court major titles at the Australian Open in 1985 and 1987.
In addition to grass court majors, Edberg also won a grass court title at the Queen's Club in 1991, giving him five total grass court titles.
Edberg won 99 matches while losing 27, giving him an overall winning percentage on grass of 78.6 throughout his career.
13. Jimmy Connors, United States
Jimmy Connors: 9 Grass Court Titles, Including 4 Majors on Grass
Appearing in his first Wimbledon final in 1974, Jimmy Connors defeated Aussie Ken Rosewall 6-1, 6-1, 6-4.
As the No. 3 seed coming into the tournament, Connors defeated Jan Kordes in a very tough five-set quarterfinal match. He followed that win by defeating fellow American Dick Stockton in the semifinals.
At age 21, a young Connors discovered that almost 40-year-old Rosewall had no legs left in the final.
By 1982 there were no cordial feelings between John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors––especially no forgiving embraces at the net.
When these two battled on court, it became a matter of “life and death." Their five-set final at Wimbledon in 1982 was no exception—only this time, it was Connors who won, leaping high into the air.
Connors upset the defending champion 3-6, 6-3, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4. The two would meet once more a Wimbledon final in 1984––the last for both of them
Jimmy Connors played in 21 Wimbledon Championships, appearing in six finals and winning twice. His overall winning percentage was 82.35 at the All England Club.
Connors also won two other major titles on grass. The American won the Australian Open and the U.S. Open in 1974 when both were played on grass courts.
In addition to majors, Connors also won grass court titles at the Queen's Club in 1972. 1982 and 1983, Manchester in 1974, Nottingham 1976, Birmingham 1978—nine grass court titles in all.
In total, Connors won 170 matches while losing 34, giving him an overall 83.3 winning percentage on grass throughout his long career.
12. Jack Crawford, Australia
Jack Crawford: 5 Grass Court Titles, Including 5 Majors on Grass
Jack Crawford won his home country's Australian Championship on grass from 1931-1933 and then again in 1935.
During that time, he also won the Wimbledon Championship in 1933.
During 1933, Crawford was considered the No. 1 player in the world. All five of his Grand Slam titles came on grass.
He was one match short of winning the first calendar year Grand Slam in 1933, having captured the Australian, the French and Wimbledon crowns. But when he reached the finals of the U.S. Championships, he failed to win the title, falling short to Fred Perry of Great Britain.
His time winning majors on grass was short, but his influence on Australian tennis was long.
11. Frank Sedgman, Australia
Frank Sedgman: 5 Grass Court Titles, Including 5 Majors on Grass
The first in the great wave of Australians who would overtake the world of tennis, Frank Sedgman accomplished so much in such a small window.
From approximately 1948 through 1952, Sedgman made his presence felt in significant ways.
He won the Australian Open in back-to-back years in 1949-1950 during the time that it was played on grass.
He also won the Wimbledon Championships in 1952 and the U.S. Open in 1951-1952, which were played on grass as well.
During that time, he also won doubles and mixed doubles titles on grass before he turned pro in 1953.
Those Aussies that followed Sedgman into tennis would be hard-pressed to equal his output in five short years.
10. Don Budge, United States
Don Budge: 5 Grass Court Titles, Including 5 Majors on Grass
From the United States, Don Budge played tennis for a short period of time as an amateur.
A professional career plus World War II cut short Budge’s career. He suffered a shoulder injury during the war and was never able to recover the game he left behind when his military duties called him forth.
He was a natural on grass, moving with grace while executing his strokes with power and accuracy.
He was the first person to win a calendar year Grand Slam, winning the Australian, the French, Wimbledon and the U.S. Championships—all in 1938.
Of the grass courts he dominated that year, Budge played and won the Australian Open. It was his only appearance at that tournament, which leaves him with a winning percentage of 100.
He also won at Wimbledon in 1937 and 1938. In his four years of participation, Budge’s winning percentage was 92.31 (24-2).
While at the U.S. Championships, Budge had a winning percentage of 88.46 (23-3) over five seasons, winning it twice in 1937-1938.
His overall percentage at grass majors was 90.57 (48-5) in five years.
9. Bjorn Borg, Sweden
Bjorn Borg: 6 Grass Court Titles, Including 5 Majors on Grass
Bjorn Borg began his dominant era at the All England Club in 1976 by defeating the eccentric Ilie Nastase. Coming into the match, Nastase was the overwhelming favorite. The Romanian had reached the final in 1972 and many expected him to win it in 1976.
