Hello, good afternoon sports fans, it’s me Ayyaz Malik aka The Sports Buff, and I am here with another sporting chat. Ladies and gents, sports fans of all ages, let’s talk about sporting rivalries.
As we know sports games/matches can be contested in different ways through team sports or individual sports such as tennis, snooker and F1. In all of these sports, one thing they have in common is rivalries.
O’Sullivan and Henry for me growing up was a big snooker rivalry and this helped Ronnie O’Sullivan arguably help his game get to the dizzy heights it has done (he is a seven-time world champion).
On the whole, the feud between these two great players, didn’t spill over too much and the competitive nature of the two helped snooker get more main stream. The rivalry between Federer and Nadal too was another superb rivalry.
Filled with respect for each other, Rodger and Rafa broke records in the process as they tried to out done one another on the court in terms of titles and achievements. With F1, Hamilton and Rosberg as well as Hamilton and Verstappen have been notable rivalries.
Unlike the other two examples, F1 in this current era doesn’t seem to have too many rivalries, as it’s arguably been a bit one-sided due to Lewis Hamilton’s dominance. Rivalries on the whole, with the examples I have listed have helped the sport, but there have been some feuds, that have been.
Tsitipas and Kyrgios in times at times was threatening to turn really sour, which is not the best look for tennis. O’Sullivan and Henry in one of their matches saw The Rocket walk out mid-match, but to be fair that was more Ronnie taking aim at the authorities rather than having an issue with Stephen Henry.
There is of course team rivalries to consider, AC Milan and Inter. Manchester United and Manchester City or Liverpool Barcelona and Real Madrid as well as Boca Junior and River Plate.
These matches have lead to some very heated clashes between players and supporters, which is clearly a downside to a sporting rivalry. Footballers Cristiano Ronaldo and Lional Messi being rivals, helped usher in an unprecedented goal scoring era. Messi scored 91 goals in a calendar year and CR7 scoring 50 goals or more in six consecutive seasons which was bonkers.
But with this rivalry arguably fizzling out as both of these footballing gladiators will be retiring sooner rather than later, football has a void for something of this nature. Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe have been seen as two men to pick up that baton.
We can’t forget cricket rivalries too from Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis as well as Stuart Broad and James Anderson who had and in the case of Anderson and Broad have rivalry that helped the team get better.
There have been cases of team rivalry too, Pakistan vs India as well as England vs Australia, which of course lead to the iconic Ashes trophy that’s contested for, every two years. The Stuart Broad not walking when he was clearly out in an Ashes and the square up (I am sure there is many between the sides) of Shahid Afridi and Gautham Gambhir has shown the arguably uglier side of the gentleman’s game.
Through out this piece, the aim has been trying to show the good and bad of sporting rivalries, but what do you think does rivalries help sport or hinder it? Have we missed any other example of sporting rivalries? Let us know in the comments.
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