There is simply no doubt that Roy Emerson is the second greatest tennis male player who ever lived.
A dozen male players won enough grand slam titles to have had a chance at winning each title more than once, but Emerson is one of only two men ever to accomplish this feat. They were both Australians, and the other was Rod Laver, who is unquestionably the greatest of all time. Laver ended his career with eleven grand slam titles and Emerson had one more, an even dozen. But the head-to-head between Laver and Emerson was no contest. Laver dominated Emerson.
The pair played 67 times and Laver won a shocking 49 of those contests, including seven of their nine grand-slam contests and 21 of their 31 meetings in the finals. Laver won all 21 of the pair’s final 21 meetings.
But take Laver out of the equation and Emerson is in a class by himself. He won the Aussie Open six times and each of the other three slam events twice. Pete Sampras and Roger Federer each have more total slam titles than Emerson, but Sampras never won the French Open and Federer won it only once. On that one occasion he was very lucky, because he didn’t have to face Rafael Nadal, the greatest French Open champion in history who was eliminated by another player.
Emerson holds the most Australian Open titles, with 6.