A Great Rivalry Can Be A Great Tandem Too?

Jay GalanContributor IJune 18, 2010

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 10:  Tennis legends Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova examine the ring Navratilova receives as she is inducted into the Court of Champions before the start of the men's final between Roger Federer of Switzerland and Andy Roddick during the U.S. Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows Corona Park on September 10, 2006 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Tennis has been exciting and interesting to watch because of the established rivalry. And what's more interesting with a rivalry is the contrast of playing styles as well as personalities possessed by each player. Though, with today's game, it is also interesting to see who can conquer the other.

The great rivalry of Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert, who played 80 times throughout their careers with Navratilova edging Evert 43-37, have teamed up and captured two Grand Slam doubles titles: 1975 French Open and 1976 Wimbledon. Though, it is an unfair alliance as they truly dominated the women's tour in their prime but it is great to see that they were able to combine their contrasting styles to succeed as a doubles team.

Martina Hingis, who will be playing full season of World Team Tennis, is still uncertain about her full comeback on tour but she is taking into consideration to team up with her American rival Lindsay Davenport in playing doubles. They played 25 times with Davenport leading 14 match wins over Hingis, 3-1 in Grand Slam events. What can we expect from this former world No.1s, if they teamed up? Their team will compose of variety with finesse and power. These contrasting styles will bring success and spice up the doubles competition on tour. Can they match the Williams sisters?

Venus Williams and Serena Williams have a storied rivalry of their own. In fact, they played 23 times with Serena leads Venus 13-10. They played each other in Grand Slam finals with Serena winning seven times in 12 meetings over her elder sister Venus. With both have identical playing style, they often overpower, outrun, and outplay their opponents. That is why they are currently the dominant force on women's tour. But when they combine their powers, athleticism, and aggressiveness, they are untouchable. In fact, they already claimed 19 titles on 20 times they teamed up. In Grand Slam finals, they are still undefeated and clinched 12 titles including two Olympic Gold medals. But they haven't achieved yet the Calendar Slam. With their tandem  seemed unmatched, now is their chance to do it, as they won 2010 Australian Open and 2010 French Open doubles titles.

Who could forget the rare battle of four former world No.1s in 2001 Adidas International at Sydney? Monica Seles, teamed up with Hingis for the first time versus the Williams sisters. Of the four Grand Slam champions, Hingis, the only player who did not possessed power, is the only player who achieved Calendar Slam in doubles. In this event, she brilliantly used her doubles ability, with the help of Seles' power to vanquish the Williams sisters. It is an interesting combat and it is probably one of a classic example how contrasting playing styles succeeded over pure power.

A rivalry has been an evidence of one's success on tour. Each one had played fierce competition under real pressure. Each one had brought out the best of the other, to surpass the other. The contrast in the styles of play, as well as in the personalities, had been witnessed and how great a match can be when all of one's abilities are displayed. Of course, they challenged each other to beat one out in order to reach the top and they continue challenging each other that will define their achievements. For some, it has been a huge factor to improve and become a better player.

A rivalry is not characterized on who win or lose, but on how the match played and how the match ended. There have been a number of great storied rivalries and for over the years, we were lucky to perceive that this rivalry has been set aside once in a while to create a remarkable competition as a team. At the end of the day, there is only one winner – it's tennis!