by Mauro Cappiello
With the start of the Championships at Wimbledon only 10 days away, Tennis Magazine came up with a graphic video ranking of the top ten grasscourt players in the Open Era.
Rankings in tennis are always tricky, especially if they compare players from different ages. The case of grass is even more tricky, if we take into account the changes this surface has gone through in the last 15 years.
But even considering these two factors, and accepting the inevitable subjectivity of any ranking, the verdict from the authoritative French magazine seemed too funny to be true.
Of course the aspect we are more interested in is that, as you can discover in the video embedded here, Stefan Edberg is not considered among the top 10 grasscourt players of the last 48 years. Two Wimbledon titles in three consecutive finals, plus three more semifinals at the Championships and two Australian Open titles taken on grass have not been enough to rank him ahead of Andy Roddick, the last member of the elite club.
That the American, winner of zero titles in his three finals at SW19 all lost against Roger Federer, would be a better grasscourt player than Edberg is an opinion we may have accepted by a Tennisforum.com rookie, not from one of the most authoritative specialized publications worldwide.
The same magazine that dedicated to Stefan Edberg some of the most appreciable features (you can find many of them in our Downloads section) and issued a protest cover at the start of 1991, when the ITF had crowned Ivan Lendl world champion, even though Stefan had closed 1990 at number one.
The ranking is based on winning percentage, but this factor alone doesn't seem to be enough if Pete Sampras, the most dominant grasscourt player of the '90s and the one who shares with Roger Federer the record of 7 Wimbledon titles, only finds himself at the 5th place, behind Andy Murray who only took one crown at Church Road.
Not every victory counts the same and amassing match wins in tune-up events obviously is not the same thing as winning finals of Majors.
In my humble opinion, the grasscourt specific value of the two Andys, both four-time winners at the Queen's Club but with a little score in Grand Slam titles, is enormously overrated. Stefan's grasscourt winning percentage (78.6%, 99 wins and 27 defeats) is worth much more than theirs and the fact that they both were limited in their record by Roger Federer, the undisputed leader of this ranking, can't serve as a supporting motivation.
Here's the complete ranking:
1 Roger Federer (142/20 - 87,7%)
2 John McEnroe (121/20 - 85,8%)
3 Bjorn Börg (61/11 - 84,7%)
4 Andy Murray (90/17 - 84,1%)
5 Pete Sampras (101/20 - 83,5%)
6 Jimmy Connors (170/34 - 83,3%)
7 Rod Laver (67/14 - 82,7%)
8 Boris Becker (116/25 - 82,3%)
9 Novak Djokovic (67/15 - 81,7%)
10 Andy Roddick (86/22 - 79,6%)
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