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Ranking the Top 10 Tennis Rivalries of All Time

Tennis Rivalries of All Time

Whether you are talking about Tennis or any other sport, Rivalry between sports stars is highly cherished by every global fan all-around the world. As we are ranking the Top 10 tennis rivalries of all time in our epic list, we will take some fierce on-court battles and clashes between the best tennis superstars into consideration.

Besides drawing all the attention from the Tennis fans, these rivalries have brought the best from these Tennis superstars from across the globe. Discussing our list containing the Top 10 tennis rivalries of all time, we have included some of the most talked-about rivals from the current and the post-open tennis era.

#10. Stephen EdBerg and Boris Becker

Stephen EdBerg and Boris Becker

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If you talk about the early 80s and 90s, Becker and Edberg can be deemed as the best lawn tennis players of all time. For the record, the two tennis legends still stand as the only two Pioneers to meet each other in the Wimbledon finals for three years in a row( between the period 1988 and 1990).

Even though Becker held an upper hand over Edberg  leading by 25-10 in their epic rivalry, the latter has defeated Becker two out of the three times in the Wimbledon finals. Both the tennis legends were scheduled to meet each other in their fourth final in 1991.

Yet, Edberg got expelled in semis while losing to another tennis legend John Mcenroe during the same event. Regardless, the rivalry stands at number nine in our list of top 10 rivalries of all time.

#9. Billie Jean King and Margaret Court

Billie Jean King and Margaret Court

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Coming to women’s tennis, if there’s one rivalry that can be deemed as the biggest one in the history of the sport, it has to be this one. While Court has won 22 matches out of the total 66 played between the two, their rivalry has produced some of the most magnificent performances on the tennis court to date.

The match-up between the two would have reached another level if not Margaret court had retired for two long years before making a comeback in 1968. In the same year, Billie Jean king claimed an empathic victory over the court during a breathtaking clash at the Australian Open.

Besides, they have played two of the most memorable matches at the Wimbledon championship. Once, During a match at the 1970 Wimbledon final, Court appeared to the match with an ankle issue that required her to take painkillers. Weeks later, she went through surgery that eventually put an end to her celebrated tennis career.

#8. Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal

Novak Djokovic versus Rafael Nadal

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The rivalry between Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic has become the biggest talking point of the current tennis era. Both the players have achieved some big success over the past decade due to their prolific tennis skills and performances.

While Nadal has lost some god time in his career due to a back injury, Djokovic has gained some big ground in the same duration. While Djokovic still leads in the head-to-head battle between the two, their rivalry has brought in some of the best and the most memorable tennis highlights and cherished moments across various grand slam events.

The two legends clashed with each other 57 times with the Serbian leading the race 29–28. Besides, Djokovic also has an upper hand in the finals with 15–13 in the head-to-head battles. Speaking of the Grand slam events, Nadal Nadal leads 7–1 at the French Open and 2–1 at the US Open. Djokovic, on the contrary, leads 2–0 at the Australian Open and 2–1 at Wimbledon.

With Federer missing in action due to a list of injuries recently, these two have emerged as the center points for most of the tennis fans across the globe.

#7. Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic

As of now, Federer and Djokovic are the only players who had beaten each other in all four grand slam events. So the rivalry between these two always stays as the talking point in the midst of any random tennis event or championship.

Over the last decade of their respective careers, both the players have faced each other 50 times and Serbian still leads the Swiss legend by 27 -23.

Speaking of their head-to-head battle in the finals, Djokovic leads with 13-6 at the championship finals and 11-6 at the Grand Slam finals. This probably comes as the biggest reason why Djokovic is considered as one of the biggest rivals to have dominance over the great Roger Federer up to date.

Federer’s age has become a considerable factor in his career in the recent past. Yet, no difference has been witnessed in his skills and resilience on the court against his most fierce rival.

#6. Monica Seles and Steffi Graf

If you haven’t heard about the rivalry between Monica Seles and Steffi Graf, you have certainly missed the Golden era of women’s tennis. Even as both the players have retired, their Face-off over the years has turned out to be one of  the biggest rivalries in the women’s tennis world during the period of 1989 to 1999.

