Greatest Tennis Matches of All Time

The Top Ten
1 Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal (2008 Wimbeldon Final)

I cannot believe that it has been 10 years since this unforgettable match took place. The memories of this match still feel so recent and raw. Roger Federer at this point had won 5 Wimbledons on the trot. Rafael Nadal, two Wimbledon finals in a row but no reward. Federer was simply too good on grass.

8-year-old me was expecting another one-sided affair. Everyone around me was rooting for the overwhelming favourite, Federer. I for some reason decided to root for the underdog, Nadal. Perhaps to see a new winner of the highly prestigious Wimbledon crown.

Halfway into the match, I thought that Nadal finally broke his duck. Federer, to everyone's surprise, found himself two sets to love down. Nadal was playing the best grass court tennis of his life.

But once again, Federer found some of that grass court magic he carries with himself and mounted a charge. Two thrilling tiebreakers, two sets to Federer, game on.

The sky started to darken as the final set began. ...more

This match was the best I have ever seen as far as ground stroke and quality of tennis. I remember my daughter complaining about my watching this match all day! This match showed me that Rafael Nadal will be one of the greatest ever. Also, it showed me Roger Federer has a heart of champion like no other. This was supposedly the end of Federer. He made 6 straight finals on Grand Slams and won 4 of them. All four of the grand slams in 6. Incredible.

Federer has been my favorite player ever since I got into the sport of tennis and his performance was just spectacular. I realize he lost, but that's because Nadal was also playing some of the best tennis he's ever played. That match started a long run of consecutive wins and amazing play for Nadal. This match showed the best out of both players. They deserve the title for the best match ever.

Roger comes out tight and drops early breaks to lose the first two sets, then battles back to tie the match at 2-2. The 4th set tiebreaker is easily the best 20 mins of tennis in history with each player unleashing the best shots of the tournament under tremendous pressure. Losing this was a crusher for Fed so, like a true champion, he made the next 5 Grand Slam finals, winning 3. The best ever.

2 Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal (2012 Australian Open Final)

Longest grand slam final ever. A "good morning" after the match made it special. Novak and Rafa just wanted to claim that they want to win every point. 2 heroes, 1 epic match. Thank you for the unbelievable 5 hour and 53 minutes' performance.

"Novak has proven he is the best returner in history" -Andre Agassi
"This was the best match I've ever witnessed" -Pete Sampras
"You think you've seen everything and then you see this (match)" -Patrick McEnroe
"Well, there's nothing left to say here... Simply the greatest match I ever saw in my lifetime" -John McEnroe
"A new definition of suffering to win the title" -Mary Carillo
"It's simply incredible what these tow have accomplished" -Mats Wilander
"We are witnessing an instant classic" -Rod Laver

This spectacular match is the longest and most thrilling grand slam final ever. The sure brialliance of Djokovic and the will and determination for Nadal defined every rally. The match was also the longest grand slam final at a colossal 5 hours 53 minutes of break taking tennis. This is the greatest tennis match of all time and many of the sports greats agree too, Borg and Agassi just to name a few.

"What an unbelievable match! Best match I've seen in my lifetime for sure." -Boris Becker
"By far the greatest match I ever saw. Incredible performances from both guys." -Pete Sampras
"I think this was the best tennis match ever in the men's game." -Andre Agassi
"Wow what an unbelievable match to watch. Definitely the greatest match I've seen." -Mats Wilander
"It showed what it takes to beat this top group of players. Truly fantastic match to watch. One of the greatest I've ever seen." -Björn Borg

3 Rafael Nadal vs Novak Djokovic (2013 Roland Garros Semifinal)

This match deserves its best ever ranking in every respect. It is the finest clay court match I’ve ever had the privilege to watch.

It is also a perfect counterpoint to the epic 2012 Australian Open final. After the AO match, Nadal said it was disheartening to have played the best tennis of his career and still lose. His revenge was this victory.

