These days the types of feuds we had in the 70s and 80s are long gone, but a few flare ups are inevitable. Some players are known to rile opponents like Radek Stepanek and Leander Paes. Even the slow play of Nadal can be construed as gamesmanship but he’s certainly a gentleman.
Here’s my pick of the most recent feuds for your enjoyment:
1. Guillermo Coria vs. Gaston Gaudio
Much has been written about these two Gauchos, including myself, but this was a particularly bitter rivalry and one which left both players scarred. Read more about Coria and Gaudio.
“Let’s be truthful, this isn’t a team, because there’s someone who makes decisions choosing the best for himself. I can understand that a player gets tired and decides to rest before Paris. I also did so on Tuesday against the Czechs but not in the most important match of all. Coria and I were the best team and if we were a real team this wouldn’t have happened.” Gaston Gaudio
2. Lleyton Hewitt vs. Argentina
It’s a good thing that Australia and Argentina are geographically a long way away. Hewitt managed to get into scrapes with Coria, Chela and Nalbandian to name but 3. Both nations tangled in Davis Cup, which ensured the rivalries remained stoked.
“He was grabbing his private parts at me, numerous times, and I asked him if he had an issue” [on playing Coria in the Davis Cup] Lleyton Hewitt
“Lleyton cheers for other people’s mistakes and is very aggressive. It is very difficult not to feel provoked. But as a person, I would rather not win a single tournament than be like Lleyton.” Guilermo Coria
“You really feel like killing him”, says Argentine player Guillermo Coria. “As a person, I would rather not win a single tournament in my life than be like him”. Compatriot David Nalbandian later reveals that “nobody [on tour] is a friend of him”.
3. Leander Paes vs. John McEnroe
This one all kicked off at a World Team Tennis match. It is meant to be a bit of fun, but when these two competitive freaks got involved, there was not much fun to be had apart from seeing them come to blows.
4. Tim Henman vs. David Nalbandian
Henman liked to market himself as a ‘Gentleman’ but Nalbandian knew different. Whatever the truth may be, something seriously irritated David about Tim.
“All this selling himself as a gentleman is not true. He is the worst rubbish there is” David Nalbandian
5. Wayne Odesnik vs. US Players
Not only does Odesnik get caught smuggling growth hormone, he seemed fairly unapologetic about the whole affair, much to the discontent of his fellow US players.
“There’s nothing worse than that, that’s just plain cheating, and they should throw him out of tennis. There’s just no room for it.” Andy Roddick
6. Donald Y0ung vs. USTA
When Young failed to get a wild card into the French Open, he went on Twitter and cut loose on the USTA including Pat McEnroe. Not a smart move if you aren’t backing it up with your play.
”(Expletive) USTA! Their full of (expletive)! They have (expletive) me for the last time!” Donald Young
”I’m offended for people on our team that have worked very hard, when he said what he said, it was taken quite personally by members of the player development team. I think Donald should apologize for what he said. At that point, we can all move on.” Patrick McEnroe
7. James Blake vs. Vince Spadea
A war of words and Davis Cup favoritism caused a rocky relationship here. Spadea slammed Blake in his authobiography with Blake shooting back his own below the belt comments.
“If you read it, you must have been one of the 10 books he sold.”James Blake
8. Daniel Koellerer vs. Everyone in Tennis
Where to begin? Look on YouTube for Koellerer moments and you will see. Notable feuds involved Stefan Koubek and Oscar Hernandez.
9. Lleyton Hewitt vs. James Blake
Hewitt got in trouble with his outburst to a line judge during a match with Blake that veered on the racial side. They made up but I don’t think they’re exchanging Christmas cards to be honest.
“look at him and you tell me what the similarity is” Lleyton Hewitt
“It was a conversation between me and the umpire. I come from a multi-cultured country. I’m not racial in any way. People can have their own opinions, there was nothing racial said out there. You can all think what you want. Lleyton Hewitt
10. Thomas Muster vs. Andre Agassi
Muster a class-A agitator on the tour, tried to dislodge Andre’s hairpiece in a French Open match, which of course Andre took issue with. Andre bore grudges and Muster loved it.