The women’s tennis world has been void of a true rivalry for quite some time, with Serena Williams dominating the scene. Even her sister Venus couldn’t manage to challenge her significantly. Unfortunately, the matches between the two often seemed lackluster as both players struggled to compete against each other. The arrival of Naomi Osaka closer to the peak of Serena’s career would have made for a more intriguing rivalry.
Following Serena’s reign, few players have emerged as regular opponents in important matches. However, Coco Gauff and Aryna Sabalenka have the potential to change that. Their recent encounter at the Australian Open semifinal showed that they might just become the rivalry that fans have longed for.
A good tennis rivalry requires a contrast in styles, which Gauff and Sabalenka provide. While Sabalenka relies on power and a strong serve, Gauff excels in chasing down shots and playing great defense. This creates an interesting dynamic between the two players.
In addition, a slight level of annoyance or tension adds to the appeal of a rivalry. Watching Sabalenka’s encounters with Gauff, it’s evident that Gauff’s ability to return difficult shots frustrates Sabalenka. This level of competition and pressure will only serve to deepen their rivalry.
The frequency of their encounters is also important. Both players have been consistently reaching the latter stages of Grand Slam tournaments, and their paths are likely to cross often in the future. With both players now ranked in the top five, the potential for a long-standing rivalry is promising.