We will feature all our former numbers one ranked players in the days to come starting here;
The Liverpool International has long been the North-West’s number one tennis festival – and part of the reason for that enduring popularity has been the presence of so many of the world’s greatest tennis players on its courts.
Since it opened in 2002, with world number one Marat Safin as its headline star, through to last summer when former world doubles star Peter McNamara showed off his talents, the Liverpool International has been a showcase for the very best.
Here’s just some of the very highest ranked players in the world who have played the International.
McEnroe was one of the most popular visitors to the Liverpool International, then played at Calderstones Park, in 2010.
One of the greatest players in tennis history, he first achieved the number one ranking in March 1980, weeks after his 21st birthday. He held that ranking for just three weeks – but then went on to share it with Bjorn Borg and Jimmy Connors throughout the 1980s.
Astonishingly his last appearance at the top of the rankings was on September 8, 1985 – more than 15 years after he first scaled the summit.
He attracted huge crowds to Calderstones Park – where he spoke about his love of The Beatles, the World Cup, Everton goalkeeper and compatriot Tim Howard, the contrast between Dunlop Maxply Fort and modern tennis racquets – then treated the crowd to some stunning strokes and a couple of cries of “You cannot be serious!”
He was seriously enjoyed by the Mersey public during his time on Merseyside.
One of the greatest players ever to wield a racquet – Borg didn’t get to show off his strokes in Liverpool after being bitten by his neighbour’s dog at a family barbecue!
His visit, in 2007, was billed as his first match back on grass in the UK since losing the epic 1981 Wimbledon final to John McEnroe.
In the event it didn’t happen – but Borg still turned up to chat to fans and discuss his career which saw him spend a total of 109 weeks as number one in the ATP rankings.