Ranking the five best players on the ATP tour of the Open era

(Photo by Andy Cheung/Getty Images)
(Photo by Andy Cheung/Getty Images) /
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Men’s tennis is currently winding down from a true golden age. Of the five best players in the Open era, several played recently (yes, including Novak Djokovic). And on the list that follows, I am definitely not trying to be someone who can’t see past 2020, for instance. I’m much older than that.

Still, the way racket composition has developed and therefore, the players also adjusting to their new power (literally as the rackets now allow a player to power a ball much harder than say, 1975) has also developed, today’s players can likely play well on any surface at any time with any kind of racket. Since everyone is capable of the same display of explosiveness with their forehands, players have had to develop touch again.

Carlos Alcaraz is not on the list that follows, though he likely will be should we do this same list in 10 or 15 years. But Alcaraz is the new hybrid. He can play with brute force but he also already has one of the best drop shots since tennis was invented.

Ranking the five best players on the ATP circuit in the Open era (Djokovic is involved, duh!)

So the way I put the following list together isn’t just based on the number of Grand Slam titles held or how many weeks a player has spent at number one – at least, not solely based on those metrics – because anyone can simply pull up a list of those things. But this is more an idea of which players are the best of their time but could also likely be just as successful in any other era.

What follows is still my opinion, of course, but hopefully, you’ll understand my thought process. Sure, I will give you raw numbers, but only in the context of how I think they rank. But ask me again in 10 years, and I will likely have someone else on this list who is currently only 20 years old (for the name, see above).