Comparing the Federer-Nadal and Seles-Graf Tennis Rivalries

Michael CasentiCorrespondent IApril 6, 2010

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 17:  Roger Federer of Switzerland (R) and Rafael Nadal of Spain during the prize giving ceremony after the mens final during the Madrid Open tennis tournament at the Caja Magica on May 17, 2009 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

As recent as it seems, it has been 11 years since the "supposed to be next Navratilova-Evert rivalry'" of Steffi Graf and Monica Seles emerged.  

And it was just six years ago when Nadal and Federer captivated tennis fans around the world with the their contrast in play and fierce rivalry.  

But for now, I will focuse on how the current Nadal-Federer rivalry is much like a flash back into most of the 1990s.

At age 15, little Monica Seles met then-World No. 1 Graf in the semifinals of the French Open.  Seles lost in three tough sets, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.  Since then, the rivalry zenithed into the early 90s, when Seles and Graf were at the top of their forms.

Since their first meeting, it has become apparent that Seles is mentally superior to Graf, much as Nadal is over Federer today.  

Seles and Nadal possessed an eerie trait of never getting nervous on very important points in a huge match.  

Also, Nadal and Seles are both left handed players, their least favorite surface is grass, while their favorite was clay, and both grunted, but out of exertion, unlike how many players, notably Azarenka, Serena and Venus Williams, and Maria Sharapova grunt or scream today.

Both players never did or may not fulfill their true potential.  

Seles got stabbed, which changed her psychologically, and Nadal has had constant injuries—both setbacks have hindered their performances. 

Now, let's compare Federer and Graf.  

Federer and Graf were both the kings and queens of the tennis courts until their two young rivals came about.  

They still were dominating tennis, but not as much as they were used to.  

They both had or have more Grand Slam titles than their younger rivals, and their favorite surface is grass.  

Both were still comfortable on all surfaces, but clay was their least favorite—they were all court players with excellent volleys, baseline play, and serves.  

In addition, both champions had a one-handed backhand.  

Neither of them grunted either.

All in all, these four players reminder us of the excitement of watching a great Seles-Graf or Federer-Nadal rivalry. 

Long live these rivalries!

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