Most underrated tennis players in history

Most underrated tennis players in history
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With tennis being an individual sport, we’ve had our fair share of legends whose names we will remember for their individual achievements. However, while many players have gone down in history, there are many underrated tennis players whose names we just never hear anymore.

That said, my intention today is to bring these underrated players back into the spotlight, and I will remind you of just how great they performed in the sport. Some of the players I’ll mention have long been retired, while a few have only recently called it a day. Additionally, I’ve got one name who still plays professionally who I believe is one of the most underrated tennis players of all time.

So, if you’d like to join me on this trip down memory lane to look back on some of the underrated legends of tennis, simply read on!

List of the most underrated tennis players of all time

I’ve chosen to focus on four male players and four female players to cover this rundown of underrated individuals. However, there’s obviously a much larger pool of players out there that could have been shortlisted for this review. Then again, we all have our own opinions on who the most underrated tennis players are – these are simply mine.

I have, of course, done plenty of research into the possible picks. And I believe that the players mentioned below rightfully deserve a mention for reasons that will be discussed right now. 

Tim Henman

Henman played as a professional from 1993 to 2007. He was a true legend of British tennis, and the famous hill at the All England Club is still named after him. As a clinical serve and volley player, Henman was great fun to watch, and he was particularly successful at Wimbledon. 

Most underrated tennis players Henman
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This style of play helped him make the semi-finals of Wimbledon four times, and he held a career-high ranking of 4 in the world on several occasions. But since he never made it past that mark, he has to go down as one of the best tennis players who never won a Grand Slam.

David Nalbandian

This man was an absolute beast across all surfaces, and he managed to beat all of the top dogs as a professional – including Federer and Nadal. He earned a career-high ranking of 3 in the world, and he also made the semi-finals or better at all four Grand Slams. To this day, he is the only Argentinian player to have accomplished such a feat.

Nalbandian was best known for his aggressive baseline game, which took him to the finals of Wimbledon in 2022 and helped him win the ATP Finals in 2005.

Nikolay Davydenko

Much like Nalbandian, Davydenko earned himself a spot as the number 3 player in the world at his peak. While he wasn’t the biggest player, he was lightning fast around the court, and his ball striking was just unbelievable – especially on hard courts. On that note, Davydenko also won the ATP Finals in 2009, while he reached the quarters of the Australian Open on four separate occasions.

He made the semis of the US Open and French Open on two separate occasions, too, showing how talented and versatile he was. 

Fabio Fognini

I promised you a player who is still competing professionally, and here he is! In my opinion, Fabio Fognini is one of the most talented players to ever play the game. And if he was a bit better mentally, I’ve no doubt he could have won several of the biggest tournaments in the sport. Since he hasn’t done that, however, he has to go down as one of the most underrated tennis players ever.

Most underrated tennis players Fognini
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He has an electric style of play, being able to club winners from just about anywhere on the court. Additionally, when he hits top gear, even the best in the business can’t hang with him. As for his best results, he has won the Monte Carlo Masters, as well as 8 other ATP titles in his career.

Jelena Jankovic

Moving to the female players now, I wish to highlight Jelena Jankovic, first and foremost. Jankovic won 15 WTA titles in her career, and she was the world number 1 in 2008, yet she’s rarely discussed as a legendary player. Therefore, she has to be named as one of the most underrated tennis players in the women’s game.

Unsurprisingly, her best results came around that time, when she made the finals of the 2008 US Open while making the semis of the Australian Open and French Open in the same year. 

Marion Bartoli

Marion Bartoli is a legend of French tennis. She still conducts on-court interviews during Roland Garros too, so she’s still on the tennis scene, despite retiring in 2013. On that note, Bartoli has a unique story, as she retired almost immediately after winning Wimbledon in July 2013 – her only Grand Slam victory. 

Most underrated tennis players Bartoli
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She played a unique style of tennis too, using both hands for forehand and backhand strokes, which she reportedly developed due to her love for Monica Seles.

Dinara Safina

Remember Marat Safin? Well, this is his sister, Dinara Safina. She was ranked world number 1 as her career-high, just like her brother, which is again, totally unique in the world of tennis. Safina made three Grand Slam finals between 2008 and 2009 too, using her powerful groundstrokes to blow many opponents off the court.

In fact, she made the semi-finals or better at all four slams between those years, so she was quite dominant at her peak. She also earned a silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, which is a great achievement too.

Anastasia Myskina

The last individual in my rundown of underrated tennis players is Anastasia Myskina. She never made it to world number 1, but she was ranked number 2 as her career-high. And she’s one of the only players on this list who won a Grand Slam title – the 2004 French Open. She also made the quarters at all other Grand Slams!

Myskina was a super clean hitter of the ball too, using her long limbs to generate easy power, especially on the backhand. That said, she retired after just 9 years of playing professionally, which is incredibly short compared to players these days.

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