Power Rankings: The Best Tennis Friendships

By Anusha Rasalingam

Whether it’s Serena-Sloane or McEnroe-Connors, tennis feuds have always gotten a lot of attention – maybe too much. While some players like Maria Sharapova take a strictly business approach, and don’t look to make friends on the tennis tour, like the rest of us, many others enjoy friendships with their co-workers.  So, let’s count down our favorite friendships on the ATP and WTA tours these days.

6. Kim Clijsters/Everyone

Ok, this one might be a little bit of a stretch, since Kim is technically retired.  But no list of tennis friendships could exclude Kim Clijsters. This is someone who is so likeable that, despite not actually being Australian in any way other than having dated Lleyton Hewitt as a teenager, she was still beloved in Australia as Aussie Kim. To see her charm in action, check out this chat with Ana Ivanovic (hardly a slouch in the friendly department herself) from earlier this year.

But, as Kim surely knows, the best part of having friends is that friends watch your back. Todd Woodbridge learned this the hard way, when Kim found out what he texted about her to their mutual friend, Rennae Stubbs:

Let that be a lesson – don’t mess with the friendly ones!

5. Roger Federer/Stan Wawrinka

They had us with their bizarre celebrations at the 2008 Olympics, and their unlikely run to the gold medal, after Federer’s heartbreak in the singles. To be sure, these guys are good friends and real allies – they share a country, a coach, a fitness trainer, and a recent love of taking selfies. That said, it often feels that the outside world has a desperate need for these guys to be BFFs – to the point where Stan was practically asked more about Roger’s reaction to his Aussie Open win than his own.  In reality, this relationship has had its ups and downs, the latter occasionally surfacing regarding Davis Cup. But, despite any differences, these guys genuinely support each other and are as much of a team as we may see in this individual sport.

And this season, if they win the Davis Cup for Switzerland, maybe we’ll finally get a sequel to this:

4. Stan Wawrinka/Benoit Paire

While Roger seems like Stan’s responsible, occasionally critical, but genuinely proud older brother, Benoit is Stan’s wacky friend who’d probably get him into trouble.  We’ve already documented their epic night out at the VMAs last year, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

They do interviews about their friendship (Benoit says Stan can’t dance).

They cook together.

They go jet-skiing.

Can’t you just see Benoit trying to convince Stan to throw a house party and serve rum punch out of his Aussie Open trophy? Or at least use it to serve some pre-match eats!

3. Novak Djokovic/Ana Ivanovic

From playing with Barbie dolls together as children, to becoming the Ken and Barbie of the Serbian tennis world themselves, these two have a friendly, flirty vibe that is always entertaining to watch.

Yet they’re comfortable enough to embarrass each other in public:

It’s always a treat to watch them together.

2. Aga Radwanska/Caroline Wozniacki

I think we all know which of her WTA co-workers Aga will be taking to the Cheesecake Factory for her free scoop of birthday ice cream.  Even though Caro is paired up these days, and probably doesn’t have time for girlfriend getaways with Aga and the gang, she’s clearly a great friend – check out how well she knows Aga:

Now, who else is really hoping that these two and Serena really do find a way to open that nail salon after they retire?

1. Roger Federer/Tommy Haas

The two self-proclaimed dinosaurs of the tour have an easy rapport, and an under-the-radar raging bromance. Whether they take the court as doubles partners or as opponents, they always find a way to laugh.

They’re always ready to help each other out — practicing together, reenacting Tommy’s famous rant, or traveling between tournaments.


But perhaps there’s such a thing as too much sharing, even between friends …

Who are your favorite tennis friendships? Feel free to share in the comments section.

5 Responses

  1. Patrick of La Verne
    Patrick of La Verne May 12, 2014 at 8:17 pm |

    Sara la Divina and Roberta Vinci surely belong among the leaders, as do Flavia Penneta and Gisela Dulko.

  2. RZ
    RZ May 13, 2014 at 10:36 am |

    Love it! My favorites are all on here. Others to consider: John Isner and Nicholas Mahut; Rafael Nadal and Juan Monaco; Marion Bartoli and Dominika Cibulkova

  3. RZ
    RZ May 13, 2014 at 10:44 am |

    Also, Andy Murray and Ross Hutchins.

  4. Dan
    Dan May 13, 2014 at 1:16 pm |

    I second the vote for Rafa and Pico, especially back when their Playstation battles were getting more coverage.

    And of course there’s the burgeoning bromance between Dimitrov and Murray.

    Petko has perhaps replaced Clisters in the “Petko and anyone” category: Feli, Ana, JJ, etc.

    Robson-Bouchard was great while it lasted.

    1. Diana
      Diana May 14, 2014 at 8:17 pm |

      While it lasted? I thought they are besties : What happened?

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