I felt Novak almost did when he was servicing in the 5th set at 4-2. Novak had all the chances to go up to 5-2. That must have given him a psychological upper hand. The point which he smashed, Rafa had no chances, but unfortunately Novak hit the net. That was the time I felt Novak went down psychologically. Rafa's back shot behind his legs was amazing. there was no answer for Djokovic. of course this match showed that Novak has always a chance to win Roland Garros at some point of time with his hard work and dedicatoin

To me it was the resurrection of the king of clay. Nadal on clay is the highest form of domination and supremacy this sport ever saw. The highest tennis level ever recorded to me.
And this match was the highest point of epicness I see on Rafa in his element.
There was anything: domination, comebacks, drama, controversy, incredible points, very tense atmosphere. I just loved it!

A total heart breaker for Novak but all credit to Rafa. The master on clay.

4 Roger Federer vs Andy Roddick (2009 Wimbledon Final)

Andy would have won this if he had served first. When a player has to play catch up regarding serve in a final set, he or she tends to be at a disadvantage. My heart went out to Andy but he was magnanimous in defeat.

50 aces for Roger and he needed every single one of them! A shame for Andy...this was his finest moment.
No one would have defeated Federer on that day, he was on a mission after he lost that epic final the year before.

The only time Roddick was broken was when he was serving to stay in the match at 14-15. Even Federer Fans know their hearts were down for Andy Roddick as a Wimbledon champion.

As a Roddick fan, both my favorite and least-favorite match. He deserved to win it as much as Roger did. His effort was superhuman against his lifelong bogeyman.

5 Roger Federer vs Novak Djokovic (2014 Wimbledon Final)

Some of the cleanest ball striking I've ever seen. Roger can't break Novak for 3 sets, then, down 5-2 in the fourth, gets consecutive breaks to save the match. True grit. Roger playing so well at 33 against a 27 year old opponent of Novak's caliber simply cements his legacy as the best ever.

The fact that Roger was still able to put up that kind of fight at that age just goes to show his true greatness. Credit to Novak because he raised his game to match and even surpass Nadal and Federer at this point in their careers.

Even Djokovic admitted this was the best quality match he has played. AO 2012 doesn't compare to the aggression and shotmaking of this match.

Incredible shot making by both. unbelievable match

6 Novak Djokovic vs Roger Federer (2019 Wimbledon Final)

What a match. I would say it is the greatest match ever. Roger was 37 and Novak was 32 which was unbelievable. Novak won with 3 tiebreaks which was unbelievable. He saved 2 championship points from Roger's serve which was unbelievable. The match went into the first tiebreak in set 5 in Wimbledon history which was unbelievable. No way to neglect this match on the list. The 4 hour and 57 minutes' match could be an Oscar winning movie. Greatest admiration to both players. There was no runner-up in this match.

This match deserves to be up in this list. Roger Federer at the age of 37 years pushing Djokovic to one of the most dramatic and emotional 5 set matches to ever be played is something that will probably never happen in Tennis ever again. This match gave the fans everything they wanted to see, altough the end might have left a sour taste in some peoples mouth. I think that if Roger Federer had the chance to change one thing in his career it would be that he had won this game. If he had won this game I think the GOAT debate would have been settled down for quite some time, because winning Wimbledon at the age of 37 against one of your greatest rivals is astonishing.It is definitely the best match these two have ever played against each other and it is a joy to watch.

This may be the greatest match between these two of their careers. It may even be the greatest match of all time. The sheer mental fortitude from Djokovic to win the break back after losing his serve in the 15th game of the 5th set was astounding. Federer’s calculated shots were absolutely beautiful. The back and forth play was incredible. Mark my words, this match will go down as one of the best in history. Both players were amazing and I think all those who were watching were disappointed to see it come to an end. Federer and Djokovic will be regarded as 2 of the greatest players in history forever, and this match showcased their brilliance in the greatest of ways.

