[[caption-width-right:338:[[SeriousBusiness Only those truly worthy to wield the racquet are the ones who survive.]]]]

->''"Game, set, match."''

A gentleman's game.

Tennis[[note]]technically "lawn" tennis, to distinguish it from its predecessor [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real_tennis "real", or "court" tennis]][[/note]] is a popular worldwide racket sport, originating as a racket-less game in France during the MiddleAges. In addition to the BondOneLiner provided above, it is also the source for [[http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=340653 numerous sex jokes]] (Even when we're not scoring, we're in love!). It's regulated by the International Tennis Federation, with the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) responsible for the men's game and the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) for the ladies'. The most important championships are {{UsefulNotes/Wimbledon}} and the Australian, French, and US Opens; these are referred to as the Grand Slam''s'', but winning all four is known as ''the'' Grand Slam.

Tennis history is split into two main parts: Open Era and pre-Open Era. Pre-Open Era, the Grand Slam tournaments only allowed amateur players to compete. As of the Open Era, 1968 - present, tennis is a pro sport with prize money at all events. The advent of the Open Era also heralded standardised and reliable record keeping and consistent tournament rules.

Tennis is largely an individual and pair sport, but team events are not unheard of. The Davis Cup, Fed Cup and Hopman Cup are team events (for men, women, and both) from different countries playing each other in a knockout tournament.


The basic game is easy to grasp: one player serves the ball, and they proceed to whack it back and forth over a net[[note]] though it can also go [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkpkP_8ynis round the net]][[/note]] until one player a) hits it into the net, b) hits it out of the court, or c) lets the ball bounce in-bounds more than once. Any of those will grant the person who didn't do it a point.

Players can also concede penalty points by repeatedly engaging in 'Unsportsmanlike Conduct'; offences include shouting at officials or players, smashing racquets, deliberately hitting balls at the crowd, distracting opponents and taking too long to serve or change ends. Serious or repeat offences, such as injuring someone, lead to disqualification, as seen in the 2012 final of Queens.

The game is notable for its ludicrous scoring system:

* The first scoring level is the '''game'''. Unlike other sports a score of zero is called "love" in tennis. From "love," you go to 15, 30, 40,[[note]]actually shortened from 45[[/note]] then Game... unless both players are at 40, in which case one player must win by 2, necessitating 40:40[[note]]Also known as "Deuce"[[/note]] > 40:Advantage > Game. This can lead to very extended games when neither player can string enough points together leading to 40:40 > 40:Ad > 40:40 > Ad:40 and on and on.[[note]]The odd scoring systems makes sense when you consider that the original scoreboards were actually unwound clocks. The score keeper would push the minute hand around the face a quarter of the way for each point (hence 15-30-45-game) while the hour hand would automatically track the number of games in the set (which would end when the hour hand went halfway around). The "win by 2" rule is what required the odd "advantage/deuce" set up, as advancing the minute hand would screw up the scorekeeping.[[/note]]
* '''Sets''', the second scoring layer, are groups of games, usually played until one player reaches 6 games; but as with games, they must win by a margin of 2. As this used to lead to very long sets, a tie-breaker game is now played when the score reaches 6-6. However, there is no tie-breaker in the final set of some events, such as the Grand Slam championships apart from the US Open, so occasionally very long sets still occur (at Wimbledon in 2010, John Isner and Nicolas Mahut had a 5th set that lasted for over ''8 freaking hours'', finishing at 70-68).
* Finally, '''matches''' are largely to sets as sets are to games, but are typically best-of-3 sets, or best-of-5 sets in some men's events.

Believe it or not, the scoring rules are actually ''even more complicated than this''; there are special rules made for tiebreaker games (which is the only part of the scoring system that uses a simple 1,2,3,4,5 counting system); variations such as 'No Ad' scoring (playing a single decisive point when both players reach 40); a 'Championship Tiebreak' instead of a final set; and different combinations of all the above scoring systems. However, this basically captures how you keep score in tennis. Hell of a job.

Tennis matches are played in either singles or doubles matches. In singles matches, the side margins of the court are considered out-of-bounds; in doubles, they're fair game. In doubles matches, one half of a team takes the front, the other takes the back; the back player of the serving team is the server. Typically, the better receiver takes the front for the receiving team.


The tennis season is a lengthy one and consists of five major events:

* '''Australian Open''' (late Jan - early Feb in Melbourne): The first major event and Grand Slam of the tennis season. It takes place on hard courts, the most modern and common type of court surface[[note]]court surface types, as well as their bounce, speed, and paint job, are SeriousBusiness to tennis fans[[/note]]. Used to be the red-headed stepchild of the Slams with many pros skipping it due to its distant location, original December schedule and low prize money (hence why tennis stars like Bjorn Borg and John [=McEnroe=] do not have an AO win to their names - they didn't even bother attending it most of the time), until around the 1990s when it gained equal footing with the other Slams. Also known for its [[HeatWave swelteringly hot temperatures]] and its 2012 final which became the longest-ever Grand Slam final at nearly ''six hours''. Since 1988 its main court has been in a retractable roofed arena, mitigating the weather issues somewhat, as other roofs have been added as well.
* '''French Open''' (late May - early June in Paris): Also known as '''Roland Garros''', it takes place on clay courts that favor defenders due to their slowness and high bounce giving players more time to reach the ball and return it in ways difficult for their opponent to hit. Because of this, it was historically considered to be the hardest Grand Slam to win with many great players' tactics being ill-suited for the clay surface and many French Open champions being [[CripplingOverspecialization clay-court specialists who performed poorly at other Slams]], until more recent times. Also known for its raucous crowds who aren't shy about booing their unfavorites, which include [[DudeWheresMyRespect 10-time champion Rafael Nadal]].
* '''{{UsefulNotes/Wimbledon}}''' (early July in London): ''The'' Grand Slam that most people think of first when tennis is mentioned. It uses grass courts that favor attackers due to their speed and low bounce giving players less time to return big serves and volleys[[note]]balls hit before they bounce, typically close to the net[[/note]] hit by their opponents, although the courts have been slowed down recently to encourage longer rallies. [[StronglyWordedLetter At least twenty complaints are printed every year]] [[TheyChangedItNowItSucks about this "slowing-down".]] Also known for its all-white dress code, no matches on the middle Sunday of the two-week tournament, and rain showers delaying play, although a roof installed in 2009 on Centre Court has mitigated the latter (with plans for additional roofed courts in the works). Roger Federer, who has won a men's record of 8 trophies here, has been dubbed Wimbledon's "Favorite Son".
* '''US Open''' (late Aug - early Sept in New York City): The last Grand Slam of the season (but not the "true" end of the season), it has the highest attendance record of all Slams. Like the Australian Open, it's played on hard courts that fall somewhere in between the slowness of clay courts and the fastness of grass courts. Unlike the Australian Open, its main venue, Arthur Ashe Stadium, didn't have a roof until the 2016 Open, which meant that gusting winds and match-delaying rains frequently affected play. It is also the only Slam that decides a 6-6 final set by a tiebreak system instead of the "win by 2 games in the final set" rule, which (un)fortunately means that there's no chance of its matches becoming a 3-day epic like Wimbledon's 2010 Isner-Mahut match.
* '''WTA Finals and ATP World Tour Finals''' (late Oct for the women, mid-Nov for the men): The event that marks the true end of the tennis season. Ideally, it's supposed to determine the No. 1 player (or doubles team) with only the top eight players/teams in the world being pitted against each other in separate tournaments for the men and women. More often, what happens instead is that there's already a runaway No. 1 who doesn't even need to win the event to be the clear Player of the Year, and the fun of the year-end championships lie more in their unique round-robin format that lets people see their favorites play for at least three guaranteed matches in the opening rounds[[note]]the 8 players are split into 2 groups of 4 and each player dukes it out with the 3 other members in their group, with the best-performing 2 players from each group advancing to the semifinals; the semis and finals use the more typical knock-out format[[/note]]. Also worth watching for the [[BigEntrance dramatically-lit player entrances]] and the ConfettiDrop during the trophy ceremony.

ButWaitTheresMore In addition to the above events, tennis players are expected to participate in these tournaments:

* '''Team tournaments''' (various dates/places): There are three tournaments in which teams of players compete for their country: the Fed Cup for women, the Davis Cup for men, and the Hopman Cup for both. The Hopman Cup takes place in Dec-Jan in Australia and follows the same general "round-robin for the opening matches, knock-out for the semis and finals" format of the year-end championships, with every team playing matches against each of the other 3 teams in its group, except that they have to play each team not only once but ''thrice'' with a men's singles, women's singles, ''and'' mixed doubles match. The Fed and Davis Cups, in contrast, follow a much more straightforward knock-out format but take almost the entire year and globe to complete with teams having to keep track of not only which country they're supposed to be traveling to next but also five matches over three days[[note]]first 2 singles, then 1 doubles, then 2 more singles with swapped opponents[[/note]] with their current opponent. The finals are both held in November, by which time everyone's so confused they can't remember who's playing whom.
* '''Other tournaments''' (various dates/places): The smaller tournaments that don't get as much publicity as the Grand Slams but are still important to top-ranked players who are required to enter a certain number (but not all) of them, and lower-ranked players who can [[LevelGrinding farm ranking points at low-profile tournaments higher-ranked players are unlikely to bother with]]. The tournaments usually serve as lead-ins to a Slam, such as the clay-court Madrid and Rome Masters that precede the French Open, and the US Open Series (but the three highest scorers on ''their'' points system get a DoubleUnlock of big money if they win the Open proper; needless to say that in 2013, both Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal broke the bank in this manner), or to ensure that the players never get a moment of rest even between Slams with even the lull period between the US Open and year-end championships being jam-packed with multiple Asian tournaments.

Suffice it to say that tennis players can consider themselves blessed if they don't get a single cramp or injury during their 10/11-month-long season. Professional tennis is no endeavour for the faint-hearted or weak-legged.


In 1973 a system to rank all professional tennis players was put in place, with separate ranking lists for men and women. The system is points-based and looks only at the last 52 weeks of the calendar.

Basically, players gain points for every match they play (even if they lose), with the number of points increasing the further they progress into a tournament. The amount of points at stake varies with the tournament, with the Grand Slams giving each winner 2000 points and the smaller tournaments awarding anywhere from 250 to 1000 points to the champion.

Only points accumulated in the last 52 weeks are included in the rankings, however, which means that for each yearly tournament the points earned by their players from last year are erased and replaced with their newest results. This means that a low-ranked player can shoot up several ranking spots with a single exceptional performance at a major tournament, but also that the same player can crash back down the ranking list if s/he fails to "defend" their points at the same tournament next year (assuming that their performances at all other tournaments are the same as last year's).