But Borg never let Nastase into the match winning it 6-4, 6-2, 9-7.
Borg’s win over Jimmy Connors the next year was not quite so easy. It took Borg five sets to reclaim the title 3-6, 6-2, 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 in a marathon 1977 match lasting three hours and 14 minutes. It also allowed Borg to steal the No. 1 ranking from Connors.
Previously only Lew Hoad, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson and John Newcombe had won the Wimbledon title in back-to-back years.
In 1978, Borg won the Wimbledon title for the third time in a row by again defeating American Jimmy Connors in the final with a score of 6-2, 6-2, 6-3. This gave Borg his third consecutive Wimbledon title, making him the first man since Fred Perry of Great Britain to win three men’s singles titles at the All England Club.
Borg defeated the big-serving Roscoe Tanner in 1979. Borg managed to win in five sets 6-7, 6-1, 3-6, 6-2, 6-4. No man in the modern era had ever won four titles at Wimbledon—let alone four consecutive titles. The air the Swede breathed was quite rarefied.
So much has been written about the 1980 match between young American John McEnroe and the dominating Borg at Wimbledon. It is enough to note that Borg won this match in five sets after losing perhaps the most exhilarating fourth-set tiebreak in the history of tennis.
In winning in five sets 1-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7, 8-6, Borg won his fifth consecutive Wimbledon championship. This was a feat no man would match until Roger Federer in 2007.
Bjorn Borg played in the Wimbledon championships nine times in total, winning five times. His overall winning percentage at the All England Club was 92.73.
He won one other title on grass in 1974 at Adelaide giving him six total grass court titles.
In all Borg won 61 matches on grass while losing 11, giving him a total 84.7 winning percentage on grass.
8. Ken Rosewall, Australia
Ken Rosewall: 6 Grass Court Titles, Including 6 Majors on Grass
Ken Rosewall's career, like Jimmy Connor's, seemed to stretch on forever. He began his career in 1958 and did not retire until 1980, continuing to win well into his thirties.
Rosewall won the Australian Open four times on grass—in 1953, 1955, 1971 and 1972 with a winning percentage of 82.46 (47-10).
He also won the U.S. Open twice played on grass in 1956 and 1970 with a winning percentage of 85.94 (55-9).
Rosewall played at Wimbledon for 11 seasons where he reached four finals, but he never won at the All England Club. His winning percentage, however, remained high—81.03 (47-11).
The Aussie’s overall winning percentage on grass majors was 83.24 (149-30).
7. Fred Perry, Great Britain
Fred Perry: 7 Grass Court Titles, Including 7 Majors on Grass
After Brit Fred Perry joined the professional tour in 1937, he was unable to compete in Grand Slam tournaments, which retained their “amateur only” status until the Open Era began in 1968.
But prior to that, Perry was one of the all-time greats on grass courts.
He won the Australian Open in 1934 and was a finalist there in 1935. These mark his only two appearances on the lawns at Sydney. That left Perry with a 90.0 winning percentage (9-1) in Australia.
At his home tournament at Wimbledon, Perry participated during eight seasons, winning three times consecutively from 1934-1936. He had a winning percentage at the All England Club of 87.8 (36-5).
Playing on the lawns of Forest Hills, Perry won there in 1933, 1934 and 1936, giving him a winning percentage of 91.89 (34-3) over six seasons.
In total Perry had an 89.77 winning percentage during grass court majors throughout his career.
6. John Newcombe, Australia
John Newcombe: 10 Grass Court Titles, Including 7 Majors on Grass
John Newcombe’s career spanned two eras. The Aussie was known for his big serve. In his autobiography, Jack Kramer credited Newcombe with having the best second serve in the men’s game.
Newcombe defeated German Wilhelm Bungert to win his first Wimbledon Championship in 1967.
After coming in second to Rod Laver in 1969, Aussie John Newcombe came back to take the Wimbledon title again in 1970, winning 5-7, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1, against fellow Aussie, Ken Rosewall.
The following year Newcombe defeated American Stan Smith 6-3, 5-7, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 in another five-set Wimbledon gentleman’s final. Smith faded in the last set under the constant pressure from the Newcombe serve and volley game.
No man from the United States had won the title at the All England Club since 1963.
John Newcombe has been called the last of the great wave of Aussies who played tennis in the late 1960s and 1970s—although there were still great Australians in the game when Newcombe retired from the game officially in 1981.
The transfer to hard courts had not yet begun when Newcombe was active. He played and won Grand Slam finals on three grass courts.
