17 Tennis Player in New Zealand Best Players of All Time

Max Schnur

New Zealand has a long history of producing some of the best tennis players in the world. From the legendary former world number one, Mark Edmondson, to the current top-ranked singles player, Michael Venus, New Zealand has a proud tradition of excellence in the sport.

In this article, we will take a look at the top five current tennis players in New Zealand, and explore their impressive accomplishments on the court.

With a range of achievements from grand slam victories to Davis Cup success, these talented athletes are sure to be inspiring the next generation of Kiwi tennis stars.

1. Ajeet Rai

Ajeet Shankar Rai is a professional tennis player from New Zealand who has achieved impressive rankings in both singles and doubles. On April 3, 2023, he achieved his highest ATP singles ranking of 424, and his best doubles ranking of 304.

This makes him one of the top players in the country and a formidable opponent on the court. Rai is a dedicated and passionate player who has worked hard to reach his current rankings. He has a strong technical game and is known for his aggressive style of play.

He also has a deep understanding of the game which allows him to make quick decisions on the court.

His commitment to improving his game and constantly striving to perform at the highest level has helped him to become one of the top players in New Zealand. Rai’s success in tennis has been inspiring to many young tennis players in New Zealand.

His dedication to the sport and his determination to reach the top of the rankings has been a great source of inspiration to many. He is a role model for aspiring players and shows that hard work and dedication can lead to success in the sport.

2. Chris Lewis

Chris Lewis is a former professional tennis player from New Zealand who had a successful career spanning 12 years on the tour. His biggest achievement was making it to the 1983 Wimbledon singles final as an unseeded player.

His performance in the tournament was impressive and he reached the world No. 19 ranking in April 1984. In addition to his singles success, Lewis won a total of eight doubles titles during his career.

His combination of singles and doubles titles made him a respected player in the tennis world. Lewis had a successful career and his accomplishments are a testament to his hard work and dedication.

He was able to achieve great results despite not being seeded in the Wimbledon tournament. His success is a great example of how hard work and determination can lead to success.

3. Onny Parun

Onny Parun OBE is a renowned former tennis player from New Zealand. He has Croatian roots and was one of the top 20 tennis players in the world for five consecutive years.

His best performance occurred at the Wimbledon tournament in 1971 and 1972, when he advanced to the quarterfinals. Parun was born in New Zealand and had the opportunity to hone his tennis skills since a young age. He was also coached by some of the best coaches in the world.

His hard work and dedication paid off and he became one of the most successful tennis players in the world. He was the first New Zealander to play in the Davis Cup in 1964 and he was also the first New Zealand player to reach the top 20 in the world rankings.

He reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon in 1971 and 1972, a feat that was only surpassed by Onny’s compatriot, Chris Lewis, who reached the semifinals in 1983. Parun was recognised for his achievements and was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1973.

His name will remain etched in the annals of tennis history as one of the greatest players of his generation.

4. Michael Venus

Michael Venus is a professional tennis player from New Zealand. He achieved a career-high ranking of world No. 6 on the 29th of August 2022. In 2017, Venus won the French Open men’s doubles title in partnership with Ryan Harrison.

Following this success, he achieved a runner-up finish in the 2017 US Open mixed doubles tournament, alongside Chan Hao-ching. This was an impressive outcome for Venus, showing his dedication and skill as a professional tennis player.

He has since continued to demonstrate his talent in the sport, making him one of New Zealand’s most successful tennis players.

5. Anthony Wilding

Anthony Frederick Wilding, known affectionately as Tony Wilding, was a legendary tennis player and soldier from New Zealand. He was the first player to ever achieve the status of world No. 1 in professional tennis.

As one of the earliest tennis superstars, Wilding was known for his exceptional skill on the court and his honorable service in the military. Wilding was born in Christchurch, New Zealand in 1883 and was a natural talent with a racket from a young age.

He was an outstanding student-athlete and received a scholarship to study at Cambridge University. While there, he won the prestigious All-England Plate competition four times. It was at this time that Wilding began to establish himself as one of the world’s top tennis players.

He won the Wimbledon singles title four times in a row between 1910 and 1913 and the Davis Cup in 1907 with the Australasia team. Wilding’s success on the court was only matched by his bravery off the court.

When World War I began, he enlisted in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force and served in the Battle of the Somme. On 9 May 1915, while leading a charge against enemy trenches, Tony Wilding was killed in action.

He was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Order for his bravery in battle. Wilding’s legacy lives on in his achievements as one of the world’s first tennis superstars. He is remembered as a skillful player and a hero who made the ultimate sacrifice for his country.

6. Marina Erakovic

Marina Erakovic is a former professional tennis player from New Zealand. She was a talented player who enjoyed a long and successful career, rising to a career-high singles ranking of 39 and a doubles ranking of 25.

