Rivalries are the mothers of legends - Roger So (Rovo intern)
Graf - Seles
If Federer and Nadal completely dominated the mid and late 2000s, Graf and Seles did the same for women's' professional tennis in the early 1990s. Graf reigned as world number one from 1987 to 1990, followed after by Seles was in the years 1991 and 1992. At what could be deemed their peak years in 1992 and 1993, they met in the finals in three of four consecutive Grand Slam tournaments: the 1992 French Open, 1992 Wimbledon and 1993 Australian Open. The rivalry was so intense it had tragically violent results. Three months after her three-set victory over Graf in the 1993 Australian Open, the 19-year-old, then world number one Seles was stabbed in the back during a match in Germany by a a Graf-fanatical-fan-cum-maniac who wanted Graf to regain the top spot. Seles would not play a single match for two-and-a-half years and won just one more Grand Slam title in her career, the 1996 Australian Open.
Even though the two continued to encounter each other in grand slam finals: Seles met Graf in the finals of the 1995 and 1996 U.S. Opens, with Graf winning both, the rivalry and Seles' career did not reach the height they did in 1992 and early 1993.
Willians - Williams
The most intense sibling rivalry I have ever heard/known of - Roger So (Rovo intern)
The rivalry is intense indeed, particularly in the early years of their careers, when for some reason we would like to explore, the gap in performance between the two was rather tight. Venus was ranked world number one in February 2002, only to lose such top spot for the last time when she was ousted by Serena in July 2002.They have played each other 28 times, with Serena winning 17. 9 of their matches were finals of Grand Slam events, with Serena winning 7 of those. They have met four times in grandest of grand slam finals - the Wimbledon finals - with Serena winning three. One particular run makes their rivalry such a spectacle. From the 2002 French Open, they played each other in the finals of four straight Grand Slam events. It's been the only time in history that four consecutive Grand Slam tournaments featured the same two female players!
They are two of the greatest tennis players of all-time from the same family playing in the same era. And with all of their fiery competitiveness on the court, they’re still incredibly close off of it. -Time Magazine
Time Magazine said it.
Evert - Navratilova
In what is to the best of our knowledge the longest rivalry ever to exist in the annals of modern tennis history, Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova played each other 80 times across the span of a 16-year rivalry running from 1973 to 1988! Navratilova holds a very slim 43-37 lead. Harking back to an earlier article which mentioned the importance of stylistic differences as factor in the determining the greatness of a rivalry, it was not just the unparalleled number of meetings that made the rivalry exceptional. Evert was the calm stoic "Ice Maiden," whose high-percentage and stable ground strokes made her virtually unbeatable until Navratilova came onto the scene. In another epic clash of complete contrasts, the defences set up by Evert's measured composed personality and steady backcourt game were punched in by the fiery, emotional and powerful Navratilova, whose exceptionally aggressive serve-and-volley game dominated women's tennis for a decade. Evert and Navratilova accounted for 36 Grand Slams singles titles, 18 apiece, and they were the second and fourth greatest tennis players in the women's game (when measured by the number of grand slam titles won.
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