Top 10: Tennis Rivalries in Men’s and Women’s Singles

LeTune June 22, 2009 1

Tennis is a sport of fierce competition and outstanding skill: A few players fighting for the ranking as the best tennis player in the world. And as the annual and legendary Grand Slam tournament Wimbledon 2009 (The Championships) takes off, we look back at the top 10 tennis rivalries that have faced off with the whole world watching.

10. Rafael Nadal Vs. Roger Federer (2004 to present)

Swizz tennis wizz kid Roger Federer seemed, if only for a brief moment in time (nine months in 2004-2005, 2 Grand Slam titles) to have the tennis world in his hands. He was however soon accompanied and beaten in straight sets in March 2004, Miami Masters, by the 17 year old, Nr#34 in rankings, Spaniard Rafael Nadal in the fight for first ranking. A battle that has not yet to subside. Chances are we will see these two rivals in the Wimbledon 2009 final; a game foreseen to go down in history as legendary.

Federer vs. Nadal First Game, 3rd Round Miami Masters 2004

9. Serena Williams – Venus Williams (1998 to present)

In the late 1990’s the world of womens singles tennis was taken by storm as two sisters were crushing all competition. Serena and Venus Williams had all but to defeat each other. At the moment counting head to head games, the two sisters have 10 winnings each. The last game they played against each other were in the 2008 Wimbledon final. We can only hope for a replay this year.

8. Andre Agassi Vs. Pete Sampras

Perhaps the greatest tennis rivalry in Men’s singles of the 90’s. Meeting for the first time in the US Open 1990 final, Sampras and Agassi met a total of 34 times between 1989 and 2002. Sampras holding top rakning 286 consecutive weeks and Agassi 101 weeks. By the end of their rivalry Sampras was accounted 20 winnings and Agassi 14 winning. When talking about modern tennis, Sampras vs. Agassi is often referred to a the top tennis rivalry by experts.

The incredible tiebreak Sampras Vs. Agassi

7. Ivan Lendl Vs. Jimmy Connors (1979 to 1992)


Playing alltogether 35 games, 7 of which were finals, over a 14 year period, when tennis was growing ever so popular, Lendl and Connors were two giants. Ivan Lendl won 22 games; though who was better is perhaps impossible to determine.

Ivan Lendl Vs. Jimmy Connors Wimbledon 1984

6. Lindsay Davenport Vs. Martina Hingis (1995 to 2006)

In regards to women’s singles tennis, one specific rivalry stands out. American tennis player Lindsay Davenport and Swizz tennis player Martina Hingis met 25 times over more than a decade, battling for top ranking and tournament placements. The current score in head to hear wins stands 14-11 to Davenport.

5. Steffi Graf Vs. Garbiela Sabatini (1982 to 1999)

4. Steffi Graf Vs. Monica Seles (1989 to 1999)

Two of the most distinctive and victorious female tennis playes in history were undoubtedly Steffi Graf and Monica Seles. Whenever they played, the game consisted of Seles two fisted forehand and backhand and Graf’s forceful serve, graceful backhand slice and killer forehand. Seles and Graf dominated women’s tennis through out the 80’s and 90’s meeting 15 times, with the current score 10-5 to Steffi Graf.

3. Jimmy Connors Vs. John McEnroe (1977 to 1999)

2. Boris Becker Vs. Stefan Edberg (1984 to 1996)


At a time when tennis was become more and more popular, a Swede and a German dominated the global tennis courts. Fighting for first place in all the Grand Slam’s Stefan Edberg and Boris Becker were fierce rivalries during their careers. With huge respect for one another these two players played some of the best games the tennis world has ever seen.  Meeting 32 times, Becker still holds the lead with 25 wins over Edberg’s 10.

1. Björn Borg Vs. John McEnroe (1978 to 1981)


Last but not least, when making a toplist on tennis rivalries, not only can you help but include McEnroe twice – there is simply no greater rivalry than the legendary Björn Borg Vs. John McEnroe. They differed in style, personality and attitude on the court; McEnroe being the colorful, loud American and Borg being the calm, silent Scandinavian.

Battling it out 14 times during their career, there are few games that is not remember and celebrated as gigantic. Up til this day, in head to head winnings, there is still a tie betwen McEnroe and Borg.

Famous 1980 Wimbledon Tie-Break McEnroe Vs. Borg

One Comment »

  1. Frank June 13, 2010 at 9:29 am -

    No Chris Evert vs Martina Navratilova?
    I think it a best