Newcombe spent 14 seasons playing on the lawns at the All England Club where he won the event three times in 1967, 1970, and 1971. His winning percentage was 80.36 (45-11) for his career at Wimbledon.
At the U.S. Open, Newcombe played on the grass at Forest Hills from 1963-1974, winning the event twice in 1967 and 1973. After 1974 when the surface turned to clay, Newcombe did not return. In his years playing, Newcombe had a winning percentage of 83.43 (47-9) for the eleven seasons he played on grass in New York.
Then, of course, Newcombe played during the years the Australian Open was played on grass, beginning in 1962 through 1977. In all, Newcombe participated in 15 Australian Open championships, winning the event twice in 1973 and 1975. His overall winning percentage in Australia was 81.43 (57-13).
In the three grass court majors, Newcombe’s winning percentage was 80.12 (149-37).
5. Pete Sampras, United States
Pete Sampras: 10 Grass Court Titles, Including 7 Majors on Grass
In 1993 21-year-old Pete Sampras won his first Wimbledon championship against the No. 2 seed, Jim Courier 7-6, 7-6, 3-6, 6-3 in just under three hours. Sampras won with unreturnable serves, 22 aces and patently solid groundstrokes. Sampras was just too good on the day for Courier.
In a 1994 match that resembled a shootout in Dodge City, Sampras faced down Croat Goran Ivanisevic with a serve even more renowned than the American’s. Sampras won in straight sets 7-6, 7-6, 6-0, defending his 1993 title.
In 1995 Sampras was going for his third consecutive Wimbledon championship against the powerful German Boris Becker. The opening set was settled in a tiebreak, but the German could never garner a break point on the Sampras serve. Sampras won 6-7, 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 becoming the first three-time defending Wimbledon champion in 15 years.
Sampras and Cedric Pioline of France took the court in the 1997 Wimbledon final, but only one player actually enjoyed the match. Pioline was never a factor in the finals as Sampras dispatched him 6-4, 6-2, 6-4, serving impeccably and volleying with panache. Sampras won his tenth Grand Slam tournament, well on his way to equaling the twelve total of Grand Slam leader, Roy Emerson.
You had to feel for Goran Ivanisevic as he battled against Sampras in 1998 as the American won his fifth title in six years on the storied grounds of Centre Court at the All-England Club. The Croat made a real contest out of the match, but Sampras won 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.
On a proud day for the United States, Pete Sampras was challenged by Andre Agassi for the Wimbledon championship on the fourth of July. There were, however, no fireworks for Agassi on this day as Pistol Pete whipped him 6-3, 6-4, 7-5. Sampras, with six Wimbledon titles, surpassed Bjorn Borg who had five.
Sampras stood six for six in Wimbledon finals.
Sampras won his thirteenth Grand Slam title, capturing his seventh Wimbledon title over Aussie Patrick Rafter in 2000. Serving 27 aces and rifling 13 passing shots past Rafter as he hugged the net, Sampras took the championship in four sets 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 6-2.
Pete Sampras played in 14 Wimbledon Championships, winning all seven of his final appearances. His overall winning percentage at the All England Club was 90.0.
In addition to Wimbledon, Sampras won grass court titles at Manchester in 1990 and Queen's Club in 1995 and 1999—in total, 10 grass court titles.
Sampras won 93 percent of his 1,622 service games played on grass (1,508). He won 85 percent of his first serve points on grass.
Sampras won 101 matches on grass while losing 20. That gave him a total winning percentage of 83.5 on grass during his career.
4. Roger Federer, Switzerland
Roger Federer: 12 Grass Court Titles, Including 7 Majors on Grass
Roger Federer won his first Grand Slam trophy on the grounds of the All England Club in 2003. It brought an end to the constant barrage from the press wondering when the talented Swiss would finally win a major.
The following year American Andy Roddick made it to the Wimbledon final to face the No. 1 seed Roger Federer in the rain. Roddick took the first set and was up a break in the third when the rain came again, postponing action on Centre Court. When play resumed, Federer returned to life, breaking back and winning the subsequent tiebreak. Then the Swiss captured the fourth set 6-4 and the match.
Andy Roddick was Federer’s victim once again in the 2005 Wimbledon finals, 6-2, 7-6, 6-4. In one hour and 41 minutes, the Swiss dismissed Roddick.
World No. 2 Rafael Nadal made it to his first Wimbledon final in 2006 to the surprise of many who felt the Majorcan could only win on clay. Nadal played his normal, aggressive game on grass and took the third set, but Federer fought back and won. It gave Federer his fourth consecutive Wimbledon crown.