I wish Roger won, but it was an incredibly great match; the 5th set game at 11-11 which Roger lost was a truly great game. I think Roger spent a lot on that game.

7 Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal (Australian Open 2017 Final)

For most tennis fans, this was the dream final. The two biggest rivals in the history of the sport playing in yet another Grand Slam final after everyone had written them off. The match itself was far better than anyone had expected. It was a scintillating display of exciting baseline rallies, pin-point net play and masterful serving. It was also brimming with drama, especially in the fifth set, where there were plenty of break-point opportunities, close games and momentum shifts. You couldn't pick a winner until that final Hawk-Eye challenge that had everyone on the edge of their seats. Perhaps not the most elegant way to end it, but certainly a fitting conclusion to what was one of the most suspenseful matches in Grand Slam history. Most people will tell you that their final at Wimby '08 was the greatest match of all time. However, the hype, the story, the drama and the overall quality makes this match my pick.

I remember very well seeing the 2008 Wimbledon final, all this talk about Nadal not being able to win on grass just yet, but for some reason I saw that he could do it, and he did. It was a scintillating match but, as a Federer fanboy, I was so disappointed I could not bear to rewatch it, though I appreciate its greatness. I was losing faith that there would ever be a battle to match it. Then after many years and tears Roger would finally prevail; The Australian Open 2017. With the Disneylike fairytale boy dream storyline, glorious beautiful tennis, using the scorching backhand as an improved skill or superpower, it was the most epic superhero sports spectacle ever seen!

In terms of exalted level of play and tennis historic (GOAT-esque) stakes, this is, for me, right up there with their epic 2008 Wimbledon Final. I am a huge Federer fan and so, of course, was thrilled to see him get the best of his great rival/nemesis in a 5 set match for the first time in a decade. Roger's complete "go for it" determination and unprecedentedly (Wawrinka-esque) powerful flat one-handed backhand changed the usual dynamics of the match-up and allowed him to prevail in the decisive fifth set where he had, typically, faltered. (Props to his new coach I.L. for getting him to stay fearlessly aggressive and to abandon the backhand slice! ) A truly epic and totally unexpected encounter between the (near) consensus two greatest players of all time -- and one that exceeded all possible expectations. Toss up between this and the 2008 Wimbledon classic -- but, as a Fed Fan, if I had to choose between them, I'll go with this. Bravo to both legends on this latest reminder of their ...more

What a comeback for Roger Federer! 6 months away from the game and to come back with so much grit. What a final set, Roger 3-1 down in the 5th set and to gain 5 games on the trot was simply unbelievable. Credit also goes to Rafa for playing such a good match to take it to the 5th set.

8 John Isner vs Nicolas Mahut (2010 Wimbledon 1st Round)

I felt like I was watching a fight amongst gladiators in this match, that to give up would be to hand over your life. The gutsiest of performances in any sport that I have ever witnessed.

Longest match ever. Both served over 100 aces. They've shown the grit of tennis players. Tennis is beautiful in this way.

Important match but boring baseline play where neither could EVER break


9 Bjorn Borg vs. John McEnroe (1980 Wimbledon Final)

There are two eras of tennis, the old era which is dominated by wooden rackets and older equipment (essentially pre-graphite), ending at around the early 1990s and the new era where predominantly the technology outgrew the old style of playing and used the lighter carbon-fibre rackets, allowing for more "flamboyant" "squash style" strokes and producing faster ball speeds, which in turn required a different sort of player than the old era.

The difference between the two eras developed a wholly different game - for example, what we in the old era called "hacking" (playing predominantly from the back of the court) where with old wooden rackets you would be more likely beaten by a good net player, especially on grass, in the new era this style became the norm on all surfaces. You only have to Google the state of grass courts in the second week of a slam from the old era vs the new to see how much the game has changed in this respect. Aside from the ...more

To me still the ultimate clash of styles and temperament, without mentioning the 18-16 tiebreak - the greatest 22 minutes of tennis ever. This to me was the last great gasp of the wooden racket era, with deft shots, volleys and passes aplenty. Also loved that both families-friends sat in the same box, so we were able from a cinematic perspective see their reactions at the same time.

