Who is the greatest grass court player in the modern era of tennis?  

It is a question that may never have a definitive answer, yet the discussion around how a verdict can be delivered makes for a compelling talking point.

Do you come down on the side of eight-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer, whose elegant style of play enchanted the sporting world for two decades? 

Maybe you will always see Martina Navratilova as the ultimate grass court champion, with her record nine Wimbledon singles titles complimented by seven more in the women’s doubles event at the All England Club. 

Novak Djokovic will look to join Federer by winning his eighth Wimbledon title this summer, while Bjorn Borg, Steffi Graf, Pete Sampras, John McEnroe and Serena Williams all proved to be unbeatable on grass at the top of their game.  


If title triumphs are the definition of greatness, Navratilova and Federer are in a league of their own. 

Navratilova changed the women’s game with her brand of athletic majesty on court, winning her first Wimbledon title in 1978 and her ninth and final title in 1990. 

In total, Navratilova won a stunning 32 career titles on grass courts, with her 11 titles at the LTA event in Eastbourne further evidence of her command over the surface.  

Federer’s eight Wimbledon titles are complemented by a remarkable overall record on grass; winning 105 matches and losing just 14. 

Only Jimmy Connors has more career wins on grass than Federer (107) in the open era, but the Swiss maestro trumps the American with his dominance at Wimbledon and his unrivalled haul of singles’ titles on his beloved Centre Court.   


Novak Djokovic will be closing in on history when he arrives at Wimbledon this summer, defending his unbeaten record on grass. 

The Serbian is currently in the midst of a 28-match run on grass courts, remaining unbeaten with his Wimbledon win last July adding to his outstanding legacy on the surface. 

He is a long way short of Federer’s remarkable 65-match unbeaten run on grass, however, starting in 2003, while Bjorn Borg claims a 41 consecutive-match-win on the surface from 1976. 

Djokovic, however, has a better win percentage on grass than Federer and Borg and will look to cement his grass credentials with another Wimbledon win this summer. 

US tennis great Pete Sampras also deserves a mention in the debate over the greatest grass player, with his seven Wimbledon titles between 1993 and 2000 a record that was only eclipsed by Federer.  

Sampras also has the best win percentage on grass of any player in the open era, emerging victorious in 90% of his 63 grass court matches. 


At their best, Serena Williams and Steffi Graf appeared to be unbeatable on a grass court. 

German great Graf has seven Wimbledon titles on her record and a 91% win rate in her 74 matches at the All England Club. 

With her rasping forehand and cutting backhand slice proving tough for her opponent to manage on court, Graf won five of the six Wimbledon singles’ titles between 1991 and 1996. 

If Steffi was the dominant grass court player of the 1990s, Serena Williams was her successor as queen of the surface. 

Williams boasts an 87% win rate on grass court in a career that included seven Wimbledon titles, as well as a victory on the All England Club grass at the 2012 Olympics.  


There’s no denying that the rivalry shared by Borg and McEnroe in the late 1970s and early 80s brought tennis to a new audience around the world. 

With the fiery American threatening the dominance of his elegant Swedish rival, matches between these two giants of the game were watched by audiences beyond tennis lovers. 

Their 1980 Wimbledon Final is considered to be one of the greatest games of all-time, with the fourth set tie break won 18-16 by McEnroe considered to be the stuff of legends.  

These two great players only played against each other 14 times and shared seven wins each, with Borg’s five successive Wimbledon titles from 1976 pushing him ahead of three-time Wimbledon champion McEnroe on grass courts. 


British fans will always cherish Andy Murray’s great moments on grass courts. 

His two Wimbledon titles are complemented by a record five titles at the Queen’s Club and an Olympic gold medal won on the All England Club’s Centre Court in 2012. 

If Murray was operating in an era that did not include rivals like Federer, Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, he would almost have certainly won more Wimbledon titles. 

Chris Evert has a similar story to Murray, winning three Wimbledon titles (1974, 1976 and 1981), with her grace on the court diluted only by the brilliance of Navratilova; emerging as the defining grass court player of her era.