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Poll: The Greatest Modern Rivalry
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The Greatest Rivalries
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Kieran Offline
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The Greatest Rivalries
Which do you think is the greatest of the modern rivalries, in terms of great matches, the contrast between both players and the historical significance?
11-Aug-2013 11:40 AM
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britbox Offline
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RE: The Greatest Rivalries
Lendl/Mac
11-Aug-2013 11:41 AM
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Kieran Offline
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RE: The Greatest Rivalries
(11-Aug-2013 11:41 AM)britbox Wrote:  Lendl/Mac

That was quick, brother! Lendl Mac was a great one, and possibly an ancient rivalries poll could run, pitting those four giants of Borg, Connors, Lendl, and McEnroe - a similar bunch of rivals to today!
11-Aug-2013 11:43 AM
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britbox Offline
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RE: The Greatest Rivalries
Yeah, could write a book on those four-way rivalries. Not too dissimilar to today I guess.
11-Aug-2013 11:55 AM
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Fiero425 Offline
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RE: The Greatest Rivalries
(11-Aug-2013 11:55 AM)britbox Wrote:  Yeah, could write a book on those four-way rivalries. Not too dissimilar to today I guess.

For the men, there are so many, but hitting the women first (no pun intended), Martina vs Chris is the consummate rivalry with a contrast of style, longevity, and number of matches! You can't outdo 80 contests; all in the quarters, semi's, & finals! Martina rushed the net relentlessly while Chris did her thing from the baseline! Navratilova got off to a bad start (23-7) due to bad habits, lack of conditioning, and probably being in awe of Evert, but she turned it all around in '81 racing past her to overtake the lead, ending in '88 with 43 wins to 37 losses! That's including 2 or 3 spankings on Evert's beloved clay; 6-2, 6-0 at WTA Championship and 6-3, 6-1 at the FO; both in '84! This is off the top of my head, but I'm pretty sure about the dates, scores, and number of matches played! Martina became the GOAT through her run in the mid 80's where no one could touch her! The only one with more talent, but was a headcase was Hana Mandlikova with them splitting Wimbledon matches; Hana in '81 semi and Martina taking '86 final!

"Kneel before your master! Fool; You Are No Longer My Equal! I AM More Than Man, More Than LIFE; I AM A GOD!" Skeletor to He-Man in Masters Of The Universe
11-Aug-2013 12:34 PM
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DarthFed Offline
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RE: The Greatest Rivalries
If you are going by the general public it is probably Fed-Rafa. By any reasonable measure the greatest rivalry among the top 4 is Rafa-Nole and after that I'd say Fed-Nole and then Fed-Rafa. And note I'm talking historically what are the best rivalries. If we are talking present I'd rank them as follows:

1. Nole-Rafa
2. Nole-Murray
3. Nole-Fed
4. Fed-Murray
5. Rafa-Murray
6. Rafa-Fed
11-Aug-2013 12:48 PM
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Fiero425 Offline
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RE: The Greatest Rivalries
I won't be as sure of the numbers for the men as I was with Martina and Chris, but the biggest rivalries were Laver v Rosewall, Borg v Connors, Connors v McEnroe, McEnroe v Borg, Lendl v McEnroe, Sampras v Agassi, & Federer v Nadal! With Bjorn single-handedly stopping Jimmy from winning 4 or 5 Wimbledons, Connors returned the favor at the USO! Lendl started well against McEnroe, then the tide turned for a couple years in '83 & '84, but after that Ivan owned John and thrashed him several times; a few at the USO! Borg and McEnroe had the most complete rivalry; same as Martina/Evert with net rusher vs a baseliner! Sampras and Agassi's rivalry really was more a product of wishful thinking with Pete winning most of their major encounters at Wimbledon and the USO! Agassi got a couple; one at the FO and that one AO final was played with a heavy heart as Pete's coach had collapsed a few days before, crashing through a glass cocktail table! He barely got by Courier a couple days before in 5 sets, actually breaking down in tears! We don't know how many matches were played by Rosewall and Laver, but that supposedly was the consummate rivalry going back to amateur days!