She was the proud winner of one singles title, which came at the 2013 Memphis event, as well as eight doubles titles on the WTA Tour. Erakovic was known for her aggressive style of play and she had a knack for coming back from difficult situations.

She was a consistent performer who was able to win big matches against the top players in the world. Her best results came in the doubles events, where she was able to use her net play and court positioning to her advantage.

She was also an effective server, able to mix up her pace and spin to keep her opponents off balance. Throughout her career, Erakovic was well respected by her peers and was known for her professionalism and sportsmanship.

She was a great ambassador for her country and was a major factor in the growth of tennis in New Zealand. Marina Erakovic was an excellent tennis player who had a great career. She will always be remembered for her success on the court and her contributions to the game.

7. Daniel King-Turner

Daniel King-Turner was a professional tennis player from New Zealand who had a successful career. He won a total of eight Futures singles titles, two Challenger doubles titles, and 10 Futures doubles titles.

In addition to these titles, he also made it to the semi-finals of two Challenger events, Pozoblanco in 2010 and Binghamton in 2012. His achievements are a testament to his hard work and dedication to the game of tennis.

He was able to make a name for himself and be successful in the sport. King-Turner is an inspiration to those who want to pursue a career in tennis and is a great example of what hard work and determination can achieve.

8. Frank Fisher

Francis Marion Bates Fisher was a politician from Wellington, New Zealand. He was a Member of Parliament in the country and was well known for his frequent changes of political allegiance, earning him the nickname ‘Rainbow Fisher’.

Fisher was a highly influential figure in the New Zealand political landscape, with his shifts in allegiance often causing a stir.

He was known for switching his allegiances between political parties, always in search of the best result for his constituents and the country as a whole. His ability to move between parties earned him respect from both sides of the political aisle.

Fisher had a variety of motivations for his political shifts. He believed that he could do the most good by aligning himself with the party which held the most power at any given time, in order to make the most impact on the current political issues.

He was also known to move between parties in order to better represent the views of his constituents and the people of Wellington. Rainbow Fisher was a highly influential figure in New Zealand politics.

His willingness to switch between parties in order to get the best outcome for his constituents and the country as a whole made him a respected figure, and one who will be remembered for years to come.

9. Emily Fanning

Emily Fanning is an accomplished former tennis player hailing from New Zealand.

She achieved her career-high junior ranking of 38 in July 2012, and during her tennis career, she was able to win three doubles titles at ITF Women’s Circuit tournaments. Fanning’s ability to reach such a high ranking in her junior career is a testament to her skill and dedication to the sport.

She was able to take her talent and use it to gain success in the doubles game, earning three titles from tournaments of the ITF Women’s Circuit.

This is an impressive feat, as it shows she was able to win against some of the best competition the sport has to offer. Emily Fanning’s accomplishments in the sport of tennis have been impressive.

She was able to reach a career-high ranking of 38 in July 2012 and was able to win three doubles titles from tournaments of the ITF Women’s Circuit. This shows that she was able to reach a high level of success in her career, and has left a lasting legacy in the sport.

10. Artem Sitak

Artem Yurievich Sitak is a professional tennis player who was born in Russia but is now a New Zealand citizen. He has achieved an impressive career in the sport, reaching a career-high singles ranking of World No.

299 on 11 August 2008 and a career-high doubles ranking of World No. 32 on 10 September 2018, shortly after the US Open. His highest singles ranking was achieved after an impressive run of form, which included several victories against higher-ranked opponents.

His highest doubles ranking was achieved in an even more impressive manner, as he and his partner won several major tournaments in the lead-up to the US Open. This impressive run of form has seen him become one of the most successful and respected tennis players in the world.

11. Sacha Hughes

Sacha Hughes is a former professional tennis player who has been the New Zealand Fed Cup captain since May 2019. She has competed as both Sacha Hughes and Sacha Jones. Her highest WTA singles ranking was achieved on 8 October 2012, when she ranked 150 in the world.

Additionally, her highest ITF junior ranking was 11, making her one of the top junior players in the world. Throughout her career, Sacha has been a great representation for her country and is a respected leader in the tennis world.

12. Judy Connor

Judith Connor, also known by her married name Judy Connor-Chaloner, is a retired female tennis player from New Zealand. She had a successful career as a professional tennis player, earning numerous titles and accolades.

One of her greatest achievements was winning the 1979 doubles title at the Australian Open with her partner, Dianne Evers. This was Connor’s first and only Grand Slam title, making it an even more impressive accomplishment.

Connor has since retired from professional tennis, but her legacy remains. She is remembered as a talented athlete who demonstrated her skill on the court and is an example of what hard work and determination can achieve.