While Graf stood as the undisputed Queen of the tennis arena during the same time, she got some tough competition from Monica Seles in most of their clashes. The intensity of the rivalry between these two tennis legends was so high that Seles was once attacked by a person obsessed with Graf during one of their matches in Hamburg.

Even though she survived the attack, Seles was pushed away from the court for two long years. Despite all odds, she marked a return to the court and proved her prowess against her biggest rival in numerous clashes.

#5. Pete Sampras and Andre agassi

Even though these two tennis players belong to the same country, they have been a part of one of the biggest rivalries on the tennis court. Their Epic Battles are still alive on the highlight reels and are studied and analysed by many Tennis training institutions. Both Sampras and Agassi have faced each other 34 times and it’s the former that leads the head-to-head battle with 20 – 14.

Discussing their grand slam rivalry, Sampras still lead the same with his unmatched tennis skills and resilience on various occasions. The two native rivals played a quarter-final in the 2001 U.S. Open that included four successive tie breaks. It turned out to be the only match in tennis history that incorporated these many tiebreakers in a single match.

#4. Venus Williams and Serena Williams

Venus Williams and Serena Williams

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If there are any women tennis players that need to be credited to bring the power-hitting approach in the women’s tennis history, it has to be the Williams sisters. Both of these tennis legends have brought in a kind of power game that was never ever witnessed by tennis world involving women’s tennis.

While Steffi Graf is deemed as the Queen of women’s tennis for the past many years, the Williams sisters have emerged as the next big thing on the same horizon.

Speaking on the rivalry between the Williams sisters, they endulged in  women’s singles battle at eight grand slam finals. Each of the Finals had it’s own show of class.

Their dominance on the Tennis court was unmatched, such that no other woman tennis player  could come close to this deadly duo within 2001 to 2003.

For the record, both these tennis players got featured in four consecutive major finals that still stand as an open-era record. The two have also formed the doubles team that had claimed 14 grand slam titles and three Olympic gold medals.

#3. Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe

Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe

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John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg ruled the men’s tennis world in the early 80s and their on-court rivalry stands out to be the biggest talking point across every tennis event. During the same period, both these tennis legends appeared quite different from each other in terms of the nature and approach towards the game.

While Borg appeared like a cool and casual person all the time, Mcenroe turned over with all his court-side tactics and tantrums. This came as the biggest reason why this rivalry has been mentioned as ‘fire and ice’ by many sports magazines and portals. They  both have won seven times during 1978 to 1981 and further featured in many sports documentaries and movies made on the sport.

#2. Chris evert and  Martina Navratilova

Chris evert and  Martina Navratilova

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While not many tennis fans may agree to this, the rivalry between Evert and Navratilova is arguably the biggest one in the history of the sport. Once you put both of them on a heated match-up, it’s really hard to choose which one would emerge victorious in the battle.

While Navratilova still has six more victories than her arch-rival in head-to-head battle, you cannot spot the difference between their game play style on the tennis court. Out of the 80 matches played between these two tennis legends, 61 were played as the finals of Random grand slam events and tennis championships.

While Evert ruled the first half of the rivalry in the late 80s, Navratilova proved her prowess in the latter half of the rivalry. Discussing their best Match, the 1985 French Open final turned out to be the most closely fought battle between two of these legendary tennis players.

#1. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal

Over the past decade, if there exists any rivalry that can be claimed as the biggest one in tennis history, it has to be the one between King Roger and Rafael Nadal. Both the legendary players confronted each other 40 times and it’s the Spaniard who leads the head-to-head battle 24-16 beside.

Besides, both of these players have been ranked as the topmost players in ATP listing for six consecutive calendar years. Hence, fans have turned in number every time these two faced each other in an on-court battle.

Unfortunately, both the tennis legends have fallen prey to their random injury issues over the past few years. Yet, their rivalry stands strong as the ‘most debated one’ aka GOAT of Tennis across various fanbase all around the globe.

Final word

Tennis as a sport has evolved big time over the past few decades. Yet, all of these superstars and their rivalries have gone immortal in the hearts and minds of billions of tennis fans around. Stay tuned as we keep bringing more such interesting topics right here for you.


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