"Kneel before your master! Fool; You Are No Longer My Equal! I AM More Than Man, More Than LIFE; I AM A GOD!" Skeletor to He-Man in Masters Of The Universe
(This post was last modified: 11-Aug-2013 12:59 PM by Fiero425.)
11-Aug-2013 12:55 PM
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britbox Offline
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RE: The Greatest Rivalries
The Chrissie/Nav rivalry was top draw as Fiero mentioned. If we are just talking about the men, then I still go with Lendl/Mac Borg/Mac was cut short... I'm in the minority where I don't believe McEnroe ran Borg out of tennis. Borg had bigger issues than JPM.

Borg/Connors was good. Borg mastered Connors for a time on the pro tour, but Connors won a lot of high stakes money matches just after Borg officially retired.

Rosewall/Laver was a good mix.

Didn't feel Sampras/Agassi was a great rivalry. Sampras on his day, was the superior player, no doubt.
(This post was last modified: 11-Aug-2013 12:59 PM by britbox.)
11-Aug-2013 12:58 PM
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Fiero425 Offline
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RE: The Greatest Rivalries
(11-Aug-2013 12:58 PM)britbox Wrote:  The Chrissie/Nav rivalry was top draw as Fiero mentioned. If we are just talking about the men, then I still go with Lendl/Mac Borg/Mac was cut short... I'm in the minority where I don't believe McEnroe ran Borg out of tennis. Borg had bigger issues than JPM.

Borg/Connors was good. Borg mastered Connors for a time on the pro tour, but Connors won a lot of high stakes money matches just after Borg officially retired.

Rosewall/Laver was a good mix.

Didn't feel Sampras/Agassi was a great rivalry. Sampras on his day, was the superior player, no doubt.

I agree with you about Borg retiring! It's so overstated John single-handedly sent Bjorn packing! That makes no sense! No one in modern time had to deal with so many rivals, winning so many big matches, and for a time being untouchable at most majors! Winning 5 Wimbledons on that stuff they called called grass, from the baseline, with a wood racket made Borg the King until Sampras and Federer came along! He was even better on clay winning 6 French Opens, 2 and 4 straight, often taking a Wimbledon with little or no time to prepare! He also won the old World triple once with an Italian Open, FO, & Wimbledon in '78! No matter what Rafa and Roger do from here on out, they'll never come close to the record of Borg! The level of concentration it took to compete at that level over the mid and late '70's is what truly wore him down! People don't remember that even though he retired at 26, he had been a playing pro since he was 15, elevated to a seeded player at Wimbledon due to the men's ATP boycott in '73! He was injured a couple times at the USO which hurt his legacy; a bad thumb which made him lose his racket on the serve and a bum shoulder where he had to retire early on vs Stockton who was lobbing him relentlessly! The true upset only came once against Roscoe Tanner blasting serves in a late night match in '79! (Still all off the top of my head)

"Kneel before your master! Fool; You Are No Longer My Equal! I AM More Than Man, More Than LIFE; I AM A GOD!" Skeletor to He-Man in Masters Of The Universe
(This post was last modified: 11-Aug-2013 01:25 PM by Fiero425.)
11-Aug-2013 01:21 PM
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Kieran Offline
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RE: The Greatest Rivalries
Yep, Roscoe beat Bjorn in four in the quarters of the US Open in 1979. Interestingly, all the guys he beat in the Wimbledon finals from 1978-1980 avenged those losses at Flushing Meadows, all Americans and all lefties: Connors, tanner and McEnroe.

I think it was that he'd burnt himself out and Mac was the straw that broke the camels back. He wanted to continue, but at a reduced schedule, and the ITF wouldn't allow that, which is staggeringly shameful in hindsight (and was, at the time). The effort required to hunt down Mac was too much.

