We’ll start this out with the simple answer – tennis players are pretty tall.
The average man in the US measures in at around 5ft 9 inches (175cm) tall, making him two inches shorter than the shortest guy in the top ten, David Goffin at 5ft 11 (180cm).
On the women’s side, it’s a similar story.
The average woman in the US is 5ft 3 ½ inches (161cm) tall, an inch and a half shorter than the shortest woman in the top ten, Ashleigh Barty (165cm).
The averages point to the same conclusion, with the average top ten male player measuring in at 6ft 2 inches (188cm), and the average female top ten player coming in at 5ft 8 ½ inches (174cm).
This points to the fact that it’s pretty helpful to have height on your side if you want to make it as a top tennis player.
However, there have been plenty of examples throughout history that you don’t need to be over 6ft tall to succeed in tennis.
We take a look at some of the biggest names from the men’s and women’s games to see how tall they are.
Heights of Top Males Players
The Big Four
If we look at the most successful players of recent times, they’ve all be comfortably over six foot.
The big four of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic have won pretty much every major over the last few years and they’re all a similar height.
Roger Federer – 6’1” (185cm)
The GOAT – the man whose suaveness is only matched by his unbelievable tennis is 6ft 1 inch tall. This is pretty tall for your average guy, but for a top tennis player, it’s very standard.
Rafel Nadal – 6’1” (185cm)
Rafa always seems to look a little bit shorter on TV, but when you see him in real life he’s a pretty tall and imposing guy.
He’s always been hot on Federer’s tail and has given us some enthralling tennis over the years, and he also measures 6ft 1 inches.
Novak Djokovic – 6’2” (188cm)
Djokovic is slightly taller than his two eternal rivals at 6 ft 2 inches tall.
With 17 Grand Slam victories, the Djok is within striking distance of Nadal on 19 and Federer on 20, so we will see what the years ahead bring for the Serb.
Andy Murray – 6’3” (191cm)
The tallest of the four players is Andy Murray at 6ft 3 inches. Again, he’s someone that doesn’t appear to be so tall on TV, but he’s well above average height.
We’re always referring to the young group of players who are supposed to take over from the likes of Federer, Djokovic, and Nadal.
However, we’re still waiting, and these players aren’t so young anymore.
Anyway, “the youngsters” are pretty tall guys, and they go to show the kinds of tennis players that are coming through.
Dominic Thiem – 6’1” (185cm)
At 26 years old, Thiem isn’t that young anymore, but he’s starting to push the top players.
Currently ranked number three in the world, the Austrian fits the typical mold and is 6ft 1 inch tall.
Daniil Medvedev – 6’6” (198cm)
This is where we start to see some really tall guys! Russian Medvedev had a breakthrough year in 2019 and looks set to be around the top of the rankings for some time to come.
Stefanos Tsitispas – 6’4” (193cm)
When you stand him next to Medvedev, he doesn’t look particularly tall, but you soon notice when he stands next to the Fed or Nadal.
The 21-year-old won the ATP Tour year-end trophy last year and is tipped to become a Grand Slam champion in the not too distant future.
Alexander Zverev – 6’6” (198cm)
Given the average height of an NBA basketball player is 6ft 7 inches, this group of youngsters are pretty tall.
23-year-old German, Zverev is no different, and like Tsitsipas, he’s tipped for future stardom.
Other Notable Up and Coming Players
Matteo Berrettini – 6’5” (196cm)
Andrey Rublev – 6’ 2” (188cm)
Karen Khachanov – 6’6” (198cm)
Denis Shapovalov – 6’ 1” (185cm)
Felix Auger-Aliassime – 6’4” (193cm)
What About Some of the Past Greats?
So, we know the modern game is dominated by guys who are over 6ft tall, but what about in the past?
Andre Agassi – 5’11” (179cm)
Agassi had an exceptional playing career, winning 8 Grand Slam titles and a career Grand Slam. At 5’ 11”, he is an example of a great ex-player who measured under 6ft tall.
