Great Tennis Rivalries, an Overview
Through time there are always a few brave men and women who seem to be able to elevate their performances to new, lofty heights, challenging old records, and setting new precedents and competitive tennis is certainly no exception to the rule.
Since the beginning of time, there have been extraordinary rivalries between players who very nearly match each others strengths and weaknesses and we take a look at some of the rivalries that have put professional tennis firmly on the map as one of the preferred sports to watch and wager upon.
- Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert
- Bjorn Borg and Jimmy Connors
- Steffi Graf and Monica Seles
- Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer
The One-on-One Battle for Supremacy
What makes competitive tennis so intriguing is it is a one-on-one clash, a battle between foes, and only hard work, plenty of perspiration and sublime talent can separate the men from the boys. We get to know each player intimately, their personal lives, injury scares and how they manage themselves in both victory and in the despair of loss and we get to love or despise these players according to how they present themselves and how they play the game.
Deadliest of Rivalries – Seles Stabbed
Possibly one of the deadliest rivalries was between the grunting ‘babe in the woods’, Monica Seles who crashed onto the international tennis scene with only one challenge in mind – to dethrone the unequivocal Queen of women’s tennis, Steffi Graf.
It was a rivalry that set the world alight and seduced thousands of new fans to women’s tennis but it was also a rivalry that almost cost the fiery Yugoslav her life – she left professional tennis prematurely after an overzealous Graf fan, Gunther Parche, famously stabbed her during a match!
Viewership and Attendance Figures influenced by on-court Rivalry
For many years tennis, men’s tennis in particular, has been sorely lacking in rivalry and this had a marked influence on the attendance and viewership of the game but since the rise and recent fall of the Swiss Maestro, Roger Federer, and his intense competition with his prime adversary, Spain’s Rafael Nadal, tennis has again become one of the most popular sporting codes on earth.
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