The Holders of the Tennis World Records

Roger Federer and Serena William (Getty)

Tennis is one of the most-played and most popular sports in the world, and though some records are broken, others stand for years or even decades. We take a closer look at some of the tennis records and statistics from players who have captivated and excited spectators for years.

ATP Men's Tennis Records

Although the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) was formed in 1972, it was not until 1990 that it became the overall governing body for men's tennis. However, all records here are from the period from 1972 to date.

Most Grand Slam Titles

Roger Federer is the winner of the most Grand Slam titles (Australia, French, US Open or Wimbledon), with 17 so far in his career. The awesome Swiss has shown through his long career an ability to adapt his game to any surface, also remaining almost injury-free through 65 Grand Slam tournament appearances.

Federer surpassed the American Pete Sampras, who won 14 titles in his career, dominating men's tennis at a time when there were rivals like Jim Courier and Andre Agassi who were threats, but no-one consistently over a whole decade. The currently-active Rafael Nadal has the same number of titles, including a record nine French Open titles for the "King of Clay". After those players comes Bjorn Borg, the Swede who dominated the late 1970s and early 1980s, taking six French Open titles and five Wimbledon victories.

Most ATP Tour Singles Titles

Jimmy Connors, that fierce competitor from the United States, holds the record by a convincing margin for the most Tour titles won since the ATP Tour was conceived in 1972. He has won 109 tournaments, 15 more than the next most successful, Ivan Lendl. Roger Federer, again, is the most successful current player with 86 career ATP Tour titles, ahead of John McEnroe with 77 and Nadal with 66.

Federer is also the player who has been involved in the most seasons in which he has won one or more Tour events, having done so every year from 2001 to 2015. Nadal, who is younger than Federer, has won more than one Tour title every year since 2004.

Highest Winning Percentage

Nadal holds the highest percentage of match victories from total matches played. With 740 victories to 152 defeats, that means a win percentage of 82.96%. It's even higher on clay courts, where Nadal has won 91.87% of all his matches, including those nine French Opens.

Nadal recently passed Bjorn Borg, who won 82.74% of his matches on the ATP Tour, and is followed by Novak Djokovic, a current player with 82.01% of victories. Rounding out the top six are Connors (81.85%), Lendl (81.76%) and Federer (81.57%). The only other current player in the top 10 is Andy Murray, with 76.93% victories in his matches played on the Tour.

WTA Women's Tennis Records

The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) Tour began in 1973, and so that's when records began being taken - however, while Serena Williams continues to play, those records will inevitably change and grow.

Most Grand Slam Titles

Steffi Graf, the German who played in the 1980s and '90s, has the most women's Grand Slam title victories with 22 in her career. However, Serena Williams, who currently dominates women's tennis, is only one behind with 21 victories. Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova both have 18 titles, but then there is a long gap to Monica Seles who has 9. It looks like the record will remain unbroken for a generation, as the next most successful players are Justine Henin and the only other active player in the top 10, Venus Williams, with seven Grand Slams.

If anything, this list demonstrates the dominance by a select group of players of women's tennis since the 1970s. In fact, with a few periods of intense rivalry, the WTA Tour has usually seen one or two, or maybe at times three, players carve up the majority of major titles between them.

Most ATP Tour Singles Titles

This trend is also reflected in the number of WTA Tour titles won, including Grand Slam and other tournaments. Navratilova has the most, 167, followed by Evert, 157, and Graf with 107. It is almost impossible Serena Williams will break this record, as she is next with 68 titles. The relatively low number of Tour titles won by the American reflects a number of seasons where she has protected her body and fitness, choosing tournaments carefully and managing injuries, choosing to focus on Grand Slams.

Navratilova won one or more Tour events for 21 years between 1974 and 1994, incredible longevity for the Czech-born player who switched allegiance to the United States mid-career. Evert did the same for 18 years, 1971-88. The active player with the most consecutive winning seasons is Maria Sharapova, with 13 seasons, 2003-'15.

Highest Winning Percentage

In spite of a relatively small number of WTA Tour matches, Margaret Court has a quite possibly unassailable record for the highest winning percentage on the Tour, with 91.37% victories from her 649 matches on the professional circuit. Evert, with a far longer career, has 89.96% victories, Graf 88.69%, Navratilova 86.82%, and then Serena Williams has 85.66% victories.

Wimbledon Tennis Records

Wimbledon, or to give it its full name, The Championships At Wimbledon, is one of four Grand Slam tournaments, and yet it is the oldest lawn tennis tournament, and so carries what is often thought to be the highest prestige in the game. Matches at the All-England Lawn Tennis Club have been played since 1877. Until 1968, the tournament only allowed entries by amateur tennis players, with the so-called "Open Era" beginning in that year, with professional players earning prize money for victories.

Before 1968, William Renshaw won the most men's singles titles, with seven, the same number as the current open-era record-holders, Sampras and Federer. Both Federer and Borg have the honour of having won five consecutive titles, a record after 1968.

The overall and open-era record-holder for most women's singles titles at Wimbledon is Navratilova, with 9 titles. She also won the most consecutive titles, having taken the women's plate six times in her overwhelmingly successful career.

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