Pete Sampras – 6’1” (185cm)
You can’t think of Agassi without thinking of the great “Pistol” Pete Sampras. While Sampras was known for his excellent serve, he was only 6ft 1 inch tall, not huge compared to the modern-day players.
Boris Becker – 6’3” (190cm)
Another man with a big serve and a great record at Wimbledon. The German won 6 grand slam titles in the 80s and 90s, but wouldn’t have looked out of place today at 6’3”.
John McEnroe – 5’11” (180cm)
A legend of the game and still frequently found doing commentary on the big matches, John McEnroe measures in at 5’11”. The American won 7 grand slam titles in the 70s and 80s.
Bjorn Borg – 5’11” (180cm)
Borg, who formed one of the greatest rivalries of all time with John McEnroe was also 5’11.
The Swede won 11 grand slam titles including 5 straight Wimbledon’s and 4 straight French Open’s.
Rod Laver – 5’8” (174cm)
Going back a bit further we get to all-time great Rod Laver. The Australian who is 5’8” also won 11 grand slam titles doing the Grand Slam twice.
Other Notable Past Greats
Lleyton Hewwit – 5’10” (178cm)
Jimmy Connors – 5’10” (178cm)
Ivan Lendl – 6’2” (188cm)
Stefan Edberg – 6’2” (188cm)
Arthur Ashe – 6’1” (185cm)
The Very Tall and the Very Short!
Players of all heights can succeed at tennis, and the world rankings go to show that.
At the top of the scale, there are some giants, but there are also some much shorter guys that have had significant success.
Diego Schwartzman – 5’6” (170cm)
Diego Schwartzman might be the best part of a foot shorter than the likes of Zverev and Medvedev, but that doesn’t stop him competing.
The Argentine is currently ranked number thirteen in the world.
John Isner – 6’10” (208cm)
Big American, John Isner always comes across as one of the nicest guys in the game, but he gets the job done on the court.
Isner has spent plenty of time in the world’s top ten, powered by an unbelievable serve.
Other Notable Players
Reilly Opelka – 6’11” (211cm)
Ivo Karlovic – 6’11” (211cm)
David Ferrer – 5’9” (175cm)
Heights of Top Female Players
So, we’ve already established that the current crop of top male tennis players is pretty tall, but what about the women?
Serena Williams – 5’9” (175cm)
23-time grand slam champion Serena Williams is 5ft 9 inches tall, which is well above the average for a female.
While she’s certainly not short compared to other ladies on the tour, she’s also not exceptionally tall.
Ashleigh Barty – 5’5” (166cm)
Current world number one Ashleigh Barty is certainly on the shorter side and is the shortest woman in the world’s top ten.
Clearly it doesn’t hold her back though as she’s been taring things up in recent years.
Karolina Pliskova – 6’1” (186cm)
Plilskova always seems to be there or thereabouts and is on the taller side when it comes to women’s tennis.
The Czech is a former world number one and is currently ranked number three in the world.
Naomi Osaka – 5’11” (180cm)
Another person who doesn’t seem so tall on TV but is plenty tall enough in real life.
The Japanese player had great success at the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019 but finds herself at number 10 in the rankings currently.
In the men’s game, many of the past greats weren’t as tall as the modern players, so would this be the same in the women’s game?
Billie Jean King – 5’5” (164cm)
Billie Jean King is one of the great legends of tennis and was instrumental in the formation of the WTA. At 5’5”, she would be on the shorter side in today’s game.
Martina Navratilova – 5’8” (173cm)
One of Billie Jean’s great rivals, Martina Navratilova was significantly taller at 5’8”. The leftie had a stellar career and is a popular television pundit to this day.
Steffi Graf – 5’9” (175cm)
The other half of the Agassi – Graf partnerships, Steffi Graf was a dominant force in tennis in the late 80s and early 90s.
At 5’9”, she’s the same height as Serena Williams, and certainly wouldn’t have looked out of place on the tour today.
Other Notable Past Greats
Chris Evert – 5’6” (168cm)
Monica Seles – 5’10” (178cm)
Martina Hingis – 5’7” (170cm)
Venus Williams – 6’1” (185cm)
Article by: Will