In a way, Rafa is similar: he had Federer at the beginning of his career, aged 17, and now 10 years later he's battling Novak. Contrarily, the 7 month break may have had a single benefit: it recharged his batteries, Risky business taking time off: Borg attempted many comebacks, but all half-hearted affairs, as if to prove to himself he was right to retire, in the first place...
11-Aug-2013 01:32 PM
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Kieran Offline
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RE: The Greatest Rivalries
(11-Aug-2013 12:48 PM)DarthFed Wrote:  If you are going by the general public it is probably Fed-Rafa. By any reasonable measure the greatest rivalry among the top 4 is Rafa-Nole and after that I'd say Fed-Nole and then Fed-Rafa. And note I'm talking historically what are the best rivalries. If we are talking present I'd rank them as follows:

1. Nole-Rafa
2. Nole-Murray
3. Nole-Fed
4. Fed-Murray
5. Rafa-Murray
6. Rafa-Fed

That's a good post, Darth. And I agree, the romantic says that it's Rafa v Roger, but practically speaking, Roger hasn't beaten Rafa at a slam since 2007 and so there's an inevitability to their big matches: Rafa wins them.

With Novak, it's hard to guess who'll win, even on clay, even on hards. The unpredictability is the attraction. And of course, now they're historical rivals, denying each other space on the podium and nicking wins that keep the other from slipping further up the greasy pole of greatness. If they met at Flushing Meadows, you wouldn't be shocked if either of them won.

The Novak-Roger rivalry probably has more GS matches than any other, but Nole was young when this begun and now Roger is getting on. They're not meeting in the middle so much. But even still, this one might carry most spite and Roger has beaten him on all four slams, and cruelly exposed him in Paris in 2011 and Wimbledon last year. Novak has those exhilarating US Open victories in the semis, which kind of scrubbed the memory of Roger's tweener in 2009.

With Murray, I think his rivalry with Nole is the only valid one: he's gotten results against Rafa and Roger, but Novak is his direct contemporary and they've written a few chapters in the slams which are taking glory off each other and developing into something big. It reminds me of the Becker-Edberg rivalry, in the sense that it was small town as opposed to the Big City rivalries of Lendl-Mac or Fedal...
12-Aug-2013 06:37 AM
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RE: The Greatest Rivalries
(12-Aug-2013 06:37 AM)Kieran Wrote:  
(11-Aug-2013 12:48 PM)DarthFed Wrote:  If you are going by the general public it is probably Fed-Rafa. By any reasonable measure the greatest rivalry among the top 4 is Rafa-Nole and after that I'd say Fed-Nole and then Fed-Rafa. And note I'm talking historically what are the best rivalries. If we are talking present I'd rank them as follows:

1. Nole-Rafa
2. Nole-Murray
3. Nole-Fed
4. Fed-Murray
5. Rafa-Murray
6. Rafa-Fed

That's a good post, Darth. And I agree, the romantic says that it's Rafa v Roger, but practically speaking, Roger hasn't beaten Rafa at a slam since 2007 and so there's an inevitability to their big matches: Rafa wins them.

With Novak, it's hard to guess who'll win, even on clay, even on hards. The unpredictability is the attraction. And of course, now they're historical rivals, denying each other space on the podium and nicking wins that keep the other from slipping further up the greasy pole of greatness. If they met at Flushing Meadows, you wouldn't be shocked if either of them won.

The Novak-Roger rivalry probably has more GS matches than any other, but Nole was young when this begun and now Roger is getting on. They're not meeting in the middle so much. But even still, this one might carry most spite and Roger has beaten him on all four slams, and cruelly exposed him in Paris in 2011 and Wimbledon last year. Novak has those exhilarating US Open victories in the semis, which kind of scrubbed the memory of Roger's tweener in 2009.