It was the day of our engaged and I supported Bjorn Borg and my future husband John McEnroe. It was just unbelievable tennis. Would not go out to celebrate until the end of the match. Because of this match I always still watch tennis

I still remember this like it was yesterday, it was a beautiful summer day outside but I was glued to my T.V. set. I agree that this should be number 1, probably most of the younger voters have never seen it.

10 Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal (2013 US Open Final)

It was a beautiful match, not too long, but with intensity and very technical rallies.. Certainly, the way Rafa come up in 3 rd set 4-4 (0-40) was truly amazing

The way rafa come up in 3 rd set 4-4 (0-40) was truly amazing...

Rafa is the best

The Contenders
11 Ivan Lendl vs. John McEnroe (1984 French Open)

Perhaps an overlooked classic. McEnroe was at the height of his powers in June 1984 albeit playing on a surface he was not wild about. These 2 guys, who basically loathed one another, had a see sawing career rivalry which at this juncture had McEnroe in the ascendancy. McEnroe played flawless tennis for 2 sets. The weather was warm and McEnroe was in command. Somehow in the middle of the 3rd set, with McEnroe cruising towards an emphatic straight sets victory, Lendl began to claw his way back into the match. His superior fitness in the energy sapping conditions started to come into play. A momentum player at best McEnroe fell apart in the final set despite going down only 5-7 in the clinch. The crowd got behind Lendl (as merely an underdog since he was never a natural crowd favourite) and McEnroe began to disintegrate. This was a heartbreaking loss for McEnroe as he knew that he would never again have such a gilt edged opportunity to win at Roland Garros. He never reached another ...more

Mac STILL loses sleep over this one. amazing match

12 Murray vs. Djokovic (2012 U.S. Open Final)

For the amazing tension and sheer quality of the first set this has to be in the top 10 matches ever. Awesome match

The match is special because this is Murray's first grand slam title!

Simply Awesome

13 Pete Sampras vs Andre Agassi (2001 US Open)

Only Grand Slam match I recall going 4 straight sets with neither player ever breaking serve. Combine that with two contrasting styles of play (serve & volley vs power baseline, one handed backhand vs two handed backhand, etc), and contrasting personalities and you end up with an incredibly entertaining match of "who's gonna flinch first".

Very memorable match..I was there! This one gets my vote!

Standing ovation in a quarter final says it all

14 Bjorn Borg vs John McEnroe (1981 Wimbeldon Final)

One of the best matches between two players if different styles and personalities. A repeat of 1980 but the winner being different. Superior serving of McEnroe enabled him to snatch victory.

McEnroe just did not give up

You mean 1980 final

15 Roger Federer vs Marat Safin (2005 Australian Open)

Marat Safin's masterpiece, this match was the best he ever played againts a top form Federer, ending a 27 match win. One of the most memorable wins in tennis history

Underrated match for sure. Safin defeated Roger Federer in his prime, which might be the biggest accomplishment you can do in tennis.

In my top 3. Safin played out of his skin and the brilliance of the tennis was sustained throughout. Good to see the match on this list

Cannot be 13th as it was one of the best non-final matches I've ever seen!

16 David Nalbandian vs Roger Federer (2005 ATP World Tour Finals)

Best match ever.


17 Chris Evert vs. Martina Navratilova (1985 French Open Final)

What a jerk to leave a comment like that. Your Chrissie would find your comments a disgrace. Martina is a brave and true legend and everyone knows that at her best, Martina was just a little bit better than Evert and even Chris Evert would agree with that assumption. It was a great match and the "slow" clay always gave Evert an advantage over Navratilova.

Chrissy's last real victory against her almost male counter part. Grace and elegance and beauty and sexyness_ Evert was all those things.

I find it odd that this match would be listed 17th.

