Tennis being a one to one sport often involves players getting aggressive on the court. This sometimes means a rivalry which was built on the court might spill over off the court. At times players involved in such heated moments become rivals away from the game also. We look back at 3 such on court rivalries which later boiled over away from the game also.
The duo was among the finest players of American tennis in 1970s and 1980s. Jimmy Connors was already an established player when John McEnroe burst on the scene. The former was also known for his anger bursts on the court as much as his grinding power and will to win.
Connors dominated initial part of their rivalry winning 6 of the first 7 matches. However McEnroe would come back strongly and was able to finish on the higher winning 20 of their 34 total matches played and losing 14. The two had many bitter on court moments and were not very fond of each other in their playing days.
They are two of the greatest players to have picked the tennis racquet. Roger and Novak had some bitter moments in the early part of their rivalry. Federer was often critical of Djokovic’s time-outs and retirements during the matches. He also would raise questions about Novak’s on court behavior particularly the Serb’s winning celebration which Roger called disrespectful to the opponent.
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The Serb in return did question Federer at times and even doubting his credentials as the greatest player ever. Even Novak’s father was at times critical of Roger calling him ‘a great player but not a good human being’. The Serb currently seems to have an upper hand in this much anticipated rivalry leading by 26 wins to 23 losses.
The flag bearers of American tennis in the 1990s struggled to co-exist and even get along even playing together for almost a decade and a half. Pete Sampras was the most successful player of his generation and won 14 Slams. Not far behind was the flashy Andre Agassi who was known also for his superstar like status.
The calm and composed Sampras who was more focus on winning then being a star found himself and loggerheads with his co-patriot and his flashy ways. Agassi known extremely talented was temperamental on the court and this did not augur well the Pete. Even after the two had long retired, the difference of opinion and friction was notable whenever the two were together.