Top 10 most Controversial Tennis Players of All Time

Several of the greatest tennis players have been distinguished by their ability to shock the viewers not only due to their skills but also because of a series of unusual events that had nothing to do with their talents.

The following tennis players have been the most controversial throughout history.

Most Controversial Tennis Players in the History:

Over the years, Tennis has gained a reputation as a sport where good manners and politeness are a common component in every single match and tournament. There are, however, some players who do not share this reputation.

10. Daniel Koellerer

Daniel Koellerer

He holds the dubious distinction of being the first tennis player to be permanently banned from the sport for match-fixing following his conviction on three charges including attempted contrivance of an event’s outcome.

Upon being removed from office, he made incendiary remarks in which he described ATP as acting like the mafia. Moreover, he also claimed that Rafael Nadal consumed doping agents, and David Ferrer had a habit of smoking heavily.

According to him, match-fixing is also prevalent in this sport because it provides an easy way for players to obtain additional income. Amidst one of the biggest tennis scandals of all time, he became the center of attention. Aside from that, he has also been placed among the top 10 most controversial tennis players of all time.

9. Jimmy Connors

Jimmy Connors

His winning personality is probably second only to Rafael Nadal’s. He had no fewer than eight Grand Slam titles and was one of the first to execute the two-handed backhand, a style that many players use to this day.

Although he was exceptionally competitive, his rage machine would outburst against the chair umpire, the public, and everyone else standing between him and victory, creating a monster polarizing the public into lovers and haters.

Connors was involved in one of the most exciting rivalries in tennis history against John McEnroe, in which each match became an intense showdown of egos where both players showcased both class and brazenness at the same time. He has now entered the list of the top ten most controversial tennis players of all time without a doubt.

8. John McEnroe

John McEnroe

There are a number of frantic tennis players, and this one is probably the best example of all, as he exhibited a number of outbursts throughout his career, whether to drain his rage, distract his rival or both.

His reputation as one of the most controversial tennis players of all time has increased in recent years. The indomitable “Big Mac,” the one who faced legends such as Jimmy Connors or Bjorn Borg in epic battles, was renowned for intimidating the chair umpire by yelling insults or questioning his decisions.

However, he often ends up receiving penalty points or even being disqualified because of his unnecessary rudeness. While he is one of the greatest players of all time, his madness was his trademark.

7. Ilie Nastase

Ilie Nastase

Everyone calls him “Nasty,” and he is one of the few players who have succeeded in turning tennis into an art form through the undeniable elegance of his game. Besides being a very accomplished player, this Romanian was also very controversial both as a player and in his personal life.

It goes without saying that he now occupies a top 10 position in the list of most controversial tennis players of all time. The musician claimed that he had slept with more than 2,000 women while he was not playing music.

He would often converse with the audience, destroy the racket when he was upset, and sometimes throw balls against the umpires when he was agitated. His appearance while playing with the legendary Arthur Ashe in a doubles match was the source of controversy when he entered with his face painted in black, receiving much disapproval from the public.

6. Andre Agassi

Andre Agassi

It is safe to say that he is one of the greatest tennis players in history, not only because he was a master of the racket and achieved eight Grand Slam titles, but also because of his charisma and his fashion style, which transformed him into a showman who helped promote the game during the nineties.

Although he is remembered as one of the most controversial tennis players of all time, he nevertheless left his mark on history. Agassi showed his true colors in his autobiography, as well as in the colorful outfits and cool attitude that were on display when he played.

In the introduction to his autobiography, he described a side of him that no one was aware of: his problems with drugs, his lies, his unhappiness, and his criticism of other players such as Boris Becker and Michael Chang.

5. Marat Safin

Marat Safin

For a player to become the best tennis player, he or she must possess both outstanding talent and strong personality qualities. It is a combination that some of the best players in history such as Federer, Nadal, and Sampras always possessed.

Because Safin possessed these two attributes, many people thought that he would achieve that position of greatness. However, there was a problem that overshadowed his talent: his temper. Consequently, he is an individual who loses his mind when things do not go well.

