Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and the 10 Best Grass Court Players of the Open Era

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Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and the 10 Best Grass Court Players of the Open Era
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Today, Wimbledon is grass court tennis. Granted, there are a handful of warm-up tournaments like the Gerry Weber Open in Halle and the Aegon Championships at the Queen’s Club in London and Birmingham. But Wimbledon remains the only major still contested on grass.

Players who won a final on Centre Court at Wimbledon realized a lifelong dream because Wimbledon is considered the piece de resistance for most players when it comes to grand slam championships.

The All England Club favors high tea, strawberries and cream. Participating players must wear white and observe proper decorum. Boorish behavior is not tolerated. Just ask John McEnroe!
Wimbledon has survived the test of time, withstood the temptations to modernize and has kept its firmly-held traditions in place, except for a retractable roof over Centre Court that it unveiled during the 2009 tournament.

While Pete Sampras won seven Wimbledon Championships in the 1990s, William Renshaw of Great Britain earned seven during the 1880s. Moreover, Reginald Doherty and Lawrence Doherty of Great Britain also won titles from 1897-1900 (4) and 1902-1906 (5), respectively. 

Through 1922, however, Wimbledon champions were challenged by all-comers the following year. The reigning champion defended his title by playing one match––the final against the winner from the challenger pool. 

Pete Sampras was not so lucky.  He had to win six matches just for the chance to reclaim his hard-earned title from the previous year.

Since 1968, the beginning of the Open Era, 19 men have won the Wimbledon title at least once while in the Amateur Era 20 men held the Wimbledon trophy aloft after winning the final. 

Aussies John Newcombe and Rod Laver were the only two players in this ranking to win Wimbledon championships in both eras.

Obviously, winning multiple titles at the All England Club is very difficult. Only five players in the last 43 years have won three or more titles on Centre Court at Wimbledon.

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