Having someone on your side who gets what you do and can be a sounding board for the highs and lows of your professional career can be priceless. And just because you’re super successful or even famous, doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from the mutual support and understanding that only a real peer can offer.
To prove this point, we’ve rounded up some of the most interesting and influential peer partnerships around, and looked at what makes their connection, and support for each other, so special. From the world of professional sport to big business, through music and the arts, to politics and even popular culture, there are some incredible examples of the power of peers.
First up, we take a look at sporting peer partnerships…
Famously born only a week apart and having faced each other over the tennis net since they were 11 years old, Djokovic and Murray may seem more like mortal enemies than supportive peers. Despite their years-long rivalry, it’s a different story once they’re off-court, with the two players comparing notes on parenting and managing the stress of life on the ATP tour. “We talk about each other's families, children and stuff… We spoke about the difficulty in keeping the sort of balance in your life with the family and the travelling and the work and everything” said Murray back in 2016.
England’s football manager and the MD of the England Cricket team are on the record talking about how they have consulted each other about their respective teams and their roles in creating a winning temperament. Southgate has been particularly vocal in his support of the new Bazball era and what the England football team can learn from it, "There’s definitely been a shift in how they are playing. We’ve been evolving as a team as well - it depends on what you’re looking at in terms of style of play… Whenever we’ve done cross-sport things you’re always mindful of the bits you can pick off and what might be unique to a different sport"
Even the GOAT has a peer, and it was fellow top-level competitor Wozniacki that Williams often turned to during her incredible 20 year reign over women’s tennis. While female sports stars are all too often pitted against each other by the media, Williams and Wozniacki’s supportive friendship was as strong off-court as their rivalry was on it. From pre-match Mariah Carey concerts, to post-match cocktails (even on the night Serena had beaten Caroline in the final of the US Open!) these peers were consistently there to offer each other advice and support, with Williams stating "We've been through a lot of similar things and situations in our careers. We've always been there for each other."
Formula 1’s all time great and the NFL’s superstar quarterback have a well-documented friendship despite their very different sports. Sharing a love of golf, the sports stars have forged a close bond based on overcoming the isolation that can impact those who reach stratospheric heights, with Hamilton commenting that "It can be quite a lonely experience being at the top of your sport. So, to be able to confide in other individuals who have experienced something similar."
In their early 2000s heyday, England’s World Cup-winning flyhalf regularly received the support of his free-kick-taking footballer peer - in fact they even sought each other’s technical advice on how to kick a ball better! Handling the pressure of major tournaments was also something they both understood and shared, with Wilkinson mentioning “It's great to get that support from David, especially as he's obviously someone who knows what it's like to be an athlete in these sort of pressurised circumstances."
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