Seven Famous Tennis Rivalries

Rohini IyerSenior Writer IOctober 14, 2008

The world of tennis is peppered with rivalries, some of which have spanned decades.

These rivalries such that, when the name of one player crops up, the rival's name is like a reflex action.

Although, there are many rivalries like Connors-McEnroe, Connors-Borg, and Becker-Edberg; I felt these seven were more interesting.

In case I have missed anything, I am sorry for the ignorance.


1. Rod Laver vs. Ken Rosewall [1963-1976]

Aussie Laver holds the edge over Rosewall in their 14-year rivalry, encompassing 141 matches, albeit a bit slender one: 75-66.

Although they were rivals, each had great respect for the other's game and their rivalry was regarded to be very gentlemanly.

2. Bjorn Borg vs. John McEnroe [1978-1981]

"The Ice Borg" vs. "McBrat." Their rivalry was due to the difference in their approach to the game: one cool and composed, the other letting his emotions take the better of him!

In their 14 meetings, both of them squared at 7-7. John McEnroe finally defeated 'The Ice Borg' in the Wimbledon and US Open [1981], thereby ending the Swede's domination.


3. Martina Navratilova vs. Chris Evert [1973-1988]

Theirs is a rivalry that is unmatched and will go down in history. They were rivals on court and best friends off court.

Their rivalry captivated the audience and revolutionised women's tennis. Of their 80 meetings, Navratilova leads by 43 matches to 37.


4. Steffi Graf vs. Monica Seles [1988-1989]

Their 14-match rivalry was cut short due to the unfortunate stabbing of Seles. Had it not been so, perhaps we would have had more action and drama like Navratilova and Evert. Graf leads their meetings with nine wins to five.


5. Pete Sampras vs. Andre Agassi [1989-2002]

One of the finest and most exciting on-court rivalries. Out of the 34 matches played, "Pistol" Pete holds the edge with 20 wins to 14. They have met five times in the Grand Slam finals, out of which Agassi has managed to win only once [1995 Australian open].


6.Venus Williams vs. Serena Williams [2000-present]

The Williams sisters took the world by storm in the late nineties. In 2002 and 2003, the sisters met in the finals of all four grand slams, the only siblings in the history of the sport to do so.

They have met 16 times, but have won equal matches; although, in the seven grand slam meetings, Serena leads by five wins to two.


7. Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal [2005-present]

The best rivalry in today's era. Rafa, the clay court champion, defeated the defending Wimbledon champion Federer at Wimbledon after an epic five-setter, ending Federer's 66-match win streak there.

They have met 18 times, out of which Nadal has won 12 times. Fans all over the world now are expecting another Federer-Rafa showdown in the Madrid Masters.