Grass. The most prestigious and exclusive of tennis court surfaces to be winning titles on. This is seen in the comparatively sparse amount of grass court title wins by the greatest who have ever played on the surface. For the purpose of comparison, Nadal won 51 titles on his best surface whereas Federer bagged only 17 on his. Who are the greatest amongst the elite club of players who pulled off the feat of winning at least one grass court title? Read on to find out!
Grass Court Titles: 10
Few of will know who this legend of an oldie is, but he also counts amongst one of the greatest tennis players in history. However, what we want to highlight here for the purpose of this article is his prowess on grass. To be fair, it must have been easier for him in a way when compared to the players of today, given that there were more opportunities to win on grass (the US Open was played on grass for instance). His 10 grand slam titles from grass-court surface tournaments surpasses Federer's 8. It must also be mentioned that his record of reaching 10 finals in the same grand slam (the US Open for his case) was a record unmatched until Federer reached his 11th Wimbledon final in 2017. He was also the oldest grand slam champion on grass to our knowledge - he won the 1930 Wimbledon championships at the age of 30.
Grass Court Titles: 10
This legend won most where it most matters. With 7 Wimbledon titles, he held the record of the most grass-court grand slam titles won until Federer surpassed it with his 8th Wimbledon title in 2017. His quick serves and powerful forehands makes the grass surface the ideal one for him. What differentiates him from the other excellent serve-and-volleyers and power-hitters is his refined holistic skillset. The other contemporaneous tennis greats belonged very much to either one category. Think Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg, Patrick Rafter or Goran Ivanisevic for the serve-and-volley group; and Andre Agassi or Ivan Lendl for the power-hitter group.
Many people know that this Australian Open gentleman is one of tennis history's greatest legends. What many do not know is that he is the second greatest tennis player ever in history.
The strength of that wrist and forearm gave him blazing power without loss of control, even when he was on the run and at full stretch. The combination of speed and strength, especially wrist strength, enabled him to hit ferocious winners when way out of court. - Rex Bellamy
The secret of his grass court success is his aggressive gameplay, which made him suited for the fast surface. Although shorter than most other professional tennis players, Laver developed an excellent serve-and-volley game, and a set of aggressive groundstrokes to back it up. His left-handed serve was one of the most well disguised in history - on grass a good serve is key. His groundstrokes on both sides were hit with an attacking topspin lob, which gave him power without needing to sacrifice control.
Grass Court Titles: 11
Grass Court Titles: 17
This man needs no mention. But the focus of this article in this section will be on the main reason for his grass-court prowess. We believe that amongst the myriad of reasons (many of them not discernible) for Federer's grass-court abilities is his eastern-gripped forehand. It is the forehand grip which handles fast low balls the easiest, for technical reasons which this article has no space to contain. Stay tuned earnestly for this one though, for his story is not finished being written - he is still breaking grass court records!
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