I'm Scared Of You: The 10 Most Intimidating Tennis Players In The Open Era
In tennis, confidence is everything. When a player intimidates the opponent, the opponent will drain of confidence. This is what makes great champions win matches and tournaments.
We've had Borg, Navratilova, Lendl, Graf, Sampras, and Federer. In a historical perspective, how intimidating have these players been?
At Number 10 stands...
10. Chris Evert
Ice Maiden was one of the best. She may have played second fiddle to Martina Navratilova, but she is one of the greats.
She, like Ice Borg, was a defensive counterpunching. Her rivalry with Navratilova is as great as the Borg-McEnroe feud. She amassed 18 grand slam singles titles.
Chris Evert was feared. If she got angry, she would win every point. 'Nuff said about her.
9. John McEnroe
John McEnroe was scaring people--not only because of his game, but his temper. "Answer the question, jerk!" "You cannot be serious!" are among the few 'stage lines' he has said, or rather, shouted.
McBrat owned exquisite volleys, magic its pure form.
"You cannot be serious!" he's only 9th on this list!
8. Bjorn Borg
Ice Borg was the best player of the early 80s. He was fast as an Olympic runner, and was decent at the net. He amassed 11 grand slam titles, only to retire soon after.
He always kept his cool, unlike rival Johnny Mac, or Super Brat.
Despite his quiet demeanor, he scared the heck out of everyone on the tennis court.
7. Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal is a beast on clay, and excels on grass, and to a certain extent, hard court. He's the world No. 1
He's nicknamed the bull, and that's exactly correct about him. He has nerves ice-cold, and he plays with the most top spin in the world.
No one wants to face him, if they want to beat him. Because it's right up there next to impossible.
6. Monica Seles
Oh, what a sad case. She was shocked in Hamburg, Germany in April 1993 when a 'rabid' Steffi Graf fan stabbed her in the back. She could have been the GOAT of women's tennis. Oh well.
Before the attack, she had already won 9 grand slam titles (at 19!), usurped Graf as the No.1, and was the most feared women on the court. She had an unconventional style of play: she was a lefty with two-handed ground strokes, and grunts as loud as they get. She had nerves of steel, and was humble.
Monica Seles was the second greatest player of the 90s, and lived on to the early 2000s. But most of all was her intimidation of players, because of her name, because of her play.
5. Martina Navratilova
She ruled tennis during the 80's. What more can I say besides the fact that she's a monster on hard court, grass, and clay!
Martina Navratilova was one of the greatest serve-and-volleyers of all time, claiming 18 grand slam singles titles, and multiple double and mixed doubles grand slams. She won grand slams in 2 decades, a feat (I believe) shared only by Serena Williams.
At the end of the day, she will be remembered for her fight, volleys, and revolution to the game.
4. Pete Sampras
The Greek kid from California can play tennis. In fact, he dominated tennis in the 90s. With his clutch serve, net-charging skill, and running forehand, Pistol Pete caused everyone to shiver from fright.
Everyone wanted to win, but the problem was, if you made it deep into a tournament you were bound to face Pete-and be crushed. More and more matches like these added to Pete's confidence, and drained lesser-known player's confidence.
He might have not have a great personality, but he made it up with his tennis. And how he made his foes play their worse tennis.
3. Serena Williams
Not just power, but dominance. Power, dominance, power, dominance. The two words that describe Serena Williams. The two qualities that make Serena Williams so great on the tennis court.
She won 4 consecutive grand slams, completing the "Serena Slam," and her aggression and metal toughness have been a first in this era.
Never before had we seen a player like Serena, and never will we see another player like Serena.
2. Roger Federer
He came, he saw, he conquered. Mind you, he still is winning. For 285 weeks, and 237 straight, he was ranked the No. 1. And when he wasn't ranked the best, he owned the second rank status. Not to bad by Federer standards.
Federer has defined tennis. Ask one person who comes to mind when they think of a tennis players, and chances are they'll answer, "Federer." Like his female counterpart Steffi Graf, he uses his slice backhand and forehand with amazing effectiveness. Not only that, he has a pin-point accurate serve that has zip on it, too.
There's an excuse for fearing him, right? That leaves only...
1. Steffi Graf
She ruled tennis from the late 80s to the mid 90s. No one in history was ever more feared- and respected. She amassed a total of 22 Grand Slams. At the apex of her powers, she won 4 consecutive grand slams title and the gold medal in Seoul.
Whenever her opponent stepped on to court, the opponent would have already suffered a shock, with Monica Seles and Lindsay Davenport the only exceptions. She had that infamous carving slice, and the feared bullet forehand.
She has been the best player of the 1900s, and probably no one will ever be as feared as her.