Some of the most famous sports couples aren't sports couples at all. They're a mixture of sports and celebrity, such as David/Victoria Beckham, Russell Wilson/Ciara, Tom Brady/Gisele and one that's taken center stage at the Stanley Cup Finals: the Nashville Predators' Mike Fisher and country music superstar Carrie Underwood.
But a true sports couple involves two great athletes. Today, we rank the 17 best of those couples throughout history by taking into account sports prowess, strength of relationship, likability and other various factors. Couples can be currently married, divorced, dating, broken up or whatever, as long as they were known to be an item at some point.
US PGA TOURChris Condon
Anna Kournikova and Russian hockey players (divorced)
Kournikova broke onto the scene in 1997 with a run to the Wimbledon semifinal as a 16-year-old. Though she'd eventually climb to No. 8 in the rankings in 2000, she never had a better Grand Slam than that Wimbledon. The Russian famously never won a tournament at any level (though she had two doubles Grand Slam titles) and by 2003 she was out of the sport, at the age of 22.
With fame not commensurate to success, Kournikova still became an international star and her relationships were front-page news. But, even today, the details are still murky. She was known to have dated Detroit Red Wings star Sergei Federov for years before apparently accepting a $1 million engagement ring from another hockey player, Pavel Bure. In the summer of 2000, Bure suggested the engagement was off while Kournikova denied there had been one. Then, one year later, Kournikova and Federov were seen leaving a Moscow register office and Russian newspapers quoted various family remembers either celebrating the nuptials or renouncing their existence. Federov eventually copped to a wedding in 2003 but said he didn't talk to Kournikova any more.
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Stephanie McMahon and Triple H (married)
Stephanie McMahon, daughter of WWE impresario Vince McMahon and a former wrestler, married Triple H, a WWE champion, in a fake wrestling storyline that ended in divorce after somebody lied about being pregnant. Or something like that. Then they got married in real life after the "insane" chemistry of their fake marriage seeped into reality. Or something like that. That actual, legitimate relationship was then used as a WWE storyline in which Stephanie and Triple H became The Authority. Or something like that.
Caroline Wozniacki and Rory McIlroy (broken up)
Theirs was a relationship straight out of The Hills. They were young, famous and perpetually/reportedly breaking up for the stupidest reasons, like that one time when Wozniacki posted a picture of a sleeping McIlroy to Twitter and he reportedly wanted to call it quits. When Rory finally pulled the trigger and ended their engagement, he did it with a brief phone call. Class, class, class!
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Laila Ali and Curtis Conway (married)
Ali, of course, is the daughter of Muhammad Ali and the most successful female boxer in history, retiring with a 26-0 record. Conway was an NFL wide receiver who spent most of his career with the Bears and who put up numbers that were far more impressive than you might remember: 12 seasons, 594 receptions, 8,230 yards, 52 touchdowns.
Nancy Lopez and Ray Knight (divorced)
The LPGA Hall of Famer and 1986 World Series MVP were married for 27 years before divorcing in 2009. The New York Times once called them "probably the most prominent married couple in sports," and that was before Knight became a national star in the famed '86 Series.
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Serena Williams and Grigor Dimitrov (broken up)
Serena's relationship history has been the most closely guarded secret in sports, with nobody really knowing if, when or how long the tennis star dated stars such as Common, Drake, her coach Patrick Mouratoglou, Brett Ratner or Amar'e Stoudemire. While her relationship with Bulgarian tennis player Grigor Dimitrov was brief (the shortest of any couple on the list), it earns high marks for Serena's burn toward her ex after he turned around and started dating Serena's rival Maria Sharapova. She told Rolling Stone: "Hey, if [Sharapova] wants to be with the guy with a black heart, go for it." Maybe he broke up with her over the phone.
Ana Ivanovic and Adam Scott (broken up)
Another tennis player/golfer pairing (as far as I know, it's been exclulsively WTA/PGA, not the other way around with any major ATP/LPGA romances). Ivanovic and Scott were the most decorated active sports couple duing their 18-month relationship.
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Ana Ivanovic and Bastian Schweinsteiger (married)
Schweinsteiger, a German soccer player who starred for more than a decade at Bayern Munich before winning a World Cup title in 2014, married Ivanovic, a former No. 1 player, French Open champion and Adam Scott squeeze, in 2016 at a lavish ceremony at the famed Palazzo Cavalli in Venice. Schweinsteiger was just a week out from the end of his international soccer career at Euro 2016 and Ivanovic, 29, retired a few months later.