Rankings also determine the draws in tournaments through four different classifications:
* '''Seeded''': The highest-ranked players, who get the honor of a number by their name. Seeding differs from ranking as it only counts the players who have entered, which means that if the World No. 1 doesn't enter a tournament, then the No. 2 ranked player becomes the No. 1 seed and so on. The number of seeds depends on the size of the tournament and the seeds are spread out across the draw so that they only meet in later rounds, to prevent the top players from knocking out each other too early.
* '''Unseeded''': Players not highly ranked enough for seeding, but still enough to get automatic entry. The amount of these players again depends on the size of the tournament.
* '''Wildcard''': Awarded to players who don't have a high enough ranking to gain automatic entry; usually ones who are young but have potential, are from the country the tournament is being held in, will sell a lot of tickets, or who used to be highly ranked but slipped down due to injury/maternity leave, etc.
* '''Qualifiers''': Players not ranked high enough for direct entry, and who can't gain wildcards. A pre-tournament mini-tournament is held beforehand to determine the qualifiers who will be placed in the main draw. Qualifiers and wildcards are usually pitted against seeded players early on and so it is highly unusual for them to progress very far.

Of course, the official rankings aren't the whole story and it's important to keep in mind that Grand Slams aren't the only events that matter points-wise (in spite of what news coverage of them might imply), which means that it's perfectly possible for a player to not win a single Slam and still finish the year as No. 1 if the Slam points were really spread out among other players and the player performed exceptionally well in all other tournaments. Or for a player to win two Grand Slams and still not be ranked No. 1 if they didn't make it very far in the other Slams and skipped a lot of smaller tournaments. For an example of how controversial this can be, see [[http://www.espn.com/tennis/story/_/id/21228180/does-simona-halep-deserve-year-end-no-1-do-wta-rankings-need-repair this article]] on the 2017 year-end WTA rankings. The Player of the Year awards given out at the end of the year are usually more indicative of the actual stand-out players in cases like these.

!!Notable Players


[[folder:Current ATP Players]]
* '''Bob and Mike Bryan (USA)''' 1995-present: Twin brothers who were the No. 1 men's doubles team for practically the whole period from 2005 to early 2016, and hold virtually every record in the book for men's doubles teams. Their most notable team records are Grand Slam titles (16), tournaments won (109), most weeks at No. 1 (nearing 440), and most year-end No. 1 rankings (10). Named by ATP fans as their favorite team in each year since that award was created in 2006. They have a career Golden Slam in doubles after winning Olympic gold in London in 2012, and their win at Wimbledon in 2013 made them the first men's doubles team in the Open era to hold all four Grand Slam titles at once. Finally, they are the only men's doubles team in history to win every major title in the sport—all four Grand Slam events, Olympic gold, every Masters 1000 event,[[note]]There have been 10 Masters 1000 events, but only nine in any given season. The former Hamburg event moved to Shanghai in 2009; the Bryans won in Hamburg in 2007 and Shanghai in 2014.[[/note]] the YEC, and Davis Cup.
%%* '''Marin Čilić (Croatia)''' 2005-present: Won the 2014 US Open in his first-ever Grand Slam final, taking down Federer along the way. While long a solidly competitive player, he had previously made it to the semifinals in only one Slam and the quarterfinals in three more. %%needs more achievements to be mentioned
* '''Novak Djokovic (Serbia)''' 2003-present: Has held No. 1 for 223 weeks, and won 12 Grand Slams and an Olympic bronze medal in singles. Was constantly overshadowed by Federer and Nadal early on in his career [[OvershadowedByAwesome despite being World No. 3]], until he went on a spectacular 43-0 game winning streak in 2011. Is also known as "[[FanNickname Djoker]]" for his sense of humor and impersonations of other players. In 2016, he became the first men's singles tennis player since Rod Laver in ''1969'' to win four consecutive Slams, also earning the career Slam in the process.
* '''Roger Federer (Switzerland)''' 1998-present: Has held No. 1 for 308 weeks (longer than any other ATP player). Has won an Open Era ATP record of 20 Grand Slams -- a record 8 Wimbledon, and both record-equalling 5 US Open and 6 Australian Open titles (and 1 French Open, but that's not a record). Also has an Olympic gold medal in men's doubles with Stan Wawrinka and a silver in singles. Is often cited as the greatest tennis player of all time. If one were to look up ATP tennis records on Wiki/TheOtherWiki, [[TheAce one would find his name on 90%]]. During his 2012 Wimbledon run he [[SerialEscalation broke a record in every match he played]] after the second round. His return to the top of the rankings in February 2018 made him the oldest No. 1 at age 36, and is also the longest gap between No. 1 stints in ATP rankings history at 5 years and 106 days.
* '''Andy Murray (UK)''' 2005-present: Has held No. 1 for 41 weeks and won 3 Grand Slams. In his earlier years, he was constantly known as "the best tennis player to never win a Grand Slam" because he did well enough in Slams to reach four finals yet wasn't able to win any of them. However, he eventually broke a 76-year national hoodoo in 2012 by becoming the first male Brit to win a major -- the US Open -- since Fred Perry in 1936; and then broke a similar national drought the very next year by becoming the first male Brit to win {{UsefulNotes/Wimbledon}} since -- you guessed it -- Fred Perry in 1936, and then won it the second time in 2016. He's won not only one Olympic silver medal in mixed doubles, but ''two'' back-to-back gold medals in singles, making him the first tennis player to win two singles gold medals in a row. He also led Great Britain to a Davis Cup title in 2015, breaking a 79-year drought in that event. [[RunningGag Guess who was Britain's leading player back then...]]
* '''Rafael Nadal (Spain)''' 2001-present: Current no. 1, 167 weeks and counting. Also holds the record [[AlwaysSecondBest for the most weeks at No. 2]]. He has won 16 Grand Slams. One of only four people to achieve a singles Career Golden Slam, which entails winning all four Grand Slam championships ''and'' the Olympic gold medal. Known as the "King of Clay", he has won 10 French Open championships -- he's lost only ''two'' matches there, and is the first player to win 10 titles at a grand slam in the Open era. He also has an Olympic gold medal in men's doubles with Marc López.
* '''Juan Martín del Potro (Argentina)''' 2005-present: Has won 1 Grand Slam and two Olympic medals -- bronze and silver -- in singles. The only active player outside of the Big Four[[note]] Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Andy Murray[[/note]] to have won a Grand Slam from the 2005 French Open through the 2013 US Open. Following his breakthrough Slam victory at the 2009 US Open, he spent most of the next year out with a [[GameBreakingInjury wrist injury]] and has been working his way back to Slam-threatening form ever since. The first of only two men to have beaten both Federer and Nadal in the same Grand Slam tournament. He has been nicknamed the "Tower of Tandil" because of his 6'6'' frame and is also known as the "GentleGiant" of the tour for his soft-spoken disposition too.
* '''Stanislas "Stan" Wawrinka (Switzerland)''' 2002-present: Has won 3 Grand Slams, and teamed up with Federer to win Olympic gold in doubles in 2008. Was considered to be a mid-tier player for most of his career until he unexpectedly took Djokovic to 5 sets in the fourth round of the 2013 Australian Open and used that match as a launching pad to top 10 and Slam contender status. He's also the first non-Big 4 male player to win multiple Slams since Hewitt in 2001-02.

[[folder:Current WTA Players]]
* '''Victoria Azarenka (Belarus)''' 2003-present: Has held No. 1 for 51 weeks. Has won 2 singles Grand Slams and 2 mixed doubles. She won the first Olympic gold medal awarded for mixed doubles (at London 2012), also picking up a bronze medal in the singles. As well as her achievements, she is known for her distinctive "wail" on court. She began her maternity leave in 2016 for her first child and came back in the latter half of 2017.
* '''Angelique Kerber (Germany)''' 2003-present: Has held No. 1 for 34 weeks. Has won 2 Grand Slams and an Olympic silver medal in singles. She made her first breakthrough as a 2011 US Open semi-finalist at a mere world ranking of 92; however her biggest achievements came rolling in 2016, starting with a surprise appearance and victory over Serena Williams in the Australian Open final. Later her US Open win made her the first woman to win multiple singles grand slams in the same year other than Serena since Justine Henin in 2007. A southpaw tennis player, she's known for her aggressive counterpunching.
* '''Petra Kvitová (Czech Republic)''' 2006-present: Has won 2 Grand Slams, both of them at Wimbledon, and an Olympic bronze medal in singles. A shy southpaw who can hit the ball with bruising power and - much like Li Na - is unstoppable on her best day but beatable by anyone on her worst. She's also affectionately called "[[FanNickname P3tra]]" by some fans for her penchant for getting into 3-setters regardless of her opponents' ranking. A shocking knife attack at home at the end of 2016 injured her left wrist, leaving her in hiatus until Roland Garros 2017.
* '''Garbiñe Muguruza (Spain)''' 2011-present: Has held No.1 for four weeks. Has won 2 Grand Slams. Born in 1993, she is the youngest out of the active players to hold multiple Slams so far. She's made the impressive feat of being the first and only player to beat both Williams sisters in Slam finals -- Serena in the 2016 French Open final, and Venus in the 2017 Wimbledon final. Known for her powerful groundstrokes and high-risk attacking game.
* '''Maria Sharapova (Russia)''' 2001-present: Has held No. 1 for 21 weeks. Has won 5 Grand Slams to achieve a Career Grand Slam and an Olympic silver medal in singles. She shot to fame by winning her maiden Slam at Wimbledon when she was just 17; ever since then, she's recovered from shoulder injuries and her "cow on ice" issues on clay to become one of the steeliest (and [[ScreamingWarrior loudest]]) competitors in tennis and an unexpected clay court master too. Unfortunately, her career hit a major snag in 2016 when she tested positive for the banned PED meldonium and was banned from the tour until 2017.
* '''Serena Williams (USA)''' 1995-present: Has held No. 1 for 319 weeks. Has won an Open Era record 23 singles Grand Slams, as well as 13 doubles and 2 mixed doubles. She has achieved the Career Golden Slam in both singles and doubles (her doubles partner being her sister Venus), winning the Olympic gold in doubles 3 times. Is also the only female tennis player to earn over $40 million, the oldest female No. 1 tennis player, ''and'' the oldest tennis player overall to win a singles Slam. On top of that, while Serena is yet to win a calendar-year Grand Slam, she has held all four Grand Slam singles trophies at the same time twice. Needless to say, she is the other person frequently cited as the greatest tennis player of all time. Took a maternity leave between April 2017 and February 2018 -- turned out she won the 2017 Australian Open ''while {{pregnant|Badass}}''.
* '''Venus Williams (USA)''' 1994-present: Has held No. 1 for 11 weeks. Has won 7 singles Grand Slams, 13 doubles and 2 mixed. She has also won an Olympic gold medal in singles, a silver medal in mixed doubles and and 3 gold medals in women's doubles, completing the Career Golden Slam with her younger sister Serena. In singles, [[SiblingRivalry she and Serena have been pitted against each other nine times in Grand Slam finals]]. In addition to their remarkable achievements, they are also distinctive for being the most successful Black players of any nationality, for either sex. Unsurprisingly, she and Serena are very vocal against the sexism and racism that still plagues tennis today.
* '''Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark)''' 2005-present: Has held No. 1 for 71 weeks. Has won one Grand Slam. Initially well-known for having some decent runs as No. 1 over 2010-12 by winning many tournaments ''but'' the Grand Slams (although she made it to two US Open finals outside of that time). Her return to the top of the rankings 6 years later by winning the 2018 Australian Open was the longest gap between stints as the No. 1.