13. Leanne Baker

Leanne Baker is a highly accomplished athlete who has achieved success in both tennis and rugby. She is originally from New Zealand and had a successful professional tennis career, reaching a career-high singles ranking of world No. 260 on February 26, 2007.

After her tennis career, she moved to the United States and began playing club rugby, and now she is the head coach of the Chicago Women’s Rugby Football Club.

Throughout her athletic career, Leanne has demonstrated a remarkable commitment to excellence and her teams have benefited from her leadership.

She has an impressive understanding of the strategies and techniques necessary for success in both tennis and rugby and has used that knowledge to help her teams achieve their goals.

Leanne is a great example of a successful athlete who is able to transition her skills and experience from one sport to another.

14. Marcus Daniell

Marcus Daniell is an accomplished professional tennis player from New Zealand who currently holds an inactive status. In January 2018, he reached a career-high ATP doubles ranking of world No. 34 after making it to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open.

His success continued as he went on to win a bronze medal in the men’s doubles at the 2020 Summer Olympics alongside his compatriot Michael Venus.

Marcus Daniell has achieved impressive feats in the tennis world and is well-known in his home country of New Zealand for his accomplishments. He is an inspiration to young tennis players in the country who hope to emulate his success.

15. Buster Andrews

Eskel Dundas Andrews was a prominent figure in the world of tennis during the early to mid-twentieth century. He was born in New Zealand and was an accomplished player who competed in Wimbledon thirteen times between 1928 and 1949.

He was particularly successful in the doubles events, making it to the quarter-finals twice in the men’s doubles and once in the mixed doubles. Andrews’ high level of success in the sport of tennis eventually led him to pursue a career in law.

He became a solicitor and eventually a partner at a London stockbroking firm. He was part of the firm for many years, and his expertise and knowledge in the legal and financial realms was highly appreciated.

Throughout his lifetime, Andrews embodied the true spirit of a tennis player. He was passionate and dedicated to the sport and his achievements were remarkable.

He was a role model for other aspiring players and his success and determination will be remembered for many years to come.

16. Mark Otway

Mark Anthony Otway was a New Zealand tennis player born in 1931 in Takapuna, New Zealand. He was educated at Takapuna Grammar School from 1946 to 1948, and then at Mount Albert Grammar School.

During his professional career in tennis, Otway competed at Wimbledon eight times between 1954 and 1965, and once at the Australian Championships in 1951. Otway was born in Takapuna and was the first to represent New Zealand in international tennis.

Growing up, he was a keen sportsman and was passionate about tennis, which led to his decision to pursue a professional career in the sport. He began competing in professional tournaments in the 1950s, including the Australian Championships in 1951.

Otway was most successful at the Wimbledon Championships, competing in the tournament eight times between 1954 and 1965. He was the first New Zealand representative to reach the quarter-finals in 1955 and was the first New Zealander to reach the semi-finals in 1958.

During his career at Wimbledon, he won several singles and doubles matches. Mark Anthony Otway was an influential tennis player from New Zealand.

His dedication to the sport and successes at Wimbledon were impressive achievements and made him a celebrated player in New Zealand and abroad.

17. Belinda Cordwell

Belinda Jane Cordwell is an accomplished athlete and sports commentator. She is originally from New Zealand and represented her home nation at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul.

During her professional tennis career, she was ranked in the top 20 players in the world, and her best result in a Grand Slam event was reaching the semifinals of the 1989 Australian Open. Cordwell’s success on the court was the result of her hard work and dedication to the game.

She trained diligently and worked hard to improve her skills and technique.

Her commitment to the sport was evident in the way she performed on the court, and it paid off with her impressive results. In addition to her success as a player, Cordwell has gone on to have a successful career as a sports commentator.

She has been a regular commentator for various tennis tournaments, and her expertise and insights have been highly valued. Cordwell is an inspiration for many aspiring athletes and tennis players.

Her dedication and commitment to the sport is a testament to her love for the game, and her impressive career is a reminder of what can be achieved with hard work and determination..

Conclusion

New Zealand has many talented tennis players, but one player stands out above the rest. That player is Michael Venus, who has achieved the highest ranking of any New Zealand tennis player in history.

His success on the court has made him the best tennis player in New Zealand and he is an inspiration to all aspiring tennis players.

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Max Schnur

I am a professional tennis player on the ATP Tour. I am currently ranked at #29 in the world and have been playing for more than ten years. I started practicing tennis when I was five years old and quickly became obsessed with the sport. I started playing competitively at age 10, and after turning pro in 2004, I was able to compete on the ATP Tour for a decade. As an international athlete, my life has always been about travel and my love of traveling has led me to explore different cultures around the world. When not on tour, I can be found traveling around Europe or living it up in Las Vegas with friends from all over the globe! LinkedIn