Top 13 Shortest Men’s Tennis Players – These Are the Most Successful

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When we watch tennis, we have the concept that in order to succeed, you need to be a tall guy or an average guy at worst.

When we see the current most successful male tennis players, which are the Big 3: Nadal, Federer, and Djokovic. They all share the same size range of 6’1″ to 6’2″.

Other successful players like Wawrinka, Murray, Sampras, Agassi are also in a close size bracket while some of them are taller or slightly shorter.

But in general, all men players who have achieved big titles and juicy prize money over the years are taller than 1.80m (5 ft 11 in).

Nevertheless, there are exceptions of players that are considerably short, but so talented and skilled that they’ve overcome the size limitations and have set themselves among the very best.

Let’s dive into the Top 13 shortest men’s tennis players who have been very or relatively successful in their careers.

The ranking consists only of the shortest players among with the highest career ranking inside the Top 100 in the Open era.

PlayerCountryUS sizeEU sizeHighest ATP Ranking
Olivier RochusBelgium5 ft 5 in1.65m24
Yoshihito NishiokaJapan5 ft 7 in1.70m48
Diego SchwartzmanArgentina5 ft 7 in1.70m8
Arnaud ClementFrance5 ft 8 in1.72m10
Rod LaverAustralia5 ft 8 in1.73m1
Michael RussellUSA5 ft 8 in1.73m60
Flavio CipollaItaly5 ft 8 in1.73m75
Hugo GastonFrance5 ft 9 in1.75m66
Damir DžumhurBosnia and Herzegovina5 ft 9 in1.75m23
David FerrerSpain5 ft 9 in1.75m3
Ričardas BerankisLithuania5 ft 9 in1.75m50
Michael ChangUSA5 ft 9 in1.75m2
Marcelo RíosChile5 ft 9 in1.75m1

What Short Tennis Players Are the Most Successful?

We will take the previous list of the Top 13 shortest tennis players in the Open ear to be inside the Top 100, and we will analyze it to obtain those who made the biggest achievements in the sport.

What Short Male Tennis Players Have the Highest Career Ranking?

PlayerCountryUS sizeEU sizeHighest ATP Ranking
Rod LaverAustralia5 ft 8 in1.73m1
Marcelo RíosChile5 ft 9 in1.75m1
Michael ChangUSA5 ft 9 in1.75m2

Rod Laver

The Australian legend Rod Laver and the Chilean Marcelo Rios (El zurdo de Vitacura), have made the achievement of being the no. 1 in the world of tennis for 9 different years.

Rodney Laver has won 4 consecutive Grand Slam titles in the same calendar year twice and once in the Open era, which is still the biggest achievement in men’s tennis today.

Marcelo Rios

As for Marcelo Rios, he made an incredible run at the Australian Open in 1998 and won the Indian Wells title.

However, it wasn’t until defeating Andre Agassi in Chile when he claimed the number 1 spot in the World rankings, becoming a national symbol of Chilean sport, where thousands gathered in the streets to celebrate his achievement.

He retained the World no. 1 for four weeks and lost it after failing to defend his Monte Carlo title.

What Short Male Tennis Players Have Won the Most Titles?

PlayerCountryUS sizeEU sizeSingles TitlesDoubles TitlesGrand Slams
Rod LaverAustralia5 ft 8 in1.73m72285
Michael ChangUSA5 ft 9 in1.75m3401
David FerrerSpain5 ft 9 in1.75m2720

Rod Laver

Again, Rod Laver is on the top with whooping numbers accomplished in his career. He has accumulated 72 singles titles in the Open era (198 in total) and 28 doubles titles.

He is as well very successful at the Majors and won 5 Grand Slams in the Open era (11 in total). The central court of the Australian Open tournament is named after him.

Michael Chang

Michael Chang’s career was marked by the achievement of being the youngest male tennis player to claim a Grand Slam title. He won the French Open title in 1989 over another legend, Ivan Lendl.