[[folder:Retired ATP Players]]
* '''Andre Agassi (USA)''' 1986-2006: Held No. 1 for 101 weeks. Won 8 Grand Slams. One of four people to achieve the singles Career Golden Slam. Played until 36, holding the record for the oldest player ranked No. 1 (at 33). Known earlier in his career for his wild power off the ground, which gradually changed to a more measured, steady baseline attack in his later years. Also known earlier for his wacky outfits and long blonde wig and later for his BaldOfAwesome. Married to Steffi Graf.
* '''Arthur Ashe (USA)''' 1969-1980: Won 3 Grand Slams. His highest career ranking under the official ATP rankings was No. 2, but he was accepted as the unofficial year-end No. 1 in 1975 by many non-computerized experts. He became the first African-American man to win a Grand Slam, his most memorable Slam victory being his stunning defeat of Jimmy Connors in the 1975 Wimbledon final through tactical play. In addition to his tennis achievements, he was well-known for his humanitarian and civil rights work in the United States and Africa. A humanitarian award and the main stadium at the US Open were named after him in his honor.
* '''Boris Becker (West Germany/Germany)''' 1984-1999: Held No.1 for 12 weeks. Won 6 Grand Slams and an Olympic doubles gold medal. Shot to fame as a 17-year-old in 1985 when he became the then-youngest male Grand Slam singles champion with his Wimbledon victory. This was also notable as he was unseeded and a surprise winner. He was known for his eccentric displays of emotion and for frequently diving and throwing himself across the court.
* '''Björn Borg (Sweden)''' 1973-1983, 1991-1993: Held No. 1 for 109 weeks. Won 11 Grand Slams. Arch-rival of John [=McEnroe=], he was nicknamed the Iceman because of his steely and cool demeanour on court, while his looks gained him a reputation as the first 'rockstar tennis player'. Borg won 6 titles at Roland Garros, surpassed only by Nadal, and his tireless baseline game was the model for clay-courters in the years to come. He was also noted for 5 consecutive Wimbledon titles, a record [[WorthyOpponent he watched Federer equal in spite of previously saying he never wanted it touched]].
* '''Michael Chang (USA)''' 1988-2003: Won 1 Grand Slam. Known for being the first Asian male to win a major title (the 1989 French Open) at the age of 17, as the youngest ever male Grand Slam champion. Chang was renowned for his frightening foot speed and retrieval ability, and was the first American to win a major in his generation, before being followed by Jim Courier, Pete Sampras, and Andre Agassi.
* '''Jimmy Connors (USA)''' 1972-1996: Held No. 1 for 268 weeks. Won 8 Grand Slam singles titles and 2 doubles. The first of the notable players to emerge at the advent of the Open Era, Jimmy Connors was a ferocious power baseliner whose heart and will were only matched by his pugnacious attitude towards others. Commendable for having played in three decades, with one of his most memorable moments being his run to the 1991 US Open semifinals at the age of 39. Over his long career he won a record 109 ATP singles titles.
* '''Rod Laver (Australia)''' 1962-1979: Started playing before the advent of the Open Era and a reliable ranking system, but subjective rankings have him as the year-end No. 1 for 7 straight years from 1964 to 1970. Won 11 Grand Slams in singles, 6 in doubles and 3 in mixed, and a record total of 200 titles overall. Is the only player to complete the Calendar Year Grand Slam ''twice'', the first one as a pre-Open Era amateur in 1962 and the second one as an Open Era professional in 1969. Needless to say, he's often included on the short list of the greatest tennis players ever. The arena that serves as center court for the Australian Open is named in his honor.
* '''Lleyton Hewitt (Australia)''' 1998-2016: Was the youngest-ever world No. 1, which he held for 80 weeks, and won 2 singles Grand Slams and 1 doubles. After an explosive start to his career in which he set a number of "youngest ever" records, he was unable to keep up with his peers' rapid improvement. Throw in a number of injury-related lay-offs and a run in with Father Time, and old [[FanNickname Rusty]] never regained his position at the top of the game after 2003, but his raw enthusiasm and [[{{Determinator}} never say die]] attitude kept him firmly in a crowd favourite spot until his retirement.
* '''Ivan Lendl (Czechoslovakia/USA)''' 1978-1994: Held No. 1 for 270 weeks. Won 8 Grand Slams. Probably better regarded now then he was during his prime, Lendl took Connors's game plan and refined it, turning baseline tennis into a brutal slugfest and ushering in the era of the power-baseliner. Was not popular due to the politics of the time; [[RedScare at the heart of the Cold War]], the robotic and seemingly emotionless Lendl was easy to root against, as Connors and [=McEnroe=] can attest to. Known for his power off the ground and his tendency to drill the ball straight at volleyers instead of attempting a passing shot. Being Andy Murray's coach, they are the only two players in ATP history to lose their first four Slam finals.
* '''John [=McEnroe=] (USA)''' 1978-1992: Held No. 1 for 170 weeks. Won 7 Grand Slam singles titles and 10 doubles. He was a devastating serve and volleyer, but is best remembered for [[HotBlooded his notorious temper]], frequent misconduct and especially the CatchPhrase "You cannot be serious!"[[note]] [[UnstoppableRage You can't be serious, man. You canNOT BE SERIOUS. That ball was ON THE LINE. CHALK FLEW UP. It was CLEARLY IN. How can you POSSIBLY CALL THAT OUT? He's walking over, EVERYONE knows it's in, in the WHOLE STADIUM and YOU CALL IT OUT? You guys are the absolute PITS of the world.]][[/note]]. He is the only player in the Open Era to be disqualified from a Grand Slam for Unsportsmanlike Conduct; the 1980 Australian Open, where one of his offences was [[FelonyMisdemeanor staring at a line judge]]. Naturally he was quite a divisive figure, but is now more widely loved for his personality and continued passion for the sport. Regularly commentates on Grand Slam tournaments and is known to be creepily accurate in his predictions.
* '''Andy Roddick (USA)''' 2000-2012: Held No. 1 for 13 weeks. Won 1 Grand Slam. Formerly held the record for the fastest serve, at 155 mph (250 km/h) before it was broken by Ivo Karlovic, who fired a 157 mph (251 km/h) serve in Davis Cup. Known for his friendly rivalry with Roger Federer (it became a running joke that Roddick could not get through a press conference or interview without Federer being mentioned). Also famed for his [[DeadpanSnarker snark-filled press conferences]] and occasional but impressive racquet smashes.
* '''Pete Sampras (USA)''' 1988-2002: Held No. 1 for 286 weeks. Won 14 Grand Slams. These were both records until Roger Federer stole his thunder. However, he still has the record for being ranked World No. 1 for the most years in a row, with six under his belt. Widely regarded as one of the greatest grass-courters of all time, holding what used to be a record seven {{UsefulNotes/Wimbledon}} titles ([[RunningGag until Federer won his 8th]]) and losing only one match there from 1993 to 2000.

