For the last 24 years, Sachin Tendulkar has dominated the cricket sphere as one of the legendary batsmen of the game. In the years from 1989 to 2013, there have also been other sports stars who have become legends during the age of batting sensation Sachin Tendulkar.
The list below includes some Indian sports stars that have made their mark for both the country as well as themselves in their respective sports that warranted a selection in this list.
From an Olympic gold medal to World Cup cricket titles, the last 24 years have seen a lot of positives for Indian as well as world sports.
1] Michael Schumacher
The seven-time F1 world champion won all his titles during the age of Sachin Tendulkar. Schumacher has been a fan on the cricket ace and even gifted him a Ferrari.
A legend in the sport, Schumacher first retired in 2006 and then made a comeback in 2010 and again chose to retire in 2012. The second part of his career was not successful but despite that Michael Schumacher is heralded as F1's greatest champion.
2] Michael Jordan
The name MJ is synonymous with basketball and the superstar who played for Chicago Bulls during the highlight of his career won numerous awards and laurels in addition to helping his team clinch the NBA championships on many occasions. The basketball star is known as the best defensive player in the game.
3] Michael Phelps
Nicknamed the human fish, Phelps is the greatest Olympian ever as he has won the most medals in the Olympics. The champion swimmer has won all the swimming events in the Olympics in his career and is truly a legend of the sport.
4] Mary Kom
A five-time World Boxing champion, Mary Kom is the only woman boxer to have won a medal in each one of the six world championships. The boxing ace also won a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics.
5] Viswanathan Anand
Grand Master Anand is a chess legend and has won the World Chess Championship five times in 2000, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012 and has been the undisputed World Champion since 2007. The 43-year-old is considered as the greatest rapid chess player of his generation with his prowess in the form.
6] Abhinav Bindra
India's old Olympic individual gold medal winner, Bindra won the medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the 10 m Air Rifle event. The 31-year-old was not able to repeat his feat in London but earned India this great laurel, a high for the nation.
7] Sushil Kumar
The wrestler won bronze in 2008 in Beijing and then bettered it in London with a gold in 2012. Sushil Kumar was India's only double medallist in individual sport and is a great in the free-style wrestling arena.
8] Muttiah Muralitharan
One of cricket's greatest bowlers, the Sri Lankan spinner managed to get 800 record wickets in Test matches and made him a legend of the game. Muralitharan held the No1 ranking for a record period of 1,711 days spanning 214 Test matches.
9] Steffi Graf
Though Graf won his first turned pro in 1982, she won most of her 22 Grand Slam titles from 1989 to 1999. A gifted tennis player, the German is second after Margaret Court as the woman to have won most Grand Slam tennis titles.
10] Zinedine Zidane
France's greatest football star ever, Zidane helped his country win the World Cup in 1998 and make the finals of the 2006 edition. Playing for his clubs too the gifted footballer who won player of the year on a number of occasions helped his team win a number of laurels.
11] Roger Federer
The Swiss ace won 17 Grand Slams, the most by a male player in the game of tennis. Federer was World No1 for 302 weeks overall and is considered the greatest player to have ever played the game due to his dominance that saw him reach the finals of each Grand Slam tournament at least five times. Sachin Tendulkar is known to be a great fan of Federer and has often gone to see him play at Wimbledon where the 32-year-old Swiss has enjoyed most dominance.
12] Yelena Isinbayeva
One of the greatest female pole-vaulter of all time, the 31 year-old has won two Olympic gold medalist in 2004 and 2008 in addition to being a three-time World Champion in 2005, 2007 and 2013, plus she is the current world record holder in the event.
13] Lance Armstrong
The cycling ace won his seven Tour de France titles and also lost them after admitting to drug use. Armstrong was stripped of his titles after it was revealed that his titles that were thought to be won under the influence of determination and prowess of a cancer-survivor was actually the work of drugs. The rise and fall of Armstrong from legend to disgrace made the sport lose many die-hard fans.
14] Tiger Woods
One of the most successful golfers ever, Tiger Woods enjoyed his golfing golden era. Woods broke many golfing records and was ranked the top golfer for the longest time.
15] Valentino Rossi
The most successful motorcycle racers of all time, Rossi has nine Moto GP titles to his name. The ace rider notched up his 80 victories to become a riding legend.
16] Kelly Slater
American professional surfer Slater was crowned ASP World Tour Champion for a record 11 times, including 5 consecutive titles that he won from 1994–98. The sufer was at 20, the youngest and the oldest at age 39 to win the title.
17] Usain Bolt
Regarded as the fastest man on Earth, Bolt became the first man to hold both 100 metres and 200 metres world records since1977 when electronic timing became compulsory. The Jamaican is the first man to win six Olympic gold medals in sprinting, and was the first to achieve a 'double double' as he won the 100 m and 200 m titles at consecutive Olympics in 2008 and 2012.
18] Serena Williams
The oldest World No1 player in WTA's history, Williams first won all four Grand Slams as a 20 something in 2002 and then went on to repeat the same feat by winning all Grand Slams atleast twice after she clinched the 2013, French Open. The American has the most major singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles combined among all players male or female who are currently playing the game.
19] Rafael Nadal
The King of Clay, Nadal has won the most titles - 8 at the French Open as has won all Grand Slams in addition to the Olympic gold medal. The Spaniard has won multiple titles on clay, grass and hard court which has lead many tennis observors to rate him as the best player in the game.
20] Shane Warne
The spinner bowled the ball of the century that earned him his nickname 'Spin King'. The Australian bowler took many wickets for his team leading them to many wins.
21] Leander Paes
With eight doubles and six mixed doubles Grand Slam titles, Paes is considered to be one of the greatest and most respected doubles and mixed doubles players in the world. Leander Paes is one of India's finest tennis players.
22] MS Dhoni
Having lead India to the World T20, 50-over World Cup and Champions Trophy wins, MS Dhoni is one of India's best captain's when it comes to silverware. The wicketkeeper-batsman is also a handy player and has lead India personally to many wins in all three formats of the game.
23] Saina Nehwal
The badminton star won the bronze medal at the London Olympics and has done India proud in the sport with a ranking as high as World No2. Nehwal became the first Indian to win a Super Series tournament in 2009.
24] Deepika Kumari
A World No1 in archery, the teenager is a rising star who won a gold medal in the 2010 Commonwealth games in the women's individual recurve event. In the world of bows and arrows, the 19-year-old is a highly regarded sportswoman.
PS: The names are not in any order and numbering is for counting convenience.