This is not only the maiden title for a young American tennis player but also a fabulous triumph of a short (5 ft 9 in) player over a tall skilled player like Lendl (6 ft 2 in).

Chang has also added 7 Masters titles to his trophy cabinet.

David Ferrer

Spanish Ferrer is an absolute warrior on tennis courts. He is agile and plays every point like his last. According to many, he is arguably the best male tennis player to never win a Grand Slam.

He was close in the French Open 2013, but what can you do against Nadal?

Nevertheless, his career was superb and he has won a Masters 1000 title in Paris Bercy in 2012 and 3 Davis Cups.

What Short Male Tennis Players Have Won the Most Prize Money?

Before this ranking, we must consider the fact that tennis pays a lot more over the years. For example:

  • the US Open 1990 prize money for the winner was $350,000.
  • In 2000, it was $800,000 for the winner.
  • In 2010, it was $1.7 million for the winner.
  • And in 2021, the winner took home $2.5 million before taxes.

This is a 714% increase in prize money in just 30 years! And pretty much the same happened to Masters 1000, ATP500, and ATP250 tournaments. Tennis has become very lucrative over the years.

This is just to say that this ranking is relatively biased, but let’s just stick with the official numbers.

PlayerCountryUS sizeEU sizePrize Money
David FerrerSpain5 ft 9 in1.75m$31,483,911
Michael ChangUSA5 ft 9 in1.75m$19,145,632
Diego SchwartzmanArgentina5 ft 7 in1.70m$11,346,943
  • David Ferrer’s 27 titles helped him get over $31 million in a lucrative period of tennis
  • Michael Chang’s prize money is just short of $20 million. This is massive knowing that tennis in the 80’s and 90’s paid a lot less than now.
  • Diego Shwartzman with his 5’7” is now one of the best clay tennis players, and currently the best short player on the Tour. He is a serious contender for many titles.

Not only he has won more than $11 million in tournaments money, but he has consistently beaten Top 10 players over the last few years, which are way taller than him.

Fun Facts

Schwartzman has impressive wins against some of the tallest ATP players.

  • Diego has beaten the current tallest ATP player Reilly Opelka (6 ft 11 in) – h2h: 1-2
  • Diego has beaten Kevin Anderson (6 ft 8 in) – h2h: 2-2
  • Diego has beaten Jerzy Janowicz (6 ft 8 in) – h2h: 1-0

To Sum It Up

Tennis is not only for the tall guys. This article listed some of the most successful men’s tennis players who were considered short in size. Here is the list of the Top 13 to sum it up.

PlayerCountryUS sizeEU sizeHighest ATP RankingSingles TitlesDoubles TitlesGrand SlamsPrize Money
1. Olivier RochusBelgium5 ft 5 in1.65m24220$4,809,475
2. Yoshihito NishiokaArgentina5 ft 7 in1.70m8400$11,346,943
3. Diego SchwartzmanJapan5 ft 7 in1.70m48100$3,417,062
4. Arnaud ClementFrance5 ft 8 in1.72m104120$7,125,228
5. Rod LaverUSA5 ft 8 in1.73m60000$2,352,870
6. Michael RussellItaly5 ft 8 in1.73m75010$1,624,250
7. Flavio CipollaFrance5 ft 8 in1.73m66000$1,033,726
8. Hugo GastonAustralia5 ft 8 in1.73m1722811$1,565,413
9. Damir DžumhurSpain5 ft 9 in1.75m32720$31,483,911
10. David FerrerUSA5 ft 9 in1.75m23401$19,145,632
11. Ričardas BerankisChile5 ft 9 in1.75m11810$9,713,771
12. Michael ChangBosnia and Herzegovina5 ft 9 in1.75m23300$4,528,722
13. Marcelo RíosLithuania5 ft 9 in1.75m50010$4,251,390

Read Also: Is Women’s Tennis More Popular Than Men’s Tennis?

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