[[folder:Retired WTA Players]]
* '''Maureen Connolly Brinker (USA)''' 1951-1954: Pre-ranking career. Won 9 Grand Slam singles titles and 3 doubles. Also known as Little Mo, she was the first woman and only the second person to complete the Calendar Year Grand Slam in 1953. She lost only one set in these four tournaments. Her tennis career was cut short at the age of 19 by a traffic accident that crushed her right leg.
* '''Jennifer Capriati (USA)''' 1990-2004: Held No. 1 for 17 weeks. Won 3 Grand Slams. Her fame comes from the rollercoaster nature of her career that began with her rocketing to stardom when she reached the French Open semifinals at [[TeenGenius just 14 years old]] and won the Olympic gold medal two years later, plunged with her struggles with depression and drugs, and ascended again with her inspiring tennis comeback at a more mature age until injuries forced her out of play. Her well-publicized troubles as a burnt-out teen prodigy also caused the Women's Tennis Association to pass the "Capriati Rule" limiting the number of tournaments players below the age of 18 could enter to prevent similar burnouts in the future.
* '''Kim Clijsters (Belgium)''' 1997-2007, 2009-2012: Held No. 1 for 20 weeks. Has won 4 singles Grand Slams, 3 of them interestingly coming after her brief retirement. The first of them, the 2009 US Open, was just her third tournament since unretiring and made her the first US Open champion as a ''wildcard'' as well as the first mother to win a slam in the Open era since Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1980. Was affectionately known as Aussie Kim by Australians due to her temporary engagement to Lleyton Hewitt (and she declared she finally earned the nickname after winning the Australian Open), and is universally liked for her warm personality.
* '''Margaret Court (Australia)''' 1960-1977: Won a record 24 Grand Slam singles titles, 19 Grand Slam women's doubles titles and a record 21 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles. She achieved the Calendar Year Grand Slam once in singles and twice in mixed doubles, the Career Boxed Set[[note]] completing the Career Grand Slam in all three disciplines[[/note]] twice over and the Triple Crown[[note]] winning in the singles, doubles and mixed doubles at the same Grand Slam event[[/note]] on five occasions. She also holds the record for the most Grand Slam titles as a mother.
* '''Chris Evert (USA)''' 1972-1989: Held No. 1 for 260 weeks. Won 18 Grand Slams, including a record 7 at the French Open and a record 6 at the U.S. Open. Also won 2 doubles Grand Slams. She was the year-ending World No. 1 singles player in 1975, 1976, 1977, 1980, and 1981. Her career win-loss record in singles matches of 1,309-146 (.900) is the best of any professional player in tennis history. Known for her calm, steely demeanor on court, she was nicknamed the "Ice Maiden" of tennis.
* '''Althea Gibson (USA)''' 1950-1958: Won 5 Grand Slam singles titles, 5 Grand Slam doubles titles, and 1 Mixed Doubles title. She was the first African American to win a Grand Slam when she won the French Championship in 1956, prior to the Open Era, and the first African American woman to win a Slam prior to the William Sisters. She won two Wimbledon titles in back to back years (1957-1958). She was the first woman to be awarded the Theodore Roosevelt Award in 1991, induced into the International Hall of Fame in 1980, and had a statue built in her honor in Newark New Jersey. Like Jackie Robinson is credited for breaking the color barrier in professional baseball, Gibson is see by many as the tennis player who broke the color barrier and made it possible for future people of color to compete in what was a prominently Caucasian sport.
* '''Stefanie Marie "Steffi" Graf (West Germany/Germany)''' 1982-1999: Held No. 1 for a record 377 weeks. Mr. Agassi's lovely wife, she won 22 Grand Slams and achieved a Calendar Year Golden Slam in 1988; i.e., doing the Career Golden Slam ''in a single year''. Is also the only player, male or female, to win every Slam at least four times. Nicknamed "Fräulein Forehand" by fans due to the power and accuracy of her signature shot.
* '''Justine Henin (Belgium)''' 1999-2008, 2010-2011: Held No. 1 for 117 weeks. Won 7 Grand Slams and an Olympic gold medal in singles. She abruptly retired in mid-2008 when she was still ranked No. 1, only to [[TenMinuteRetirement unretire]] after her countrywoman Kim Clijsters made a successful comeback in 2009 until injuries and a lack of success caused her to retire again a year later. Is renowned for her clay-court prowess and vicious one-handed backhand, and is generally regarded as one of the few players who could challenge Serena Williams in her prime.
* '''Martina Hingis (Switzerland)''' 1994-2003, 2005, 2006-2007, 2013-2017: Held No. 1 for 209 weeks. Won 5 singles Grand Slams, 13 doubles and 7 mixed doubles, and an Olympic silver medal in doubles with Timea Bacsinszky. The [[FanNickname Swiss Miss]][[note]] (though born in what is now Slovakia; she arrived in Switzerland when she was 7, after her mother fled the then-Czechoslovakia with her)[[/note]] is the youngest Grand Slam champion ever, winning her first ''doubles'' title at [[ImprobableAge just 15 years old]]. She is also the youngest ''singles'' champion of the Open Era, winning the her maiden Slam the next year at 16. In 1998 she achieved the Calendar Year Grand Slam in doubles. She was plagued by injuries at a young age, causing [[TenMinuteRetirement repeated retirement-return]] tangos. Her third retirement was in 2007, shortly after she [[DrugsAreBad received a 2-year ban for testing positive for cocaine]]. During this retirement, she was a regular player in World Team Tennis and in July 2013, she returned to the WTA tour in doubles and won her first Slam since ''2002'' with Leander Paes at the 2015 Australian Open. Hingis went on to win 10 of her doubles Slams since her return, announcing her ''fourth'' retirement during the 2017 WTA Finals after having swept the doubles titles at the US Open. We'll see if this retirement sticks.
* '''Billie Jean King (USA)''' 1968-1983: Won 12 Grand Slam singles titles, 16 Grand Slam women's doubles titles, and 11 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles. She completed the Triple Crown three times. In 1973, she won the second (and possibly most famous) "Battle of the Sexes" (which was adapted into a movie in 2017), a three-set promotional match against former Wimbledon men's singles champion Bobby Riggs. Long an advocate for women's equality in sport and society, she was the founder of the Women's Tennis Association, the Women's Sports Foundation, and owner of World Team Tennis, which was founded by her former husband, Larry King and three others. The complex that hosts the US Open is named after her.
* '''Li Na (China)''' 1999-2014: Won 2 Grand Slams. Became the first player from an Asian country (male or female) to win a Slam when she won the 2011 French Open, and also won the 2014 Australian Open. Had a reputation for being able to hit anyone off the court on a good day and herself off the same court on a bad day, and also for giving some of the funniest interviews on tour. Retired in September 2014 due to persistent knee problems.
* '''Martina Navratilova (Czech Republic/USA)''' 1974-1994, 1999-2006: Held No. 1 for 332 weeks. Won 18 Grand Slam singles titles, 31 Grand Slam women's doubles titles (an all-time record), and 10 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles. Completed the Career Boxed Set and achieved the Triple Crown once. She is the only man or woman to have won 8 different tournaments at least 7 times and won a record 9 Wimbledon titles. She also had an extraordinarily long-lived career, finishing in the top 10 singles rankings for 20 straight years and winning her last Grand Slam title (mixed doubles at the 2006 US Open) at ''49'' years of age. Originally from Czechoslovakia, she asked for political asylum in the US in 1975, was stripped of her Czech citizenship (later restored by the Czech Republic), and became a US citizen in 1981. She also came out as a lesbian in 1981 and has been an activist for gay rights, filing a lawsuit in 1992 against Amendment 2 (a Colorado ballot proposition designed to deny legal protections to gays and lesbians that was later overturned in Romer v. Evans).
* '''Monica Seles (Yugoslavia/USA)''' 1988-1993, 1995-2003: Held No. 1 for 178 weeks. Won 9 Grand Slam singles titles. An incredible young woman who made the semifinals of her first Grand Slam tournament at the age of 14, before winning her first Slam two years later at Roland Garros. She won 7 Slams between 1990 and 1993, including an undefeated run at the Australian Open. Her career was tragically cut short in 1993 when she was stabbed in the back by a crazed Graf fan in Hamburg. She made a comeback in 1995 and went on to win the Australian Open the next year; however, she never regained her incredible form before the attack.[[note]] Years later, she acknowledged bouts with depression and food addiction in the wake of the stabbing. Also, not long after she came back, her father (and longtime coach) was diagnosed with cancer, and died in 1998.[[/note]]


