10 best British tennis players of all time

10 best British tennis players of all time

Britain has enjoyed plenty of success in the sport of tennis over the years, but exactly who are the best British tennis players of all time? This is the question I will be addressing today, and I have a feeling that the results might just shock you. Of course, your knowledge of the best British tennis players will depend on your age, how long you’ve followed the sport and a few other variables.

But while this will create the pool of players you are aware of, the history and statistics for certain individuals must be introduced for a complete answer. After all, if we only stuck with players we were familiar with, the list might be rather small, and the accolades far less impressive. 

On that note, I’ve looked through the long-standing history of British tennis to establish a list of the 10 best British tennis players. Below, you’ll find the exact results, along with the key information for each individual. 

Fred Perry – one of the best British tennis players prior to the modern era

Fred Perry is an absolute icon of British tennis. You are probably familiar with the Fred Perry clothing line, and of course, this brand came to fruition as a result of Perry’s on-court achievements. To be specific, Fred Perry was the last British player to win Wimbledon before Andy Murray in 2013. In fact, he won Wimbledon three consecutive times in the 1930s, which helped him win 8 Grand Slam titles overall.

Andy Murray – strong claims to be the best in the modern era of all the best British tennis players

If I had to list one of these individuals to be called the best British player ever, it would have to be Andy Murray. There isn’t much that Sir Andy Murray has failed to achieve in his career. But most prominently, he ended the drought of a British-born Wimbledon men’s champion when he won the title in 2013. And just to solidify his legacy, he won it again in 2016. 

Best British tennis players Andy Murray

In addition, he won the 2012 US Open, prior to which he secured an Olympic Gold Medal in London. He was also the world number one for a grand total of 41 weeks, and he is regularly discussed as part of the ‘big four’ in men’s tennis – not to mention Andy Murray’s net worth, which is rather eye-watering. 

Virginia Wade – arguably the top female of all the best British tennis players in the modern era

Here we have the first of the female players that fully deserve a mention for this topic. For starters, Wade is the only female British player in history who managed to win a title at all of the four slams. Three of these were singles titles (Wimbledon, US Open, and Australian Open), and four of them were doubles titles. 

Most famously, however, she won Wimbledon in 1977, which happened to be the same year as Queen Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee. 

Sue Barker – one of the best British tennis players ever and a broadcasting icon

If we think of British icons in sports, Sue Barker has to rank up there as one of the greatest legends of them all. Barker won the French Open in 1976, which automatically puts her in contention as one of the best British tennis players ever. Additionally, she reached the semis of Wimbledon in 1977, and she was a two-time semi-finalist at the Australian Open. 

Sue Barker best British tennis players

Thanks to such achievements, Barker was ranked as high as number 3 in the world in her prime. Yet, away from the court, Sue Barker is one of the most recognized British broadcasters ever since she presented Wimbledon from 1994 to 2022.

Ann Jones – a multiple Grand Slam winner in the 1960’s

Ann Jones is another female superstar of British tennis. She may have competed prior to the modern era, but her on-court achievements were spectacular. Specifically, Jones won a total of 8 Grand Slam titles – 3 in singles and 5 in doubles. 

Of these titles, she won the French Open twice (1961 and 1966) and Wimbledon once (1969). Her success at Wimbledon and love for lawn tennis have played a role in her current position as the Vice President of the All England Club (Wimbledon). 

Angela Mortimer – a very successful British player from the 1950’s

Prior to the likes of Ann Jones, Sue Barker, and Virginia Wade, it was Angela Mortimer who dominated British tennis in terms of female players. Mortimer was a world number 1 during her career, and much of her success came during the 1950s. In that period, Mortimer won two Grand Slam singles titles (French Open 1955 and Australian Open 1958) and one Grand Slam doubles title (Wimbledon 1955).

Mortimer saved her greatest achievement for last, however, winning the 1961 Wimbledon Championships despite being partially deaf!

Tim Henman – the people’s champion and one of the best British players to never win a Grand Slam

I can’t think of any British tennis player who was more iconic than Tim Henman. His serve and volley style, incredible composure, and love for lawn tennis made him one of the most loved British players ever. Furthermore, each time he competed at Wimbledon, the country used to go into a frenzy.

Best British tennis players Tim Henman

That’s no doubt why he reached the semi-finals of Wimbledon on four separate occasions, yet he was also ranked as high as world number 4 in his career. That said, Wimbledon was Henman’s darling, and even today, people still refer to the grass verge by Court One as ‘Henman Hill.

Greg Rusedski – US Open finalist and arguably the best server that British tennis has ever known

Greg Rusedski played during the same period as Tim Henman, mainly through the 1990s and early 2000s. He was known for his unbelievable, swinging serve, which helped him make the US Open final in 1997. Not only is this a step further than Henman ever reached in terms of Grand Slam performances, but Rusedski also matched Henman in other areas.

Specifically, he was the world number 4 at his peak, and he was the British number 1 on several occasions too. 

Joe Salisbury – one of the best British tennis players of all time in doubles play

While only Andy Murray is still competing among the players highlighted above, Joe Salisbury is still going strong on the ATP Tour. Unlike the others, however, Salisbury has a claim as one of the best British tennis players for his skills on a doubles court. At the time of writing, he has won six Grand Slam titles, and this number could obviously grow in the future.

He has been ranked as high as world number 1 back in April 2022, and to date, he has won 16 career doubles titles. 

Jamie Murray – brother to Andy Murray and a doubles specialist

Last but not least, I wouldn’t be doing the Murray brothers justice if I didn’t list Jamie Murray. As things stand, Jamie Murray has won one more Grand Slam than Salisbury, with seven to his name. Additionally, Murray has been ranked world number 1 back in 2016, and he is a two-time Wimbledon doubles champion.

Both of these titles were earned in mixed doubles, and he won them in 2007 and 2017, respectively. 

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