2. Bjorn Borg
Years active: 1973-1983
Grand Slam Titles: 11
Bjorn Borg was the Elvis Presley of tennis. He was a superstar from a young age, consistently beating Sweden’s top juniors before turning pro at 14 years old. He captured his first singles title three years later at 17 and his first Grand Slam title at the 1974 French Open despite only being 18 years old. The 1981 US Open was the turning point for Borg, losing to the upstart underdog John McEnroe in the final. After 64 singles titles and 11 Grand Slams in 8 years, Borg would go on to win only two more matches in the next year before deciding to retire at the age of 26.
Borg was an icon in the world, not just in tennis. He became an international superstar with his looks and cool-guy personality, not to mention his immense tennis skills. He makes this list ahead of McEnroe due to impact on the sport. While McEnroe was an incredible player and one of the best to ever do it, Borg was the poster child of professional tennis. The hot-headed American only collected 7 Grand Slam singles titles to Borg’s 11.
Borg is regarded as one of the greatest of all time. His early retirement still confuses fans and players to this day. The fact that he could’ve still been the best player in the world and likely would’ve come close to Federer’s Grand Slam title mark if he hadn’t retired early adds to the mysterious greatness and hype around him.