* ArtifactTitle: The "Big Four" refers to the dominance of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic in the ATP tour especially in grand slams (only three other men have won a singles grand slam after 2008), however this title has weakened from the mid-2010s onwards given the up and down statuses of all four players. Other players are also threatening the Big Four more often -- for example top 10 regular Stan Wawrinka has equalled Murray for Slam wins (although it should be noted Murray still has a [[https://twitter.com/P2Hags/status/969938384432050176 more impressive record overall]]) which has lead to the unofficial "Fab Five" term, and another top 10 regular Marin Cilic has made an additional two slam finals after his darkhorse US Open victory in 2014.
* BigGame: The increasing emphasis on [[LightningBruiser athleticism]], [[StoneWall endurance]] and [[GradualGrinder long rallies]] in modern tennis has caused matches to become steadily longer and more physically grueling and records for "longest tennis X ever" to be broken with semi-regularity now: the 2012 Australian Open final between Djokovic and Nadal surpassed the former longest Grand Slam final ever by nearly an hour and left the world's two most athletic players [[YouCanBarelyStand so exhausted that chairs had to be brought in for them before the trophy presentation]]. In the UsefulNotes/OlympicGames later that year, the "longest 3 set match" record was broken ''twice in two days'' by Tsonga vs. Raonic and then Federer vs. del Potro.
* BookEnds: Pete Sampras's first (1990) and last (2002) Grand Slams were U.S. Open victories over Andre Agassi.
* BreatherEpisode:
** The ''Legends'' or Past Player tournaments held at some of the Opens, such as the Australian Open, features popular retired players getting up to mischief in a shortened game. It's a great way to wind down if a tense game just played.
** Although still a legit tournament, the rather small-scale Hopman Cup is more relaxed compared to the year-long and intense Fed and Davis Cups. Players aren't afraid to crack jokes and have a good laugh even midmatch.
* BrokenWinLossStreak: Statistics are almost as extensive and detailed in tennis as they are in baseball; as such, when someone's streak is broken, you know about it.
** Perhaps the most [[MemeticMutation memetic]] instance of this is Vitas Gerulaitis breaking a streak of 16 straight losses to Jimmy Connors at the 1980 Masters. After the match, he famously declared, "Nobody beats Vitas Gerulaitis 17 times in a row."
** Martina Navratilova had the longest-ever winning streak in the Open Era, racking up 74 consecutive wins in 1984 and winning 3 Grand Slams in a row. Helena Suková ended it in the Australian Open semifinals[[note]]the Australian Open was held in December instead of January at that time[[/note]].
** Roger Federer had a remarkable streak of 23 consecutive Grand Slam semifinal appearances dating back to the 2004 Wimbledon Championships that was finally broken by Robin Söderling in their 2010 French Open quarterfinal. His similar record streak of 35 Slam quarterfinals stretched from Wimbledon 2004 - French Open 2013, before it was broken in the second round of Wimbledon by Sergiy Stakhovsky.
** Novak Djokovic went 43 matches in a row without being defeated over 2010-11 -- this was broken by Federer in their French Open semifinal. He also went undefeated for 30 grand slam matches over 2015-16 -- this was broken by Sam Querrey in Round 3 of Wimbledon.
** Rafael Nadal's insane 46-match winning streak (and ''8'' consecutive titles won) at the Monte Carlo Masters was broken in the 2013 final by Djokovic.
* BrotherSisterTeam: Marat Safin and Dinara Safina are the only brother and sister to both reach the No. 1 ranking in singles. They also physically teamed up for the mixed doubles at the 2009 Hopman Cup, achieving a runner-up finish.
* CoolVsAwesome: Setting aside any match by the Big Four, there's also the 5-set Sampras-Federer match from the 2001 Wimbledon. It was an epic match between two men who have defined entire eras of the game's history, and it was the only time they ever faced each other in a Slam.
* CrackDefeat: Any match where a top-ranked player loses to someone ranked considerably lower than them (especially if they're qualifiers) is considered a crack defeat, and not even the greatest players are immune to this.
** Wimbledon 2013 was infamous for the number of losses, injury retirements and withdrawals that occurred during the first week. Amongst the biggest shocks were:
*** World No. 5 and French Open champion Rafael Nadal losing to World No. 135 Steve Darcis in the 1st round. Darcis has won a total of 2 matches at Wimbledon in his 10 year career.
*** World No. 3 and defending champion Roger Federer losing to World No. 116 Sergiy Stakhozsky in the 2nd round, snapping his record breaking QF streak and marking his first loss to a player outside the top 100 in 8 years.
*** World No. 3 Maria Sharapova losing to World No. 131 Michelle Larcher de Brito in the 2nd round. Larcher de Brito had only appeared in the main draw twice before.
*** World No. 1, US, French and defending champion Serena Williams losing to Sabine Lisicki in the 4th round. This was the 4th consecutive time that Lisicki had knocked the French Open champion out of Wimbledon.
** An earlier example is Richard Krajicek's 1996 victory at Wimbledon, winning decisive three-set victories in the quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals. It was the only time between 1993 and 2000 that the tournament was not won by Peter Sampras, who was trounced in the quarterfinals.
** The men's tournament from Wimbledon 2002 was also infamous. Excluding No. 1 seed Lleyton Hewitt and No. 4 seed Tim Henman, all the players in the top 17 were eliminated prior to the fourth round! Moreover, Hewitt and Henman were on the same side of the draw, so only one of them could make it past the semifinals. Among others, 7-time champion Pete Sampras lost on the dreaded Court No. 2, the "Graveyard of Champions", in the second round. World No. 2 Andre Agassi and No. 3 Marat Safin also lost in the second round. This really opened up the draw for other players to reach the final. However, in the end it was Lleyton Hewitt who won the tournament by beating David Nalbandian.
** The main storyline of the 2015 US Open was Serena Williams's quest for the calendar-year Grand Slam. She made it to the semifinals and with her last two opponents being No. 43 Roberta Vinci, whom she had beaten in every one of their previous matches (always in straight sets), and No. 26 Flavia Pennetta waiting in the final, her making history looked all but set in stone. However, Vinci had other ideas against a visibly tense Serena in the semifinals and pulled off one of the biggest upsets ever in sports history to create one of the unlikeliest Grand Slam finals of all time.
** The 2016 Rio Olympics lost many seeds early on - noteworthy is that ''all'' of the No. 1 seeds bowed out early, majority in the ''first'' round.
*** In Round 1, Novak Djokovic (men's singles), having finally won all four Grand Slams and on a quest to complete his Career Golden Slam, lost to Juan Martín del Potro, No. 141 at the time. While his prowess as a former top 10 player was no surprise, Del Potro trailed 3-11 in his rivalry with Djokovic and had only come back from a wrist injury earlier that year, making his fitness a concern. This made it the second time he's stopped Djokovic from getting an Olympic medal.
*** In Round 1, Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert (men's doubles), fresh off a Wimbledon win amongst other titles, lost to Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, both ranked 29 in doubles.
*** In Round 1, Serena and Venus Williams, recent Wimbledon winners and having previously won three gold medals for the women's doubles, lost to Lucie Safarova and Barbora Strycova, 20 and 39 in doubles rankings respectively.
*** Serena Williams, defending gold medallist for women's singles and having recently won her 22nd grand slam at Wimbledon, lost to Elina Svitolina in Round 3. Svitolina, ranked No. 20, had only won one set against her in their previous three meetings.
** The 2017 Australian Open became notorious for many many upsets of seeded players against lower ranked and often unseeded players, especially in early rounds (in the first round alone, ''11'' mens' and womens' seeds lost). Notably, Novak Djokovic (six-time defending champion, No. 2), Angelique Kerber (defending champion, No. 1) and Andy Murray (five-time finalist, No. 1) all got knocked out by the fourth round to unseeded players (the lowest being Djokovic's opponent Denis Istomin, ranked 117); this meant that not only did both defending champions lose early, but it was the first time in the Open Era that neither World No. 1 players made it to the quarterfinals!
* CrowdChant: This generally happens between points and games, as quiet is required whilst the ball is in play. You are least likely to hear it at Wimbledon (sometimes known as the Cathedral of Tennis, it's so quiet) where [[BritishStuffiness tradition]] overrides raw enthusiasm - unless there's a home favourite or an Aussie in the later stages.
* CurbStompBattle: Any match won in straight sets with any combination of 6-0's to 6-3's are considered one-sided thrashings. In particular are two scores players dread being the receiving end of - the double bagel (6-0 6-0) and the double breadstick (6-1 6-1) (worst when it's the best of five sets in men's tennis and players get ''triple'' bagels or breadsticks). Natalia Zvereva was the receiving end of one such brutal match when she lost to Steffi Graff 6-0, 6-0 in 32 minutes in the 1988 French Open final.
* DarkHorseVictory:
** From the 2005 French Open through the 2013 US Open, there was only one (men's) Grand Slam title won by someone who isn't Federer, Nadal, Djokovic or Murray — Juan Martín del Potro's 2009 US Open win. However, other unexpected winners started to emerge since then:
*** Stan Wawrinka winning his first slam against favourite Nadal at the Aussie Open in 2014. He has since then had a few more surprising slams.
*** Marin Čilić winning his first slam at the US Open in 2014. The players in the final itself was surprising - the semifinals had World No. 1 Djokovic facing Kei Nishikori, an injury-prone player who had battled through two consecutive five-setters just to make it to his first-ever Slam semifinal, and World No. 2 Federer facing Čilić, a player he had never lost to in five prior meetings and who had a reputation for folding against the top players. Needless to say, everyone was penciling in another Djokovic-Federer Slam final... but instead, they got a Cilic-Nishikori final. Nishikori himself was leading 5-2 in their previous meetings at the time, which made Cilic's win all the more unexpected.
** Djokovic's 2008 Australian Open win occurred in the midst of the Federer-Nadal era and his opponent was the just-as-unexpected finalist Tsonga, essentially setting up a Dark Horse ''Match'' that was the first Grand Slam final since 2005 that didn't have Federer or Nadal playing in it.
** Serena Williams, the World No. 1 most of the time and having won an Open era record of 23 slams, has dominated the women's game since the late 1990s, with some other players having made their mark too. Despite that, unexpected winners have also come from the women's side:
*** In the women's 2011 US Open final, the two opponents were Serena Williams, who had breezed through the earlier rounds without dropping a single set, and Samantha Stosur who had never won a Slam before and had a reputation for choking under pressure. The winner? Stosur, in straight sets no less.
*** In the 2013 Wimbledon Championships, defending champion Serena Williams was considered to be such an overwhelming favorite that virtually everyone was coronating her before the tournament had even started. Everyone also agreed that if Serena ''did'' lose for some reason, either No. 2 Victoria Azarenka or No. 3 Maria Sharapova, her two closest rivals, would be the one lifting the trophy instead. The actual women's champion? Marion Bartoli, who entered the tournament as an all-but-invisible 15th seed and ended up winning the whole thing without dropping a set.
*** The 2015 US Open women's semifinal had Serena Williams (who won the last 4 slams and was pursuing the Calendar Year Grand Slam) facing No. 43 Roberta Vinci and World No. 2 Simona Halep (French Open finalist last year) facing No. 26 Flavia Pennetta. Both of the underdogs made it to the final, with Flavia Pennetta being the one to emerge victorious in the all-Italian final.
*** At the 2016 Australian Open, everybody expected either Serena Williams or Victoria Azarenka (a former No. 1 who seemed to be rounding back into form) to win it. No one saw Angelique Kerber, who had never made a major final before and couldn't make it past the third round at any of her majors the previous year, winning it instead with an inspired performance. It was also the first time Serena had lost a major final since ''2011''.
*** The expected gold medallist for women's singles in the 2016 Rio Olympics? Serena Williams, if not then any of the other top 5 seeds such as the World No.2 and Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber. Actual gold medallist? The unseeded World No. 34 Monica Puig, who took down French Open champion Garbiñe Muguruza, Petra Kvitová ''and'' Kerber to do so - this made her the first ever athlete from Puerto Rico to win the Olympic gold.
*** The 2017 French Open women's draw was considered very open due to the lack of big names present (Serena Williams, Azarenka, Sharapova), and many top seeds or clay-court specialists were deemed the "favourite". That didn't stop everyone from being shocked by the winner -- the World No. 47 Jeļena Ostapenko, who just turned 20 a few days earlier, never won a title and lost all her first-round grand slam matches the previous year. She came back from a set and 3–0 down to stun the No. 3 seed and 2014 finalist Simona Halep, who was perhaps the biggest favourite to win the tournament, giving her a three-pack of "firsts"—first player of either sex to win a Grand Slam event for his or her first tour win since Gustavo Kuerten at the 1997 French Open (on ''the very day'' Ostapenko was born!), first woman to do the same since Barbara Jordan at the 1979 Australian Open, and first unseeded player to win the women's singles at Roland Garros since 1933.
*** Amongst the various favourites for the 2017 US Open (including eight women fighting for the No. 1 ranking) was the young World No. 83 Sloane Stephens, who had reached one Slam semifinal and quarterfinal in the past but was sidelined by a foot injury until July that year, lost her opening Wimbledon match, and dropped to No. 957 a month before the tournament began. Her surprise semifinal appearances in Montreal and Cincinatti turned out to be no fluke, however, and she lead an inspiring run to win the whole tournament, including a win over Venus Williams in the semis. She became the fifth unseeded woman to win a Grand Slam singles title in the Open era as well as the first non-Williams American winner since Jennifer Capriati in 2002.
* DefeatingTheUndefeatable: Prior to the 2009 French Open, Robin Söderling had never made it past the third round of a Slam, and his fourth-round opponent in this particular Slam happened to be Rafael "King of Clay" Nadal who 1) was riding a record undefeated streak of 31 wins at the French Open, 2) had broken Roger Federer's own record streak of 237 weeks as World No. 1 just last year, and 3) had soundly beaten Söderling in all of their previous encounters. The result of the encounter? A four-set win for ''Söderling''. To put things into perspective, ever since then, Nadal's only lost one other proper match at Roland Garros to Djokovic in 2015[[note]]due to injury he lost via a walkover in 2016[[/note]] and has achieved the "La Decima", showing that he really is impressive on clay as well as the French Open itself.
