Thrown into the cauldron of a Grand Slam decider, they are two of the most prolific winners of the past two decades; when the heat of battle beckons, they are revered as among the most ferocious returners the game has seen.
But despite their impressive careers overlapping by three years, affable American great Andre Agassi and Serbia’s world No.1 Novak Djokovic never had the chance to square off.
Between them they amassed 13 majors and counting, should Djokovic – still only 25 years of age – build on his tally of five. For both, Melbourne Park has stood as their most successful hunting ground – Djokovic bidding on Sunday to tie Agassi with his name beneath the Norman Brookes Trophy a fourth time.
Returning to the site of his most successful major for the first time since 2005 on Friday, former No.1 Agassi foresees only one conceivable way he could have tipped the dog-fight in his favour should the pair have been pitted against each other at the height of their powers.
“Let’s see. I would have probably gotten in a fight with him in the locker-room before the match. I might have had a chance,” the 42-year-old said.
The pedigree, at least, would be on his side. His dad, Mike, was a former Iranian Olympic boxer.
Racquet in hand in place of the boxing gloves, though, Agassi insisted the Serb had taken the rules of engagement to another level, singling out his innate ability to turn a point in the blink of one blistering, shoe-screeching forehand from several metres behind the baseline.
“You look at what Djokovic can do offensively and defensively ... In my day somebody who ran well was [Michael] Chang. Once you have him running, I didn't care,” he said.
“And then you see it go to Lleyton Hewitt, you know, who would move even better. But if you just were off on one, he would then move forward in the court and turn a point around. Now you got problems if you don't keep him on the defence.
“And then you take that to a guy like Djokovic, who probably even was better than Hewitt ever moved and doesn't need to turn a point around. When he's on defence, he can actually win the point with one shot.”
He puts it simply as an evolution of the game and suggested it wasn’t about to plateau for too long.
“Every five years it seems to click up a different level,” he said. “I can only imagine what life’s going to look like when Michael Jordan decides to play tennis instead, you know ...”
Much of Agassi’s popularity was built around his off-court persona – dating celebrities, the rockstar mullet hair-do, the private jet. And with that, it wasn’t always the squeakiest of clean reputations. He admitted in his biography, Open, to getting away with taking recreational drugs early on in his career.
In light of American cyclist Lance Armstrong’s recent public admission of cheating with performance-enhancing drugs, he welcomed more stringent testing across all sports, but was firm in his belief tennis was now at the forefront of prevention.
“It's sad to watch people who may question things for those that worked pretty darn hard, you know. But, yeah, I think that tennis has always sort of led the way. I really believe that,” he said.
“For me, it would have kept me from destroying a few years of my life. That's what I did to myself with the use of the recreational, destructive substance of crystal meth. It would have saved me on a lot of fronts.
“The more the better as far as I'm concerned. The stricter, the better; the more transparency the better; the more accountability the better.”
Describing the problem, he admits, is a heck of a lot easier than solving it.
And to see players able to raise their level, having previously put their body through a gruelling five to six-hour marathon, Agassi had no doubt it was achievable without the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
“I marvel at it, first of all ... I think they've gotten very aware at an early age how important it is to be prepared, and I think there's a lot you can gain from training right and training smartly,” he said.
“I don't watch it and wonder in light of the Lance situation, but I also have the luxury of knowing that there's no time to – the negotiation of what one would have to go through to figure a way around or to figure a shortcut seems implausible.”
It’s a remarkable era for the game, and Agassi is in a position to say so.
“[Andy Murray’s] coming into his own ... so now you’re talking about four guys. They’ve separated themselves from the field,” he said.
“If it was one person, I would say, OK, he came at a good time or he squeezed in a window. But they raised each other.
“When I see those top three guys [Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal], I see what history will say is the golden age of tennis. You're talking about arguably the three best guys. Djokovic will still need some distance to cover, but best of all-time, if you're having that discussion in the same generation, it's remarkable.”
Stepping it up in Melbourne Park’s cauldron on Sunday will go some way to bridging that gap for Djokovic. Gloves off.