With Murray, I think his rivalry with Nole is the only valid one: he's gotten results against Rafa and Roger, but Novak is his direct contemporary and they've written a few chapters in the slams which are taking glory off each other and developing into something big. It reminds me of the Becker-Edberg rivalry, in the sense that it was small town as opposed to the Big City rivalries of Lendl-Mac or Fedal...

Good post, the Fed-Djokovic rivalry is definitely the most heated of them today. I still don't get the sense they like each other at all. Ironically the matches have gotten better even with Fed mostly getting worse year after year. A lot of their matches were sloppy from both ends up until 2011.

I think Murray has done enough against Roger to call it a legit rivalry, and another one where they don't necessarily like each other that much.
12-Aug-2013 07:26 AM
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RE: The Greatest Rivalries
the only reason i've chosen fed-djokovic rivalry over rafa-djokovic is because of this :

Fed vs Nole match has a lot of variety. A lot of volleying/dropshot/slices adds an extra spice to the game. Similarly, Fed-Murray matches are also quite fun to watch..
Whereas Rafa-nole matches brings out the grinder inside them. Their matches are long ( not complaining Tongue ) & test the stamina of both players, but it lacks variety as both players are comfortable at the baseline.

Fed-rafa matches might be legendary, but lets face the fact - Rafa clearly owns fed at GS. He hasn't beaten rafa since 2007. I wish it wasn't this lopsided :/

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12-Aug-2013 08:12 AM
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RE: The Greatest Rivalries
Good post, Ashwin, and I agree, the Fed-Djoker rivalry contains a seemingly genuine dislike on both parts. Rafa and Novak was simmering that way - the post-match hug gradually faded as Novak won more and more in 2011, but it's getting reinstated as Rafa clicks on the W's...
12-Aug-2013 09:23 AM
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Clay Death Offline
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RE: The Greatest Rivalries
I agree with general ashwin:

clay warrior vs the great swiss assassin

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12-Aug-2013 10:08 AM
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RE: The Greatest Rivalries
(12-Aug-2013 09:23 AM)Kieran Wrote:  Good post, Ashwin, and I agree, the Fed-Djoker rivalry contains a seemingly genuine dislike on both parts. Rafa and Novak was simmering that way - the post-match hug gradually faded as Novak won more and more in 2011, but it's getting reinstated as Rafa clicks on the W's...

Shows who the better loser is.

I do think even when they don't care for each other, I think novak and rafa have more respect for each other in their rivaly than novak-fed. I bet no shot has pleased nole more than the 2011 match point return winner. Few shots in recent years probably haunt fed as much. Thinking about that point does put in perspective how much worse this year has been for roger than 2011.
12-Aug-2013 10:08 AM
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DarthFed Offline
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RE: The Greatest Rivalries
Being a good loser has been part of Nole's problem over the years. I hate the post match hugs and I bet Rafa grins every time he receives one because it indicates he won and it also shows that the matches aren't life and death to Nole as it should be.
12-Aug-2013 10:53 AM
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RE: The Greatest Rivalries
matches are not life and death.

and nole just happens to be gracious in defeat.

he did not become #1 on the planet by being a good loser.

what are you smoking darth fed? it must be good.

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12-Aug-2013 10:57 AM
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DarthFed Offline
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RE: The Greatest Rivalries
He became #1 by being an amazing player, there are tons of amazing players who do not have the greatest of attitudes. Michael Jordan is the greatest competitor I've seen in any sport, he wanted to embarrass you, there were no friends on the court, being just a great player was not his goal. He treated the games as life and death even though they are not.
12-Aug-2013 11:34 AM
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RE: The Greatest Rivalries
I agree with Darth, actually. Novak has that Becker-esque quality of being able to tale defeat with a grin, and I think it's because he has this enormous appetite to be liked. Neither Federer or Rafa accept defeat so graciously...
12-Aug-2013 11:36 AM
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