* DentedIron: Pro tennis is a punishing sport, and top-level players have, at most and if they're lucky, ten peak years before the accumulated physical wear and tear takes its toll. Examples of this include 2017 when virtually everyone at the top in the ATP Tour, including Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Milos Raonic, Kei Nishikori, Stan Wawrinka, Tomas Berdych, Marin Cilic, Nick Kyrgios, and even Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were all down with injuries at some point or the other, with the first six being forced to cut short their seasons and Nadal withdrawing near the end of the season. Juan Martin Del Potro has especially had it bad, laying low for years with a wrist injury before beginning his climb again in 2016.
* DownToTheLastPlay:
** If a match goes to a final set (3rd or 5th depending on the tournament) the players are essentially starting from scratch; whoever takes the set takes the match. This is even more apparent in tournaments that employ the final set tie-break. A single point on the opponent's serve will win you match that will have lasted hours.
** The race between Marat Safin and Gustavo Kuerten in 2000 for the year-end No. 1 ranking. Safin lost in the semifinals of the year-end championships, but had enough of a lead over Kuerten that [[FanNickname Guga]] needed to win the championships to overtake him for No. 1 - and he had to beat both Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi to do it. ''No one'' had ever beaten both Sampras and Agassi in the same tournament before, but Kuerten amazingly managed to pull it off and snatch the No. 1 spot from under Safin's nose. It's the first of two times in the Open Era that the final No. 1 ranking was decided by the very last match of the year.
** The second time the year-end No. 1 ranking was decided by the very last match of the year was the 2016 World Tour Finals between Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic. Murray had just recently overtaken Djokovic as the World No. 1, with not many points between the two which meant it was possible for Djokovic to get the ranking back if he did better than Murray. Fittingly enough, the two met in the final with the same number of matches won under their belts - and it was Murray who won and secured his No. 1 position.
** If you want last play, try the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isner%E2%80%93Mahut_match_at_the_2010_Wimbledon_Championships Isner - Mahut match at the 2010 Wimbledon]]: it took them ''three days'' to finish their match. It technically took them 11 hours of total game time, and 8 of those hours were trying to win the last set (Isner won). They ''killed the scoreboard'' during the second day.
* EveryYearTheyFizzleOut: In tennis, mental strength is just as important to winning as physical strength and skill are and what most often causes losses by obviously talented players is choking under pressure, leading to accusations of this.
** Many successful players found it difficult to handle the pressure of winning slams at first, making some HilariousInHindsight scenarios: both Ivan Lendl and Roger Federer were subject to speculation that they were talents who couldn't pull off the big wins; Andy Murray was infamous for losing his first couple of grand slam finals and only shook this image by winning his first major title in 2012, something his predecessor Tim Henman could never manage; Stan Wawrinka, despite his raw power, had a lack of self-confidence combined with an aggressive high-risk high-reward playing style which lead to many early-round Slam losses, before hiring Magnus Norman helped him to become the first non-Big-Four player since Hewitt to win multiple slams.
** Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is one of the very few people outside of the Big Four who has the raw talent to beat them, but he's just as likely to flame out against an inferior player as he is to pull off a MiracleRally against one of the best players in the world, with his stunning upsets of Nadal at the 2008 Australian Open semifinals and Federer at the 2011 Wimbledon quarterfinals being followed by him quietly fading away from the world scene until his next sudden flash of brilliance.
** Prior to her WTA Finals and Australian Open triumphs, Caroline Wozniacki initially had this issue when became she first became the World No. 1 on the women's side in 2010 and 2011 by winning a lot of tournaments... but not the Grand Slams. She made two finals at the US Open in 2009 and 2014 but otherwise had her ups and down which lead to her tumbling out of the top 50, leading people to question her mentality until she made her revival years later.
** Sabine Lisicki is a perennial quarterfinalist or better at Wimbledon and you can always count on her to take out a favourite or two (such as knocking out the French Open champion for ''four'' years straight) before losing to someone who should on paper pose far less of a challenge.
** The "Lost Generation" is a fan-nickname for a group of male players a little younger than the Big Four who are usually ranked in the Top Ten and are clearly dangerous but have yet to capitalise on the big moments they've had in Grand Slams, generally comprising of Kei Nishikori, Milos Raonic, Grigor Dimitrov and David Goffin. All have pulled off big upsets and have at least made the Slam quarter-finals, with two having made the finals; but they've often struggled to follow up on these results by losing to lower-ranked players later on or quickly losing form, and aren't able to consistently challenge the Big Four enough.
** Simona Halep has held the No. 1 ranking and is a WTA Top 10 regular and three-time Slam finalist with three Premier Mandatory titles to her name, but has been often questioned by her mental strength and whether she can overcome the pressure in the big moments. This is highlighted by the numerous times she failed to get the No. 1 ranking, which she finally got on her 6th try, in 2017; this included the French Open final where she was up a break and a few games way from both winning the title and the ranking (twice!) before losing to the unseeded Jeļena Ostapenko, and her Wimbledon quarterfinal where she was two points away in the second-set tiebreak from winning the match and the ranking before falling to home favourite Johanna Konta in three sets.
* FriendlyRival: Whilst the close nature of the pro tour means that all players have to be able to put up with each other on a day to day basis, there have only been a few genuinely close friendships between rivals.
** Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova were the faces of women's tennis for much of the 1980s and formed a strong friendship in spite of meeting each other in over 60 finals, with the two often having lunch together in the locker room and even traveling together to tournaments.
** John [=McEnroe=] to this day enjoys a strong friendship with Björn Borg, made all the more remarkable by how many players he alienated and had problems with on court.
** Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have experienced a much publicised bromance for the best part of a decade. They have reached the point of [[PortmanteauCoupleName couple nicknames]] (Fedal) and FanFiction. The pair often inadvertently encourage such things in interviews and charity matches. Nadal's first response to 2017 US Open press conference questions asking about what he liked and admired about Federer was, "I don't want to look like I gonna be his boyfriend, no?"
** Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have known each other since the age of twelve and have grown up on the junior tour together. In spite of experiencing some of the hardest fought Grand Slam matches against each other, they still find time to have dinner.
* FunWithAcronyms: The year-end championships for the men are currently titled the '''W'''orld '''T'''our '''F'''inals. Many a tennis fan has had fun using its unfortunate acronym while talking about its oddities. There's also the frequent debate about which tennis player is the '''G'''reatest '''O'''f '''A'''ll '''T'''ime.
* GameBreakingInjury: The rigors and physical demands of a packed year-long tennis schedule can cause this for unlucky players.
** Rafael Nadal has been forced out of play for a significant amount of time several times in his career by knee injuries, including a severe case of tendonitis that caused him to miss the entire second half of 2012. [[HesBack This did not stop him from winning two Slams and regaining the No. 1 ranking in the very next year]]... only for him to suffer a back injury, a wrist injury, AND appendicitis in the year after that. In 2016, he had a particularly bad wrist injury that forced him to withdraw from his beloved French Open and make him miss out on a good chunk of that year, including Wimbledon.
** Juan Martín del Potro, after winning the 2009 US Open title, was widely heralded as a player who would go on to win multiple Grand Slams and become the next new World No. 1. Sadly, he fell victim to a severe wrist injury soon after and missed almost all of the 2010 season as a result and while he managed to recover from that injury it feels like every time he finally seems on the cusp of breaking back into the top 4 rankings or champion's circle, he gets derailed by yet another wrist injury.
** Roger Federer had a knee injury that needed surgery in 2016, and although the reason behind it was hilariously mundane[[note]]preparing his twin daughters' bath[[/note]], it apparently did not recover well enough during his Wimbledon run (which saw him both win and lose dramatic five-setters at the quarter and semifinals) as he ended his season right afterward to continue recovering. This was not only his first major injury but also the first time he skipped out on Grand Slams.
** The ATP 2017 season became notorious for taking out no less than ''four'' top players and ending their seasons early due to persistent injuries -- Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori.
* GottaCatchThemAll: With the hundreds of different tournaments each year come billions of different combinations of winning. Some of these combinations are significant enough to have names. These include:
** '''The Grand Slam''' (Career or Calendar Year edition): Winning each of the four Slams at least once (in a career or season, respectively). All victories must come in the same category: singles, doubles or mixed doubles. Some people also count the two-year Grand Slam (i.e. winning four consecutive Slams over a span of two years so that you hold all of them at one point), which is typically named after the player(s) such as the "Serena Slam" for Serena Williams in 2002–03 and 2014–15, the "Bryan Slam" for Bob and Mike Bryan in 2012–13, and the "Nole Slam" for Novak Djokovic in 2015-2016.
** '''The Golden Slam''' (Career or Calendar Year edition): Winning each of the four Slams plus an Olympic gold medal at least once. All victories must come in the same category.
** '''The Super Slam''': Winning each of the four Slams, plus an Olympic gold medal, plus the Year End Championships at least once. All victories must come in the same category. Has only been achieved in Career edition.
** '''The Triple Crown''': Winning the title in singles, doubles and mixed doubles at the same Slam in the same year.
** '''The Boxed Set''': Winning the title in singles, doubles and mixed doubles at each of the four Slams at least once. Has only been achieved in Career edition, and by just three players.[[note]] Doris Hart, Margaret Court, and Martina Navratilova.[[/note]]
** '''The Dinner Set''': Winning the title and finishing as runner-up at each of the four Slams at least once[[note]]i.e. winning all four cups and plates[[/note]]. All victories must come in the same category. Can only be achieved in Career edition.
* GracefulLoser: Being gracious in defeat has become a trademark of the top tennis players, especially with regard to [[TheAce Federer]] and [[WorthyOpponent Nadal]].
* GrandFinale: The 2002 U.S. Open. Pete Sampras won one last Slam against his rival Andre Agassi, bringing the era of tennis in TheNineties to a close. After that tournament, Lleyton Hewitt, Andy Roddick, and Roger Federer dominated the game.
* HesBack: Any time a top-ranked has to go on a break due to injury or otherwise and manages to go back to their winning ways afterward.
