Men's Tennis: The Top Rivalry Matches in the Open Era

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Men's Tennis: The Top Rivalry Matches in the Open Era
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

This is the sort of thing that one is wont to discuss at this time of the year, when the real beef of the season on the clay and grass hasn't quite started and the first grand slam is out of the way. It is a time for reflection and typically, the conversation starts off about greatness.

One has the debate on the GOAT, but, more infrequently, discussion on the great rivalries—especially with Pete Sampras' most recent exhibition win over long-time rival Andre Agassi—pops up. What made them special was not only the tennis that rivalries brought, of course, but also the sense of gravitas and history that accompanied the concurrent presence of two great rivals.

McEnroe, Borg, Lendl, Connors, Sampras, Agassi, Federer, Nadal; these are just some of the names of the 40-odd years of the Open Era. They have dominated and shaped it, leading it exponentially towards new heights. Often, however, there were standout matches, matches which defined their rivalries and careers and which, especially, made their rivalries "great"—that obscure and undefinable sense of transcendence.

Here are the top rivalries—and their keynote classics—of the Open Era.

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