All is fair in love and war, and tennis has always been a bit of both. Over the decades, the gruelling sport has witnessed many of its professional players pair off into romantic couples outside of the battle field. We take a look at eight off-court relationships that blossomed into something more, from the short-lived to the happily ever after.
1. Grigor Dimitrov and Maria Sharapova
Grigor Dimitrov was rumoured to be dating Serena Williams before he was confirmed to be seeing Maria Sharapova in 2012, Williams’ long-time opposition on the court. Dimitrov and Sharapova split in 2015. Dimitrov insisted that he was now ready to concentrate “entirely on the game.”
2. Fernando Verdasco and Ana Ivanovic
Serbian player Ana Ivanovic dated Spanish player Fernando Verdasco for several months in 2008 before calling it quits. After the break-up, Ivanovic said, “In 2009, tennis will be my life priority, so I won’t have much time for love.” Ivanovic went on to marry German footballer Bastian Schweinsteiger.
3. Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert
Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert became engaged in 1974, when both players won the Wimbledon. But they had a rollercoaster relationship, filled with infidelity. Jimmy Connors also suggested publicly that his fiancee Evert had had an abortion against his wishes, briefly before they planned to marry. The wedding never came to be.
4. Mariana Simionescu and Bjorn Borg
Mariana Simionescu was the first wife of iconic Swedish player Bjorn Borg. They began dating in 1976, the same year Borg won the first of five consecutive Wimbledon singles titles. They married, but divorced in 1984. Simionescu never wed again. “I don’t know if I was the real love of Bjorn’s life, but he was for me,” she later told the press.
1. Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi
Arguably one of the most famous tennis couples in history, Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf — both former pros who ranked No. 1 in the world — married in 2001. The ceremony was tiny — only their mothers bore witness. Since then, the couple has had two kids, son Jaden Gil and daughter Jaz Elle.
2. Roger Federer and Mirka Vavrinec
Former professional tennis player Mirka Vavrinec married current world No. 1 Roger Federer in 2009. The Swiss couple has not one, but two pairs of twins: they had identical girls Myla Rose and Charlene Riva months after their wedding, and two boys, Leo and Lennart, in 2014.
3. Donna Vekic and Stan Wawrinka
Croatian player Donna Vekic has been dating Swiss player Stan Wawrinka. Wawrinka, 32, was spotted on social media last year helping Vekic celebrate her 21st birthday.
4. Michaella Krajicek and Martin Emmrich
Dutch tennis player Michaella Krajicek began seeing German doubles player Martin Emmrich in 2013, after the two crossed paths at an ATP/WTA event in the Netherlands. The two had an unforgettable engagement the following year at the same event, where Emmrich got down on one knee in centre court to pop the question, after beating out Jana Cepelova in a first-round win. The pair married in 2015.