In 2007 Federer tied Bjorn Borg by winning his fifth consecutive Wimbledon championship against his chief rival, Rafael Nadal. It took five sets, with Federer salvaging two tiebreaks before the Swiss closed it out .
After losing to Nadal in 2008, Federer came back to the Wimbledon final (his seventh consecutive Wimbledon final) to meet an old rival, Andy Roddick. A win would give Federer six Wimbledon championships, one more than Borg but one behind the great Pete Sampras.
The 2009 final went five sets with only one break of the Roddick serve in the final game of the match when Federer prevailed 5-7, 7-6, 7-6, 3-6, 16-14.
Federer won his fifteen slam, edging past Sampras, his sixth Wimbledon title and the No. 1 ranking.
In 2012 Federer won his seventh Wimbledon title, defeating Brit Andy Murray who was playing in his first Wimbledon final. Federer won in four sets.
Federer has played in 14 Wimbledon Championships so far, winning seven of the eight finals in which he has appeared. To date, Federer’s overall winning percentage at the All England Club is 90.41 (66-7).
In addition to Wimbledon, Federer has won grass court titles at Halle in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008—12 grass court titles in total.
Federer has won 92 percent of his 1,928 service games played on grass (1,774). He has won 78 percent of his first serves on grass.
To date the Swiss has won 117 matches on grass while losing 17, giving Federer a total 87.3 winning percentage on grass.
3. Rod Laver, Australia
Rod Laver: 39 Grass Court Titles, Including 9 Majors on Grass
Australian Rod Laver played in both the Amateur Era and the Open Era of tennis.
During his long and distinguished career, Laver won the Wimbledon title four times, in 1961-1962 and then again in 1968-1969 as the modern era in men’s tennis began.
In all, Laver won nine of his 11 Grand Slam titles on grass.
He stands alone for winning two calendar year Grand Slams in 1962 and 1969—a feat no other man has accomplished to date.
Besides four titles at the All England Club, the Aussie won the Australian Open three times and the U.S. Open twice when both tournaments were played on grass.
His winning percentage at the U.S. Open on grass was 81.48 (44-10) and at the Australian Open Laver’s winning percentage was 79.31 (23-6).
Throughout his career, Laver played in 11 Wimbledon championships with a winning percentage of 87.72 (50-7) at the All England Club.
His total overall winning percentage on grass majors 83.57 was (117-23).
Thirty of his 54 singles titles came on grass from 1956 through 1962 before Laver turned professional, with another nine added after the Open Era. Thirty-nine of Laver's 131 singles titles were won on grass.
This man, in most respects, is the king of grass court tennis.
2. Roy Emerson, Australia
Roy Emerson: 10 Grass Court Titles, Including 10 Majors on Grass
Australian Roy Emerson played during the “Grass Era” in tennis—mainly in the 1950s and 1960s.
These were years when Aussie players ruled the courts.
For many years, Emerson's 12 Grand Slam singles titles held the record for the most major wins by a male tennis player until Pete Sampras surpassed him winning 14 in his career.
Emerson won the Australian Open on grass in 1961, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967 with a winning percentage of 86.67 (52-8) over 14 seasons—all played on the green lawns.
The Aussie won the Wimbledon title twice in 1964-1965 during 16 seasons, giving him a winning percentage of 81.08 (60-14).
Emerson also won the U.S. Open twice on grass in 1961 and 1964. During 15 seasons of competing there, he ended with a winning percentage of 82.43 (61-13).
His total winning percentage on grass court majors was 83.17.
1. Bill Tilden, United States
Bill Tilden: 10 Grass Court Titles, Including 10 Majors on Grass
Bill Tilden pushed the United States to the forefront of tennis during the 1920s. Those were days when it seemed "Big Bill" could not lose.
He seldom did—not at home, and not during Davis Cup competition.
Tilden won the U.S. Open consecutively from 1920-1925. Then he won it once more in 1929—seven U.S. Championships, all on grass.
His winning percentage was 90.79 (69-7).
He won Wimbledon consecutively in 1920-1921. Then returned in 1930 to win the title once more—three Wimbledon titles. His winning percentage was 91.18 (31-3)
In all Tilden won 10 major titles on grass with a winning percentage of 90.9 (100-10).
His ten major wins on grass, plus his highest winning percentage on grass, push Bill Tilden to the top of this list of greatest grass court players in the history of tennis.