Here’s our top 5:
5. Justine Henin vs Kim Clijsters
Belgium had a relatively low profile in the tennis world, until the emergence of Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters who engaged in a lengthy rivalry that spanned 25 matches in a 12 year period. Their rivalry encapsulated the tennis world with the graceful Clijsters coming from a Flemish-speaking region of Belgium duelling with the gutsy Henin heralding from a French-speaking area of the country. The two ladies carried out a multitude of entertaining encounters with Clijsters leading the head to head with 13 wins to Henin’s 12.
4. Pete Sampras vs Andre Agassi
An all American rivalry that took place during the 1990’s, with two of the nicest guys in tennis carrying out an intriguing battle. The players met 34 times with Sampras winning 20 matches to Agassi’s 14 and their rivalry will be remembered for their dramatically different playing styles. Sampras was all about serve and volley, power and precision whilst Agassi attempted to be the perfect foil with lightening quick movement and dynamic baseline hitting.
3. John McEnore vs Bjorn Borg
One of the most famous sporting rivalries that took place between 1978 and 1981. The pair only met 14 times on the professional circuit but their contrasting playing and off-court styles made for compelling viewing. McEnroe with his brash, all guns blazing approach to the game, pitting his wits against the calm and measured approach of the elegant Borg was fascinating for the watching public. Their overall head to head record was 7 wins a piece and their two Wimbledon finals have gone down in tennis folklore.
2. Chris Evert vs Martina Navratilova
Undoubtedly, the longest and most fierce rivalry in the women’s game took place between the American sweet heart, Chris Evert and the Czech superstar Martina Navratilova. They engaged in a staggering fifteen-year rivalry in the 70’s and 80’s and played against each other on a remarkable, 80 separate occasions, with Navratilova leading the overall head-to-head record with 43 wins to 37. Both ladies won 21 grand slam titles during their career and their rivalry was an inspiration to the next generation of female tennis players.
1. Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal
Many consider the Federer-Nadal rivalry to be the greatest in tennis history and has been a huge part of both men’s careers. The two men dominated the world-rankings from the mid 2000’s until the emergence of Novak Djokovic at the turn of the decade. Nadal leads their storied rivalry 18-10 but their fascinating duels (most notably the mind-blowing 2008 Wimbledon final), have significantly raised the profile of tennis around the world. Their relationship is personal and professional and they respect each other greatly and appreciate the impact the two of them have had on the modern game.