Top 10 Greatest Tennis Rivalries

Novak Djokovic vs Roger Federer

To date, Djokovic is the only person in all four majors to beat Federer, and Federer is also the only one who beat Djokovic in all four majors as well. When a big tournament takes place, both players feature prominently among tennis betting tips and are usually in the mix when the titles are awarded. In the course of their respective careers, they have been faced each other 50 times as of July 2020 and Djokovic won 27 of them. The Serbian leads 13-6 at every final and 11-6 at the Grand Slam matches.
But Federer was at a disadvantage by 13-6 since 2010, and he was able to argue that age has become a contributing factor to the progress of their careers.

Billie Jean King vs Margaret Court

With the court winning 22, the king and the court intensely fought each other 32 times. No doubt, their rivalry could have reached another dimension if Court would not have been retired from tennis for two years before returning in 1968 at the age of 25. At the finals of five Grand Slam events, King and Court met two before the Court’s short withdrawal and three later. In 1968, King won just one of those five games and won the Australian Open 6-1, 6-2 victory shortly after Court returned. They played in Wimbledon for the two most memorable matches. First, Billie Jean Moffitt, 18, stunned top-seeded Margaret Smith 1-6, 6-3, 7-5 in the 1962 opening match of the two players, where Billie played her second single Wimbledon match. The other occurred following changes in their last names (after marriage). The Court’s victory in the 1970 final was 14-12, 11-9 against King. Court played with an ankle problem, which required pain killers to inject, and some weeks later King had a knee ailment, which required surgery.

Stefan Edberg vs Boris Becker

Becker and Edberg were the best lawn players of all time at the end of the 1980s and early 1990s. They were the only two in the Wimbledon finals for three years in a row, between 1988 and 1990 – and while Becker clearly led Edberg (25:10), Edberg smashed Becker two out of three times the world’s most important tournament’s finals. In fact, in 1991 the fourth edition between Becker and Edberg was supposed to be taking place; however, Edberg lost the semi-final against Michael Stich oddly enough without even giving up his serve in a four-set tiebreak thriller.

Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal

The rivalry between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, two of the best tennis players of all time, is a modern tennis rivalry. It is technically a Rivalry between the two most prolific in men’s tennis in the Open Era.  It is widely regarded by players, coaches, and experts as one of the most intense rivalries in tennis history, and in the 2000s it was listed as its third greatest rivalry in 2009. It’s basically the battler between the world’s number 1 vs world’s number 2, positions both frequently juggle.

Steffi Graf vs Monica Seles

Steffi Graf and Monica Seles were retired tennis players who rivaled for the title of the best female tennis player from 1989 to 1999. In 15 matches, they competed. Graf was the indisputable queen of the court from 1987 to 1990. During the period, she was the world’s leading player and won nine Grand Slams. But a special talent from Yugoslavia emerged in the early 1990s. During the 1990 French Open, the 16-year-old Seles won a Grand Slam title by defeating Graf. It was an enormous moment as not many expected that the powerful Graf would fall to a rookie. But Seles soon proved that her victory was not mere luck. The two battled each other in three out of four Major finals with Seles winning twice and Graf just one time. Probably the finest match of they competed in was 1992 French Open Final where Seles won by scoring 6-2, 3-6, 10-8.But three months after her 1993 Australia Open victory against Graf, Seles was attacked by a man who was obsessed with Graf in the during a match in Hamburg. This occurrence remains one of the sport’s major tragedies. Graf had a lead of 6-4 lead head-to-head before the attacking event, but she managed to win four of the last five matches, after the return of Seles. The duo happened to face each other to the US Open Finals in 1995 and 1996 and Graf won both times.  Only if it was not for one distressed man, can we could imagine the levels this rivalry could have reached.

Pete Sampras vs Andre Agassi

They played 34 times each other with 20 Sampras victories and 14 Agassi victories. They played with a 6-3 record to Sampras in nine Grand slam meetings and five Grand Slam finals with a 4-1 Sampras record including three U.S. Open wins in 1990, 1995, and 2002. Sampras beat Agassi in the 1999 Wimbledon final. In the Australian Open Finals of 1995 and in the Australian Open Semifinal in 2000, Agassi beat Sampras. In the 1992 French Open quarterfinals, Agassi also defeated Sampras, while Sampras got his revenge on defending Champion in the 1993 Wimbledon quarterfinals. Their most famous meeting was the quarterfinal of the 2001 US Open, which had four successive tiebreaks.

Serena vs Venus Williams

Williams sisters, Serena and Venus have significantly impacted the way women’s tennis is played today. They presented a kind of power-hitting that was never seen in the sport. After the Graf era ended with the beginning of the new millennium, the spotlight was stoled by the Williams sisters. In the 2000’s they met in the 8 final Grand Slams and easily formed the greatest rivalry in the history of the sport. Their dominance was high between 2001 and 2003, and in six out of eight Grand Slam finals, they were confronted with each other. It also included a series of four consecutive major finals that still remain as an open-era record. Venus statistically may not have a Grand Slams wins to match Serena’s.
But unlike others in this list, both played top positions, both sisters fought for the biggest titles toe to toe, taking sibling rivalry to new heights (in a good way, of course). It should also be pointed out that the American sisters won 22 doubles, including 14 Grand slams and three olympic gold medals.

John McEnroe vs Bjorn Borg

Tennis players, Björn Borg and John McEnroe faced each other 22 times in total, their on-court rivalry was highlighted by their completely opposite temperaments and styles. The cool and emotionless attitude of Borg at the court, while McEnroe was famous for his court side tantrum. During rivalry, each player won seven times against each other, from 1978 to 1981. Their rivalry has been described as “Fire and Ice” due to their contrasting personalities. Borg vs McEnroe, a biographical sports drama is a film about the Wimbledon Championships of the 1980. The men’s singles final was one of the most dramatic tennis matches of all time.

Rafael Nadal vs Roger Federer

Federer and Nadal have played 40 times each other, with Nadal leading the head 24–16, considered one of the greatest rivalries of all times.
Both Nadal and Federer have ranked as the ATP Tour top two ranked players continuously for six consecutive calendar years from 2005 to 2010 and after seventh time in 2017. This includes records from July 2005 to August 2009 for 211 consecutive weeks the two top rankings.

Chris Evert vs Martina Navratilova

Many consider that Navratilova vs Evert is the greatest rivalry in the history of tennis. Between these two-game legends, there is not much to choose from. Thanks to her 10-4 records at their Grand Slam last meetings, Navratilova has six more victories in their head-to-head.   Perhaps you could say that for such a long time no two players have dominated the sport. Out of their eighty confrontations, 60 went in the finals. They played in an astounding six Major Finals between 1984 and 1985. In the first half of their rivalry, Evert reigned supreme, winning 21 of the first 25 matches. However, in the ’80s, Navratilova was the victorias in 30 of their last 39 face off matches. Navratilova came back stronger physically and mentally, turning the tables on the American. Most probably the 1985 French Open Final was Evert’s most famous match. At 30 years of age, she won reclaimed the No 1 ranking at the age of 30.

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