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Chris Evert and Greg Norman (divorced)
Like a revived 1980s sitcom, Chris Evert and Greg Norman got back into the spotlight in the aughts with a whirlwind romance that resulted in a marriage and quickie divorce. Evert divorced Andy Mill, a former skier and her husband of 18 years, before getting together with Norman, who happened to be Mill's best friend. Evert said they divorced because the marriage put a strain on a relationship with her children.
Gabrielle Reece and Laird Hamilton (married)
Pioneers in their respective fields - beach volleyball and surfing - Reece and Hamilton are a couple born from the sand and surf.
Sanya Richards-Ross and Aaron Ross (married)
There have been a handful of famous track relationships (Flo-Jo and husband Al Joyner, who won gold at the 1984 Olympics being perhaps the most famous), but no one can top the achievements of Sanya and Aaron. The former won a bronze in the 400m in Beijing and then gold in 2012, along with three 4x400 relay golds. Her husband won two Super Bowls with the New York Giants.
Ann Meyers and Don Drysdale (widowed)
Drysdale was a Hall of Fame pitcher with the Los Angeles Dodgers, a nine-time All-Star, Cy Young award winner and three-time World Series champion. After his career, he married Ann Meyers, a basketball trailblazer who became the first, and only, woman to sign with an NBA team when she signed a small deal with the Indiana Pacers in 1980. She never made the team. At UCLA, Meyers was a four-time All-American and became the first man or woman to record a quadruple-double in a college game. Drysdale died in 1993.
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Lindsay Vonn and Tiger Woods (broken up)
In terms of talent, Tiger and Lindsay are untouchable. Both are, without a doubt, among the three best to compete in their respective sports. No other couple on the list can boast such bona fides. In terms of believability, they made Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes seem like Romeo and Juliet.
Chris Evert and Jimmy Connors (engaged/broken up)
The sports couple of the 1970s - Evert was a pigtailed America's sweetheart, winning her first Grand Slams as a 19-year-old in 1974 and eventually winning 18 in total, despite skipping the Australian Open and French Open 12 times, as was more common in those days. Connors was a precursor to John McEnroe, an American l'enfant terrible who also broke out in 1974, sweeping his Grand Slams that year. The two were engaged but broke it off in late-'74. In his memoir, Connors controversially told an intimate, private story belonging to Evert and used it as a reason for the breakup.
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Nadia Comaneci and Bart Conner (married)
The author of the first perfect 10 in gymnastics history and the winner of two gold medals at the boycotted 1984 Olympics were wed in 1996, more than 20 years after they first met, when both won a competition at Madison Square Garden and, during the trophy ceremony, a photographer told Conner (then 17) to give Comaneci (14) an "adorable" kiss on the cheek.
Mia Hamm and Nomar Garciaparra (married)
Proving that you can fade from the limelight if you don't seek or attract it, Hamm and Garciaparra live a fairly quiet life for the greatest women's soccer player of her generation and a Boston Red Sox shortstop who was a contemporary and rival of A-Rod and on track for a Hall of Fame career before injuries prematurely forced him from the game.
Before the 1992 Wimbledon final, Agassi went out to Harrods to buy a tuxedo for the Wimbledon Champions' Ball, just in case he needed one. He was accompanied by his girlfriend who joked to the saleswoman that Agassi was only buying it to impress Steffi Graf, who'd won the women's championship earlier that day. After his win, Agassi, who'd tried to hit on Graf at the 1991 French Open, eagerly awaited the annual dance between champions but was crestfallen when told that the dance had been canceled do to lukewarm receptions from modern players. Still, he got to meet Graf that night, the first step in a long journey that made them the greatest sports couple.
Graf and Agassi won 30 Grand Slams between them (22 for Steffi, 8 for Andre) and both took home an Olympic gold. But neither of their two children are following in their parents footsteps. Agassi famously had a love/hate relationship with the sport and Graf was a teen star driven hard by her father, a prototypical tennis parent. As a result, they chose to discourage their children from playing the sport they dominated which seems to be the norm for former players -- can you name a single parent/child tennis combo?