A new, great Rivalry

Author: Aiden Liebenberg   Date Posted:21 August 2023 

Blog Post: A new, great Rivalry

You can forgive tennis fans for feeling some sense of sadness over the past year. The retirement of the swiss maestro Roger, coupled with the injury riddled Rafa, has seen tennis lose one of the sport’s greatest rivalries. And with few posing a true threat to the ever-present Djokovic, the competitive intrigue at the top-level of the game may have dropped a notch for some, begging the question; 

When will tennis have another great rivalry? 

The emergence of next-gen players has left much to be desired over the last 5-10 years. The likes of Tsitsipas, Thiem, Zverev and Medvedev have all had major success, but have rarely reached the pinnacle at grand slam level, with just two of the four men obtaining major wins. Outside of the majors, the four have all struggled to compete on a regular basis with the ATP benchmark, with a combined 16-35 record against Djokovic. 

That’s why, over the past few years, the competitive landscape has been revitalized, with the entry of the latest wave of next-gen stars. Players like Sinner, Rune, and Alcaraz, have disrupted the established order, winning some of the world’s biggest tournaments, at masters and major level. In fact, the three youngsters are all ranked inside the world’s top six players at the time of writing. The one player that has set themselves apart however, is 20-year old Carlos Alcaraz. In just three years the Spaniard has jumped from outside the world’s top 200 to number 1, with two major wins, and ten ATP titles. What’s more impressive is Alcaraz’s ability to challenge the game’s greatest, with wins over Nadal and Djokovic before the age of 20. And what’s most exciting for tennis fans, a new, generational rivalry.

After just four matches, it is safe to say that Alcaraz vs Djokovic is one of tennis’ greatest rivalries. An all-time great Wimbledon final, with the dethroning of 7-time champion at the hand of Alcaraz, followed by a 3 hour 49 minute epic in Cincinnati, has quickly seen the match-up become the most anticipated one in current history. It is safe to say that tennis has its newest great rivalry, and we didn’t need to wait long at all. 

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