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What makes on-court rivalries spill over past retirement?

Posted by tennisplanet on October 26, 2010

There are just a handful of sports rivalries that captured worldwide attention even amongst clowns who could barely spell ‘sports’. Which ones come to mind instantly? Ali-Frazier, Magic-Bird, Borg-McEnroe, Sampras-Agassi, Federer-Nadal, Magic-Jordan……..Did I miss any?

Amongst the above listed couples, it appears just ONE duet has taken it past the sports field to keep the rivalry alive, possibly providing a clue as to what triggers that pattern in contrast to the ones that fail to ignite after retirement.

And that will be the Magic-Jordan one, don’t you think? I feel Magic’s five championships motivated Jordan more than any other factor to get to six championships and then fade away. It may also be the main reason Jordan ran around with six fingers around the court after getting there. Wonder why he didn’t produce the act at No. 5.

Magic has his own statue in Los Angeles. Jordan made sure he had his in Chicago. Magic had a late night show that failed allowing Jordan to pass on it. Magic owned 5% of the team he played all his career – the Lakers. Jordan had no such option so he decided to trump Magic and buy the whole freaking team. Magic languished in the prestige of owing a team like Lakers to convince him of being ahead of Jordan but that finally wore down to where he is now looking to buy the Detroit Pistons AFTER relinquishing Laker ownership.

Magic has also established himself as a shrewd and successful businessman owning theaters, gyms, real estate etc. but Jordan owning a team pushed him to follow Jordan and wrest that ‘title’ back – without doubt.

For rock people, most sports pundits rate Jordan as No. 1 (a) and Magic as No. 1 (b) as the most talented to ever play the sport of basketball. When you are as ultra competitive as the two of them, being shrugged behind ANYONE is beyond painful – even by a hair – possibly revealing the secret of extending the fight beyond the field and into the parking lot.

Could it be the proximity of the two rivals on the totem pole vis-a-vis each other? I mean, once the incumbent has established ample credentials to leave no doubt as to who is boss, the need to extend it any further and possibly risk it being overturned or even debated, is ridiculous. All this while it also provides the punching bag little motivation if he is unable to engage the tormentor making the effort scream even louder of the ‘real’ reason for it.

Are you freaking getting this BS?

Bottom line: As things stand today, there appears a very strong possibility that Nadal-Federer rivalry WILL spill over unless Nadal can establish an indisputable lead to thwart Federer from even making an effort for fear of being looked upon as being oozing with inferiority complex.

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9 Responses to “What makes on-court rivalries spill over past retirement?”

  1. Mike said

    Sorry……..Ali-Frazier #1 and you left out the Yankees and Boston…….but great exercise and debate. The Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants rivalry culminating in Bobby Thompson’s HR along with LA Lakers and the Celtics. Showing my age and my passion.

  2. auxdeuxcharlots said

    What about Gretzky-Lemieux ? Does that count ?

  3. grendel said

    You’re forgetting Sampras/Rusedski. That was a mighty rivalry, at least in the head of one of them.
    One day,Rusedski, a Canadian of course, decided he wanted to be British. Now it is well known in the world of tennis that if you wish to succeed, certain primary conditions must be met, and one of the leading ones is that you should not be British. Those who disobey this injunction are apt to be visited by certain gremlins of unknown provenance. The career of Andy Murray nicely illustrates this. All over the world tennis aficianados fall over themselves in learned attempts to elucidate the problem of Andy Murray. Why does a player with such unique gifts always fall at the important hurdle? The correct solution is invariably missed.

    So why should Rusedski have voluntarily taken on such a formidable handicap? Was it arrogance? Ignorance? Stupidity? Who knows, although in his case, it is perhaps of small interest. However, come the big day at Wimbledon, when Rusedski publicly outed himself, who should he be playing but Sampras. Rusedski followed the Wimbledon champion onto court draped in a huge Union Jack, those great teeth of his flashing in the pale sunlight, accompanied by a certain amount of polite applauding. Sampras, unaccustomed to playing second fiddle, looked as if he had one or two thoughts on the matter, but perhaps would confine them to his racket.

    And indeed, after the formalities had been completed and Rusedski was left to contemplate the real meaning of being a British tennis player if even if you weren’t really British, Sampras remarked “well, at least I wiped that smile off his face”.

    In Sampras’ final grand slam at New York, he beat Rusedski, with a little more difficulty it is true, leaving Rusedski to make the immortal pronouncement that Sampras was finished. Naturally, Sampras went on to win the title.

    For years, Rusedski brooded over this cruel treatment, wondering how he might manage to exact some small sliver of revenge. And at last, he has managed it. In a veteran’s tourney, Rusedski has beaten Sampras. The teeth are flashing again, today.

  4. mircea said

    Magic/Jordan rivalry? They played in 1 final for crying out loud and Kareem had retired. Magic/Bird rivalry: yes Indiana State vs. MSU and then 2 finals.

  5. kitty said

    This mosquito man Davydenko is such a run after money boy. There is a ATP tounament going on in st.pertersburg russia and this guy is not playing that but playing in the one going on in France. Bad! no wonder nobody roots for him even after Safin

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