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Top five rivalries to watch in men's singles tennis in 2024

Published at :February 16, 2024 at 11:11 PM
Modified at :February 17, 2024 at 1:26 PM
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(Courtesy : AFP)

Mohammed Fazeel

Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz feature among top rivalries.

Tennis has captivated fans with numerous memorable rivalries throughout the open era and even before. Iconic duels such as Steffi Graf vs Monica Seles, Rafael Nadal vs Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic vs Roger Federer, and the battles between the Williams sisters, Serena and Venus, come to mind. These matches, characterized by their gladiatorial nature, have enthralled audiences as each competitor fights for every point.

As we cautiously step into the 2024 tennis season, there’s no doubt that these rivalries will reignite with fervor. These athletes will be eager to add more trophies to their collections and further cement their places in history.

This article will delve into five ATP tour rivalries that are poised to shape the 2024 season.

Rivalries to watch in men’s singles tennis in 2024

Novak Djokovic vs Carlos Alcaraz (H2H: 3-2)

The captivating rivalry between the top two tennis players, Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz took flight at the Mutua Madrid Open in 2022. In a surprising turn of events, Alcaraz triumphed over Djokovic, marking their first encounter with an unexpected victory for the Spaniard. However, the Serbian quickly adapted to his young opponent’s style, securing victories in three out of their four face-offs in 2023.

Their thrilling performances, spanning from the clay courts of Roland Garros to the hard courts of Turin at the Nitto ATP Finals, have enthralled spectators worldwide, making each match a memorable event.

Despite Djokovic’s 3-2 lead in their head-to-head record, Alcaraz managed to stun the tennis world by defeating Djokovic at the 2023 Wimbledon Finals

Novak Djokovic vs  Jannik Sinner (H2H: 4-2)

With all the attention focused on the Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz rivalry, it was easy to look past another worthwhile contest. That between Novak Djokovic and Jannik Sinner. A rivalry that came into the spotlight at the ATP Masters in Monte Carlo, blooming with back-to-back meetings at Wimbledon in 2022 and 2023.

The late-round Wimbledon meetings were followed by three showdowns in quick succession towards the season’s end. Sinner finally prevailed over Djokovic in the round-robin stage of the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals only to fall to the Serbian in the finals. Djokovic made sure there were no hiccups to him winning a fifth straight Nitto ATP finals when he met Sinner in the finals. 

But the Italian made amends by beating Djokovic at Malaga. Sinner was instrumental in defeating Serbia in the Davis Cup semifinals and helping Italy lift their first Davis Cup in nearly half a century against the 2022 finalists, Australia. 

Carlos Alcaraz vs Daniil Medvedev (H2H: 3-2)

The two first clashed in 2021 when Alcaraz turned pro in the round of 64 at Wimbledon. By the time the duo played next in 2023, Alcaraz had on display all the confidence of a seasoned player, winning three of their four encounters last season. The wins for the Spaniard came at Indian Wells, Wimbledon, and the Nitto ATP Finals. Medvedev’s sole triumph against Alcaraz was in the US Open semifinals, preventing a rematch of the Wimbledon final between Alcaraz and Djokovic. 

Where the Russian goes, the drama does follow, with the latest being in Paris during the Paris Masters, where he not so discretely showed the boisterous French crowd exactly what he thought of them. One can expect that the rivalry with the Spaniard will yield the same fireworks in 2024. 

Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Andrey Rublev (H2H: 6-5)

Heading into 2022, Tsitsipas and Rublev were even at 4-4 in their head-to-head meetings. Their very first off was at the 2018 Next Gen ATP Finals, with the Greeks prevailing in their semifinal encounter and going on to win the event. 

Fast-forward to 2022, and the duo have met at two grand slams, a similar number of ATP Masters, and a handful of Nitto ATP Finals. The last time they met at the 2022 Nitto ATP Finals, Rublev won the clash in three sets. There was some bitterness at the post-match conference, with Tsitsipas claiming Rublev won “with the few tools he has.”

Despite having met two grand slams and an equal number of Masters 1000s, Tsitsipas and Rublev are still chasing their first Grand Slam title. With the big three nearly out of the picture, the ongoing season presents a prime opportunity for them to run deep in the majors and renew their rivalry. 

Casper Ruud vs Holger Rune (H2H: 5-1)

The three-year-old rivalry between the two Scandinavian rivals is firmly in Casper Ruud’s favor at 5-1.  It wasn’t until the 2022 Roland Garros quarterfinals that Rune managed to take a set off Ruud. The late-night French Open quarterfinal match in 2022 was played in a near-empty stadium, thanks to a late start. Those who stayed were witness to a tense encounter. 

Rune did not intend to go down quietly, disputing a forehand winner from Ruud at matchpoint. the umpire had to get involved, ruling in the Norwegian’s favor and awarding him the match. All Rune offered as congratulations was a frosty handshake before disappearing into the locker room. 

It was in the pair’s fifth meeting that Holger Rune wrangled a win against Casper Ruud at the 2023 ATP Masters event in Rome in the semifinals, winning in three sets. Their last meeting was in June 2023, with Ruud winning a rematch of their 2022 Roland Garros quarterfinals. The contest between the two Scandinavian neighbors is another one to watch out for in 2024, both for the quality of the tennis and the intensity of their encounters.Whichever camp you are in or whichever player you follow, as a tennis enthusiast, you are in for a treat as the 2024 tennis season gets underway in right earnest. Expect plenty of new rivalries to form courtesy of the younger players waiting in the wings and eager to make a mark for themselves. So grab your popcorn, as it’s going to be a wild ride.

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