This always worked against him when calmness would have been the most effective weapon for him, turning his beautiful tennis into an inferno of insults directed at the umpires as well as broken rackets. In addition to creating a buzz on the court, he was known for his nightlife, love for beautiful women, and love for driving fast cars.

4. Michael Chang

Michael Chang

One of the reasons which made him one of the most controversial tennis players was the way in which he disconcerted many of his rivals in a way that some regarded as a playful joke.

 One of Chang’s most memorable performances occurred in the final of Roland Garros against Ivan Lendl when he won his only Grand Slam championship. A dramatic comeback was made by him in this extraordinary match in which he was two sets down.

The excellence of his skills and the ability to get his opponent to lose his mind contributed to this success. He started out by hitting slow looping returns, which were called moonballs. Thus, he managed to put himself in a 4-3 lead in the last set of the match, turning the Philippe Chatrier court into a twilight domain.

During that match, the public was unable to believe what was taking place. Yet the most amazing part of the match occurred when he was serving. It was decided that he would attempt an underhand serve to confuse Lendl. This unforgettable strategy finally worked for him, and he won the match after the Czech legend committed an unthinkable double fault.

3. Andy Roddick

Andy Roddick

This is the last Grand Slam title won by an American tennis player. Additionally, he made it to the final rounds of all the major championships. In addition to his incredible service, he also serves as a lethal weapon that is very difficult to defeat.

However, no one forgets Roddick’s irritating temper in addition to his incredible abilities and sweaty hat. In the course of his matches, he is known for a feature that makes the outcome unpredictable.

For example, if he grows stronger and smashes his opponent, or gets distracted and gets penalty points, insults the chair umpire, loses to anyone, or brutally mocks the line umpire. Today, he occupies the position of being among the top ten most controversial tennis players of all time.

2. Ernests Gulbis

Ernests Gulbis

The wild child of tennis, he is probably the most controversial athlete of our time due to a series of comments and attitudes that have created an attitude of dislike towards him.

Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, and Murray were described as incredibly boring in their interviews due to their polite behavior that has nothing to do with how things were in the past. He missed trash talks quite a lot.

Furthermore, he added that tennis rivalries are no different from boxing rivalries. In addition, Gulibis regularly displays irreverent behavior during games. This may also explain why he is not particularly popular among the players. Without a doubt, he has now firmly established himself as one of the most controversial tennis players of all time.

1. Lleyton Hewitt

Lleyton Hewitt

There are times when too much passion can put you in trouble. Being a player who repeatedly polarized the public with his intense conduct on the court, this great Australian player knows this very well.

In 2005, when he played against Juan Ignacio Chela, it was evident that he possessed this capability. He erupts with anger when he realizes he made an unforced error that won the game for him. 

The Argentinean became infuriated by this attitude and spat on Hewitt’s back when they sat down. It is distasteful that some people actually justified this action, although it was a disgusting reaction.

There were claims that he did so due to Hewitt’s provocative celebrations in most of the matches. It goes without saying that he deserves the distinction of being the most controversial tennis player of all time.


In conclusion, here are the top 10 most controversial tennis players of all time. Please feel free to share your opinions in the comments section below.

Frequently Asked Questions about most Controversial Tennis Players:

Q. Which tennis player displayed rude behavior?

Hewitt is considered rude by members of the tennis community. An example of his rude behavior occurred at the 2001 US Open. He faced off against James Blake at the time. In the course of the match, a black linesman twice called him out for foot faults.

Q. Which tennis player is the bad boy?

Connors and McEnroe were easily regarded as the “bad boys” of American tennis due to their frequent outbursts, arguments with umpires, and attempts to appeal to the crowd. In general, they are known as bad boys.

Q. Who is the most popular tennis player today?

It is widely believed that Roger Federer, like Maria Sharapova, is the greatest tennis player of all time. Basel has been home to the Swiss since 1998 when they turned professional.

Q. In your opinion, who is the fittest tennis player?

In terms of fitness, Djokovic is the best. Due to improvements in nutrition, technology, training, preparation, and knowledge of the game, Novak Djokovic is the fittest tennis player right now, and possibly of all time.

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