Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal and the 10 Best Rivalries in Tennis History

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Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal and the 10 Best Rivalries in Tennis History
Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
Federer and Nadal saw their rivalry peak at Wimbledon, 2008.

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are in the twilight of their great rivalry. They have been the epicenter of the tennis universe, providing memorable matches and fascinating stories.

Is this the greatest rivalry of all time?

Tennis has produced great individual stars and revolutionary technology changes since the advent of the Open Era in 1968. What makes some rivalries timeless while others are soon forgotten? Here are five criteria to measure a rivalry:

 

1) Grand Slam Battles: Rivals must compete on the biggest stages of tennis, preferably often. High stakes are needed to provide a forum of pressure and measure champions.

 

2) Fan Interest: Passionate fan bases and writers want compelling stories.

 

3) Player Personalities: Usually a clash or contrast of personalities provides greater theater. Sometimes both personalities are favorites, but sometimes one player will play the villain. Rarely will two bland personalities capture as much attention.

 

4) Contrast of Styles: A classic example pits a baseline tactician vs. a serve-and-volley expert. With changing times, new hybrids of style are emerging.

 

5) Big Moments: Tennis fans can often recall exact moments in great matches. It is the essential ingredient for immortality.

 

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