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Sport

When double, there's trouble

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Some pairs just hit it off, some just wouldn't, yet the sparks flew. A sporting selection.

ALAIN PROST AND AYRTON SENNA
Teammates, feisty rivals, champion drivers. Brazilian Senna and French Prost, both dissimilar geniuses, redefined the word 'rivalry' in Formula One racing, giving the sport the necessary dose of conflict and excitement. "Apart from our passion for racing there is nothing else in common between us, " Senna once famously declared. If the Brazilian was the daredevil, Prost was the cold tactician. Their rivalry hit the pinnacle in 1988 after Senna joined Prost in McLaren. Verbal duels and clashes off the track would soon be followed by collisions on the track. Prost won the championship in 1989 after colliding with Senna and pipping him to the post but the next year at the same venue Senna took revenge in the same fashion.

BJORN BORG AND JOHN MCENROE
Mad Mac and Ice Borg. They really were like fire and ice and captured the imagination of a whole generation of tennis lovers. Immensely and equally talented they were entirely different in the way they played and behaved. If Borg, with 11 Grand Slams to his credit, was renowned for his baseline play and mental toughness, Mac who had seven Grand Slams to his name was all touch play, volleys and a short fuse. And both brought out the best in each other in a rivalry that had a unique third dimension - the feisty Jimmy Connors.

THE BRYAN BROTHERS
As a doubles pairing, they have won 11 Grand Slam titles. Arguably the finest tennis pair of all time, twins Bob and Mike Bryan ruled the doubles courts in the first decade of this millennium. Their cohesion and understanding of each other's game is simply telepathic. The 73 doubles titles that the pair has won, more than any other in the sport has won, bears testimony to their chemistry. They share the same car, same houses, similar coloured shirts, shorts and shoes. Truly, one of a kind.

LEANDER PAES AND MAHESH BHUPATHI
They were the face of Indian tennis. Their partnership won them Grand Slam titles galore and made Indians proud - the chest bumping and aggression was alien to us until then. They played for each other and won for millions but let themselves down when they decided to part ways. Now back again in the twilight of their careers, Lee and Hesh are not as effective as they once were but have decided to bury the hatchet for what could be their final shot at Olympic glory in London next year.

JWALA GUTTA AND V DIJU; JWALA AND ASHWINI PONAPPA
She's the outspoken leftie with an attitude that almost borders on arrogance. But when she teams up with the shy folk - the equally stunning Ashwini in women's and Diju in mixed - Jwala truly comes into her own. The result is explosive. Both Ashwini and Diju are the perfect foil to the aggressive Jwala, their solid game and calming influence lending much-needed balance. Jwala and Ashwini were world championship semifinalists this year, an addition to last year's Commonwealth Games gold. Jwala and Diju have won a Grand Prix gold in Taipei a Commonwealth Games gold and a World Super Series Masters runners up trophy.

DAVID BECKHAM AND RUUD VAN NISTELROOY
After terrorising rival defences in English football for two memorable seasons for Manchester United, the duo of Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy and English winger David Beckham were reunited five years later at Real Madrid, towards the fag end of the disastrous galactic era. It resulted in Real's Spanish League title in the face of the creative onslaught by bitter rivals FC Barcelonan - Van Nistelrooy found his favourite supply line in Beckham, and won the top-scorer award that 2006-07 season, with 25 goals.

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