** Kim Clijsters initially retired despite having been World No. 1 and winning a Grand Slam, but decided to return to the WTA circuit after two years of break (which included the birth of her daughter). ''Barely a few tournaments after her return'' she won the US Open as a wildcard and went on to win two more Slams as well as return to No. 1.
** Roger Federer's 2017 season is marked by a remarkable resurgence. He won the Australian Open against Nadal and then won Wimbledon without dropping a set, with his lone Slam loss coming at the hands of a resurgent Del Potro at the US Open. While he forwent the clay court season to preserve his longevity in the game, his grass and hard court results have shown that, despite being 35 and one of the older high-ranking players, he's experiencing some of a later in life renaissance after a period of physical decline and diminishing returns.
** Rafael Nadal had somewhat lacklustre results following his 2014 French Open and succumbed to health issues, including a wrist injury that affected most of his 2016 season. He's since then has won two Grand Slams in 2017 (his 10th French Open and, his first hard court title since 2014, the US Open) and made the Australian Open final, along with a bunch of other clay court titles and a return to the No. 1 ranking.
* HeroKiller: Young and/or lower-ranked players, who score a signature win over a top 10-er or two, gain this reputation and are often dubbed "Giant Killers".
** Robin Söderling became the DesignatedVillain of the ATP tour (at least until he fell victim to mononucleosis) after he handed Rafael Nadal his first-ever defeat at the French Open in 2009 and then broke Roger Federer's streak of 23 consecutive Grand Slam semifinal appearances at the following year's French Open.
** Sam Querrey, generally ranked between 20 and 30 and previously have never reached the quarterfinals, has become well-known for sending out the defending Wimbledon champion and World No. 1 in two consecutive years - Novak Djokovic in 2016 (who was also on a 30 Slam match winning streak) and Andy Murray in 2017.
* IJustShotMarvinInTheFace: During the first round of the 2017 Davis Cup competition, Denis Shapovalov of Canada faced Britain's Kyle Edmund in the fifth and deciding match. In the third set, Shapovalov's shot went long; in frustration, he swatted away a spare ball -- and hit chair umpire Arnaud Gabas in the left eye. Gabas quickly defaulted the match, sending Great Britain on to the quarterfinals and knocking Canada out of the tournament.
* InternationalShowdownByProxy: It is rare to have a single country represented in the final, though in times gone by the USA had their fair share, so this comes through naturally, as well as in the events (Olympics, Davis Cup, Fed Cup, Hopman Cup) where the players actually represent their countries.
* ManlyTears: Very likely to be seen at a Grand Slam final, due to the mental and emotional exhaustion players experience after such intensity. The tears actually are more likely to come from the winners as it is considered bad form to cry over a loss because it dampens the celebrations for the champion.
* MiracleRally: In general, any time a player comes back from a two sets-to-love (or one set-to-love and a break down in the second set, depending on the type of tournament) deficit to win. Bonus points if they also have to fight off match points to do it.
** 1989 French Open: Ivan Lendl, the World No. 1 and one of the heavy favorites to win the event, had breezed through the competition so far and quickly built up a two-set lead against his fourth-round opponent, the 17-year-old Michael Chang. Chang, however, broke Lendl right back in the third set and proceeded to moonball[[note]]hit the ball really high in the air to slow down the points[[/note]] his way to victory in the final three sets, in spite of suffering severe leg cramps from the fourth set onward. At one key time in the match, Chang went so far as to serve ''underhand'', which threw Lendl off enough for him to win the point. He went on to win the whole event.
** 2011 Wimbledon: Roger Federer looked set to steamroll over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga after winning the first two sets in their quarterfinal, only for Tsonga to break Federer in the next three sets and pull off the ultimate upset of the tournament. This was the first time Federer had ever lost from 2-0 up.
** Novak Djokovic seems to have a knack for this: not only did he pull off a similarly massive upset against Federer in the 2010 US Open semifinals when he was still an unknown compared to Federer and Nadal and down two match points in the fifth set, but he did it ''again'' against Federer in the 2011 US Open semifinals where he had to dig himself out of a 2-set hole in the third and fourth sets and then ''another'' two-match-points deficit in the fifth set. There's also the more recent 2012 Shanghai Masters final, where he managed to save ''five'' match points against 3-time champion Andy Murray and go on to win the deciding set.
** Andy Murray came back from a set down and saved ''five'' match points against Tommy Robredo in an ATP 2014 final. ''Twice''. He would later beat this record in 2017 at Dubai, saving SEVEN match points against Philip Kohlschreiber before eventually winning the whole tournament.
** In his very intense 2016 Wimbledon quarter-final match, Federer lost the first two sets and had to save three match points in the fourth set tiebreak to beat Cilic in the fifth set, making it one of his most thrilling comebacks ever.
** In the 2017 French Open quarter-finals, Simona Halep was a set and ''5-1'' down against Elina Svitolina, making her defeat seem inevitable. Miraculously, Halep was able to win five straight games -- leaving Svitolina unable to serve for the match twice -- and saved a match point in the second-set tiebreak. She ended up winning the second and third sets to eventually reach the final once more.
* OneHitWonder: There are several players who have won only one Grand Slam, referred to as "one-Slam wonders". These range from well known and highly ranked players, such as Juan Martín del Potro and Andy Roddick, to true one-hit wonders like Gastón Gaudio who made it past the fourth round of a Slam only once in his career.
* OrderedToCheat: Occasionally the subject of match fixing has been brought up, such as at the 2008 Australian Open, but there has never been a proven case in major tournaments.
* OvershadowedByAwesome:
** Throughout history, two or three champions have risen way above the competition in each generation, such as Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova in the 1980s, Steffi Graf in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi in the 1990s, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the 2000s, and Serena Williams any time she plays.
** The men's game in the late 2000s to 2010s has become dominated by a group of four players (Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, and Murray) that consistently finished in the top four ranking spots for 5 consecutive years. This "Big Four" hasn't had ''quite'' as much of a stranglehold on the men's tour in recent years as they did in 2007-2013, but they're still extraordinarily tough ThresholdGuardians for any ATP player out there.
** On the doubles side, the Bryan brothers and the Williams sisters so thoroughly dominate the field that they're the only doubles teams 99% of all tennis fans are even aware of.
** From 1998 till 2013, participating in the women's wheelchair tournaments wasn't funny for everybody not named Esther Vergeer. She retired in 2013 at the age of 31 after remaining undefeated for 470 (!!!) consecutive single matches. Her last defeat was 10 years prior. This means that in this period she won every tournament she participated in, among others the Paralympic Games and the Grand Slam tournaments (and it's not like she was not winning before that defeat). Also in doubles she was very successful. Eventually, she posted a staggering record of 700 - 25 in singles and 448 - 35 in doubles. She gained the respect of among others [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqF3kp4bhgc Roger Federer]] and Johan Cruyff. She is arguably one of the most dominant forces in the history of sports.
* ProductPlacement:
** The top tennis players are paid by clothing brands to wear outfits specially tailored by the companies for them at their matches, which means that Nike headbands and Adidas sneakers are ubiquitous at any major tennis competition. This even extends to watch brands; Andy Murray's first act after finally winning his first Slam was a frantic search for his Rado watch to wear during the trophy ceremony.
** Tournaments themselves are also subject to this, with all official match clocks sponsored by Rolex and the speed guns by IBM. Also the 2012 Madrid Masters 1000 tournament controversially changed the colour of its clay courts to blue, apparently to match the sponsor.
* PyrrhicVictory: Almost every match that's so long that the winner is still exhausted when he/she has to play the next match. The most notable example is the Isner-Mahut match. After John Isner won this 11-hour match, he had to already play the next day. He was visibly exhausted and required treatment. It still didn't help and he was quickly defeated. So eventually he played the longest match and the shortest match (at that point) in the Wimbledon 2010 men's tournament. In his commentary after that match, John [=McEnroe=] speculated that Isner and Mahut may have shaved six months off of their career because of how grueling that match was, making a point that, while it was spectacular tennis, if one of them had surrendered the match earlier, it likely would spare them both recurring injuries later on from lack of wear and tear.
* RecursiveAdaptation: Modern tennis was invented in the 1870s in England as lawn tennis, an outdoor summer game meant to be played on (really short) grass, based on an indoor game played on wooden floors that developed beginning in late medieval France. It spread very quickly and gained great popularity, which lead many players to want to keep playing in the winter. So they would up playing indoors on wooden gymnasium floors. This even lead to the short-lived [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Covered_Court_Championships World Covered Court Championships]], intended as a third major to go with the World Grass Court Championships (i.e., Wimbledon) and the World Clay Court Championships (which merged with the French national championships). To this day, many pro tournaments, including both the men's and women's year end championships, are played indoors. Bare wood isn't used anymore (it was deemed too fast); carpet coverings, which evolved into textured rubber mats, were used for many years, before they were replaced by portable floors surfaced with the same type of acrylics used for hard courts that, ironically, are usually wood panels underneath.
* TheRival: Due to the solo nature of the game and how the higher ranked players are engineered to meet in the big matches, tennis lends itself to this trope. There are usually 2 or 3 players in a generation that often meet in finals and Slams. Some of the more notable pairs include:
** Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova: the cool-headed hard-court baseliner vs the emotional grass-court serve-and-volleyer. They met in a whopping 80 matches, 22 of them in Grand Slams, and have the longest-lasting tennis rivalry in history with their encounters occurring over a span of 15 years from 1973 to 1988. Evert had a headstart on Navratilova with her winning 27 of their first 40 matches, but Navratilova dominated their rivalry in later years with the final tally being 43-37 in Navratilova's favor. Fittingly, the two ended their careers with the exact same number of Slams at 18 each.
** John [=McEnroe=] and Björn Borg: the HotBlooded American vs the [[TeenIdol heart-throb]], Scandinavian [[TheStoic Iceman]]. Between 1978-81 they played 14 matches, winning 7 each. It was the shortest lived rivalry of [=McEnroe=], but the most well-known. [=McEnroe=] has also stated that of all his rivals, [[FriendlyRivalry Borg was the only one he never had a problem with]].
** John [=McEnroe=] and Ivan Lendl: the HotBlooded American vs the [[NoSenseOfHumour emotionless]] [[DirtyCommunists commie]] [[PerpetualFrowner robot]]. This was [=McEnroe=]'s second best known and bitterest rivalry and he's openly less than besties with Lendl to this day. [[SoreLoser It just might have something to do with the fact that of the 36 matches they played, Lendl won 21]].
** Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras: the [[BoisterousBruiser charismatic, extroverted baseliner]] vs the [[TheQuietOne quiet, introverted]] serve and volleyer. Sampras won 20 of their 34 matches and ended up with more Grand Slams, but Agassi was [[BigManOnCampus arguably the crowd favourite]]. In the US Open 2001 quarter-final [[UnstoppableForceMeetsImmovableObject neither player broke the other's serve]], with every set decided by a tie-break.
** Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg: the [[ReallyGetsAround wildly]] [[HotBlooded passionate]] prima-donna vs the [[TinMan deliberately bland]] Swede. Becker won 25 of their 35 meetings, but their rivalry was made famous by meetings in three consecutive Wimbledon finals. Here Edberg won twice.
** Steffi Graf and Monica Seles: the [[GermanicEfficiency stern-faced German]] with the massive forehand vs the [[GenkiGirl bubbly]] Hungarian[[note]] Although she represented Yugoslavia before her stabbing, Seles is ethnically Hungarian. The region of modern-day Serbia where she was born has a significant Hungarian minority.[[/note]] youth with the fearsome backhand. Their rivalry is most notorious for inducing a crazed Graf fan to stab Seles after she dethroned Graf as the World No. 1. They met in 15 matches overall, with Graf winning 10 of them.
** Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal: the [[CombatAestheticist graceful, traditional]], right-handed [[FragileSpeedster grass-courter]] vs the [[LightningBruiser raw power]] of the [[TheSouthpaw lefty]] clay-courter. So far they have played 38 times with Nadal winning 23, he is the only player ever to have a winning record over Federer with a difference of more than 3. Enjoying a close friendship off the court, their 2008 Wimbledon final (which broke Federer's almost record streak of 40 straight match wins there and ensured that he lost the no.1 ranking for the first time) is widely cited as the greatest match of the Open Era. Much excitement ensued when they met again for the 2017 Australian Open final (won by Federer), a nearly good six years after their last grand slam final.
** Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic: Unlike the above rivalries, the main appeal of their rivalry lies not in [[RedOniBlueOni how different they are]] in their playing styles but in [[BirdsOfAFeather how similar they are]] in [[TheDeterminator competitive fierceness]] and [[StoneWall baseline rallying and defense]]. So far, they have met an ATP Open Era record of 50 times with Djokovic leading him 26-24 after a long period of Nadal constantly being one step ahead of Djokovic in their rivalry.
** Also from the Big Four era, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. Their most memorable matches have come in Slam semifinals with Federer breaking Djokovic's 41-match winning streak in the 2011 French Open semis and Djokovic coming back from double match point down against Federer in both the 2010 and 2011 US Open semis. They've actually met more times than Federer and Nadal have (45 times) with Djokovic leading Federer 23-22.
** Stan Wawrinka is emerging as another rival to Djokovic, with commentators calling him the biggest single-match threat to the World No. 1 (though he's not considered a real threat to Novak's title due to his inconsistency). He's now beaten Novak in two four-set Grand Slam finals, the 2015 French Open and the 2016 US Open. It is worth mentioning that Djokovic has been dealing with [[GameBreakingInjury injuries]] for much of the 2016 season and required treatment on his neck, elbow, and both shoulders during prior matches of the US Open, as well as a foot injury in the third set of the final.
* ScreamingWarrior: A controversial subject in tennis; there are currently no rules against a player 'grunting' when they hit the ball, but many people are calling for it to be penalised. As well as the obvious advantages of distraction and intimidation, players will try to hear the way a ball is hit to predict how it will bounce; a tricky thing to do if your opponent is shouting over the top of it. Notable grunters include Monica Seles, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova (who has been recorded at ''101 decibels''), Victoria Azarenka, Jimmy Connors, Andre Agassi and Novak Djokovic.
* SecondPlaceIsForLosers: Despite runner-up finishes being impressive on their own, it doesn't stop players from feeling disappointed when they don't win the whole tournament.
-->'''Serena Williams:''' At the end of the day, if you're not first, you're last.
* SiblingRivalry:
** Venus and Serena Williams (born just 15 months apart) have experienced a storied rivalry since 1998, their dominance has lead to them contesting no fewer than ''nine'' Grand Slam finals and one YEC final. Serena (the younger sister) leads their head to head by 17-11 and 7-2 in GS finals.
** Manuela, Katerina and Magdalena Maleeva all spent time inside the top 10 in the late 80s-90s and played each other a combined total of 15 times. The elder sister won in every match except one[[note]] courtesy of a retirement by Manuela[[/note]] and there was speculation about match fixing as all of Manuela's victories over Magdalena came via retirements.
* SiblingTeam: Sisters Serena and Venus Williams have achieved the Career Golden Slam in doubles, winning 13 Grand Slam tournaments and 3 Olympic golds. Brothers John and Patrick [=McEnroe=] avert this slightly, they played doubles together, but their success came with other partners. And then there's the Bryan brothers, twins who have annihilated every record possible in men's doubles.
* SpiritualSuccessor:
** Gaël Monfils and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to Yannick Noah.[[note]] If you're an [[UsefulNotes/NationalBasketballAssociation NBA]] fan and the name sounds vaguely familiar... yes, that's Joakim Noah's dad.[[/note]] Both are charismatic, flamboyant and extremely popular players of Afro-French descent and enormous raw talent expected to carry French tennis back to its Four Musketeers heyday of the '20s and '30s, just like Noah. Despite Noah's one Grand Slam singles title, he couldn't achieve it, because of injuries and bad luck. The same fate has generally befallen Monfils and Tsonga, neither yet able to break through to a Slam title.
** At the beginning of his career, Roger Federer was considered this to Pete Sampras. He cited Sampras as one of his idols, sported a similar [[FragileSpeedster serve-and-volley gamestyle]], and, due to sponsorship, their racquets and kits often looked identical. Also, in 2001 he became the only person ever to [[DefeatingTheUndefeatable beat Sampras over 5 sets at Wimbledon]], doing so on his centre court debut, which was seen as a PassingTheTorch moment.[[note]] Though Sampras went on to win the 2002 US Open and Federer didn't win his first major until Wimbledon 2003.[[/note]] Federer has spent the rest of his career eclipsing most of the records and milestones set by Sampras.
** In turn there has been speculation of which player deserves the moniker "Baby Fed", a title held briefly by frenchman Richard Gasquet before being passed on to young, Bulgarian player, Grigor Dimitrov. He uses the same racquet as Federer did for most of his career, they both wear Nike constantly, and Federer was Dimitrov's childhood hero to the point that he essentially based his entire game around the Swiss player. Whether he will actually live up to Federer's achievements has yet to be seen.
* SpotlightStealingSquad:
** Djokovic stole the spotlight from Federer and Nadal during the end of 2010 and all during 2011 when he had an incredible run. He won over 40 matches without losing, and won most of the Grand Slams, only losing once to Roger Federer during the French Open.
** Speaking of Federer, try watching an ATP match between two other players in a tournament he's in and take a shot every time the commentators mention him. Or a tournament he's been knocked out of. Hell, even a tournament he never entered in the first place. Or women's tournaments. Or wheelchair tennis. Or any article on men's tennis written in the past nine years. You will die.
* StageMum: Tennis is notorious for this, although it's usually the dads rather than the mums who are the problem.
* TacticalRockPaperScissors: The post-2008 shufflings of the pecking order of men's tennis almost read like a video game designer tweaking his game to be fairer among the top competition. At first, there's just Roger Federer [[GameBreaker who nobody can beat]]. Enter Rafael Nadal, the player with the [[LightningBruiser raw strength and force]] to [[FragileSpeedster overpower Federer]]. Then just when Nadal is starting to look like a GameBreaker in his own right, Novak Djokovic, [[FragileSpeedster an extremely agile but fatigue-prone player]], gains the [[StoneWall toughness]] needed to withstand Nadal's might while retaining the agility to [[MightyGlacier outmaneuver him]]. Then, just to make things even more interesting, Andy Murray upgrades from [[MasterOfNone a good player who's not quite as good as the top three]] to [[JackOfAllStats a player capable of going toe-to-toe against any of them]]... and Stan Wawrinka, perhaps even more physically powerful than Nadal but far more erratic than the "Big Four", upgrades his mental game and turns into a threat to take down any of the others on his day.
* ToughActToFollow:
** Poor Andy Roddick, always labelled the underachiever. The American star player of the 2000s, his highly successful career included 32 titles, 1 Grand Slam and 13 weeks at World No. 1. Unfortunately, the American star players of the 1990s were Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi, with 124 titles, 22 Slams and 387 weeks at No. 1 between them, and Roddick had the additional misfortune to be playing in the same era as [[OvershadowedByAwesome Roger Federer]].
** John [=McEnroe=] had one of the best-ever seasons in Open Era history in 1984, going undefeated for 42 matches until his loss to Ivan Lendl in the French Open final and racking up two Grand Slam wins and a record winning percentage of 96.47%, winning 82 out of 85 matches. He would never again win a Slam after that phenomenal year, or even reach a Slam final after 1985. Similarly, Mats Wilander became just the third man in the Open Era to win three Slams in a single season in 1988, upsetting then-No. 1 Ivan Lendl along the way to do it, but the intense pressure of that year caused him to become so burnt out that he couldn't recapture the motivation that had propelled him in 1988 and failed to even reach another Slam final for the rest of his career.
** Michael Chang and Lleyton Hewitt both peaked early on in their careers, with Chang becoming the youngest-ever Slam champion at 17 years old and Hewitt becoming the youngest-ever No. 1 at 20. Their later careers weren't exactly failures with them continuing to be Slam contenders for years, but Chang ultimately couldn't shake off his "one-Slam wonder" label in spite of reaching 3 more Slam finals and Hewitt was ultimately overshadowed by Federer and never reached the No. 1 position again after losing it in 2003.
** Richard Gasquet is in the very strange position of struggling to live up to the act of his ''nine-year-old self''. To make a long story short, he was hyped up ''hugely'' by his countrymen as "baby Federer" and had his face featured on the cover of a French tennis magazine when he was just nine years old. His stint as the junior World No. 1, however, turned out to be the apex of his career as the crushing national expectations and pressure proved too much for him to live up to as an adult and he has made it past the fourth round of a Slam only three times (and never past the semifinals) so far.
** On the women's side, Ana Ivanović looked set to become the next dominant WTA champion when she won her maiden Slam at the 2008 French Open and ascended to the No. 1 ranking spot at the tender age of 20. Since then, up until her retirement in 2016, she only made it to one more semifinal and only reached a total of two Slam quarterfinals in that span of time. Even in 2014, the year when she got back into the top 10 rankings for the first time in five years, she ended up losing in the third round or earlier at three of her four Slams in that year.
** Gabriela Sabatini won only one Grand Slam in spite of reaching the semifinals or better at eighteen Slams, partly due to Graf and Seles hogging the majors during her career and partly due to her tendency to fall apart in big matches; she infamously lost the 1991 Wimbledon final to Graf in spite of coming within two points from victory and serving for the match twice.
** Marat Safin was seen as a huge talent with real potential, but he only managed two Grand Slams.
** Novak Djokovic, an otherwise successful player, has gone through this period ''twice''.
*** He was saddled with a reputation of mentally cracking under pressure after he followed up his maiden Grand Slam title in 2008 with a string of disappointing performances and numerous claims of being too fatigued to play well, gaining the the one-slam status and "Choke-ovic" nickname.
*** His dominance really shined over 2015-2016 where he completed the Grand Slam and became the first man to hold all four Slams since Rod Laver by winning the 2016 French Open, leading to many people marvelling about how much more he could achieve. Fast-forward to 2017 Wimbledon -- where he left the tournament with no more Slam titles ever since. Though he won two small tournaments in that period, his performances in other tournaments were a big slip from previous ones and saw him lose his No. 1 ranking. Ending his 2017 season early due to injury, this has left many to wonder how physically and mentally drained he's become.
** Angelique Kerber looked like the next big threat on the WTA Tour following a successful first nine months of 2016, highlighted by three grand slam finals (two which she won), a silver medal in the Olympics and the No. 1 ranking. The next 12 months that followed however were rather disastrous, with many early round exits including losing in the first round in ''two'' Slams, one of them while she was No. 1. She only made it to the fourth round in the two other Slams, and she lost the two smaller tournament finals she got to reach.
* TryingNotToCry: Often happens to runners up in Grand Slam finals as they struggle to pay their respects to the winner, who has just trampled on their dreams in front of a global audience. Finals are the only matches where the loser is interviewed.
--> '''Roger Federer:''' You're like: 'All right, I'll handle this.' And you walk out and 15,000 people feel bad for you. Next thing you know it's [[{{Understatement}} a bit awkward]].
* WhileYouWereInDiapers: It was noted in 2013 Wimbledon that then 42-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm, the oldest player in the top 100 at the time, started playing in 1989, before many current tennis players were even born ([[http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/tennis/wimbledon/10146963/Wimbledon-2013-at-42-Kimiko-Date-Krumm-shows-a-clean-pair-of-heels-to-become-oldest-woman-to-reach-the-third-round.html for example one article noted]] her Romanian opponent was born a year later).
* WhoNeedsOvertime: In general, any match that has the final possible set end with a score of 7-5, the closest score a set can have without a tiebreaker.
* WonderTwinPowers: The most successful men's doubles team ever is made up of twin brothers Bob and Mike Bryan. They have 16 Grand Slams and an Olympic gold medal.
* WorthyOpponent:
** "Roger, I know exactly how you feel. Just remember you're a great champion and you're one of the best in history..." Nadal, after beating Federer at the 2009 Australian Open. Federer got his revenge for that loss a whopping eight years later in their 2017 final, where he prevailed in five sets to win an impressive 18th grand slam and beat Nadal in a slam for the first time since Wimbledon 2007.
** "One day, you will win Roland Garros. You deserve it." Wawrinka to Djokovic, after defeating him at the 2015 French Open and denying him a career Grand Slam in the process. Wawrinka turned out to be right; Djokovic won Roland Garros the next year.