It's a shame that Navratilova seems to be mostly overlooked when celebrating legends of the game, fact is that she won a total of 354 titles (singles,doubles and mixed), nobody in the game (mens or womens) comes even remotely close that achievement

18 Don Budge vs. Gottfried Von Cramm (1937 Davis Cup)

What an outstanding match. I remember it so vividly. Then the war came and ravaged my land...

What is this crap? all people from this year is dead LOL

I remember this one

19 Verdasco vs Nadal (2009 Australian Open semis)

It was a five-set thriller that had everything, high drama, adrenaline, passion, a ball magically flying around the net only to land milimetrically on court (Nadal's), incredible spin (Verdasco's) making the ball spring sideways upon touching the court only to be met with even more incredible spin in return, a multi-point rally finished with a clock-precision dropshot (Verdasco's), a ball being hit in a semi-squatting position sending the opponent in bullet-speed from one extreme corner to the other extreme, hitting back a precision backhand slice (Nadal's), and then winning the point. In short, that match overshadows the Fed-Nadal final and will be forever engraved in my memory.

Wouldn't find a more higher quality match ever including all the epic Federer-Nadal-Djokovic battles. No, this was 2 guys letting go and displaying the full free flowing nature of their games. The recurring theme to one-up the other, the back and forth drama between rallies, the emotions shown after every point - this match had it all.

Greatest left handed match ever! 5h15 of pure tennis, with both incredible effects and power. Nadal hit tremendous shots (e.g. banana's shot at 6-7 5-4 40A),Verdasco made an incredible 4th set tie break.

Beast vs a God

20 Goran Ivanisevic vs. Patrick Rafter (2001 Wimbeldon Final)

Just can't contain my emotions. Finally it's over. 4th chance to grab the Wimbledon championship and he's done it at the age of 30, just with ranking 125 and a precious wildcard. Very nervous when the match went into set 5 and heart was pounding fast when Goran converted the break point. Hands got sweaty when Goran faced the championship point for 4 times and the dream finally came true! One of the most touching moments in life.

Maybe not the best match, but definitely my most memorable. I cried when Goran won.

Was going for Rafter but Goran was amazing! He broke Australian hearts!

For me, this was the greatest match ever played

21 Novak Djokovic vs Stanislas Wawrinka (Australian Open 2013, 4th Round)

The most memorable tennismatch I've seen in 35 years.

On one side drama, quality and tension were unreal. On the other side it kickstarted the career of the loser of this epic battle. A mentally devastating defeat, with a career breaking potential, surprisingly built the base of one of the most beautiful stories tennis history has written.

I thought the match was amazing the first time I watched it, and since then I've lost count of how many times I've rewatched the highlights. This is the match that made me a Wawrinka fan.

A great match - one of the best I’ve ever seen

22 Rafael Nadal vs Grigor Dimitrov (2017 Australian Open Semifinal)

Thrilling, nerves all around, high expectations from nadal and he delivered..
Watched full match standing, no toilet breaks either

Almost 6 hours of what tennis truly is about: fighting.

Five sets of absolute quality. No one lost this match, but Rafa won. Amazing!

Incredible quality from both players.

23 Rafael Nadal vs. Roger Federer (2009 Australian Open Final)

It’s kind of ridiculous that this is below #5. Some of the best Nadal winners came from this game, including his famous “banana shot.” in my opinion, AO finals are the best, and this one was just as insane.

This has some of the pure best shot matching out between the two out of all their clashes. I think this one gets forgotten because of the drama of 2008 Wimbledon. That and the 5th set saw Fed fade away.

This match was overshadowed by the drama happened in 2008, otherwise I would rate this match right on top with Wimbledon 2008 final if not better.

The shot-making which can happen only when the following criteria are established: Fast court, Nadal and Federer in their prime.

24 Roger Federer vs. Pete Sampras (2001 Wimbeldon Fourth Round)

Storied start to Rogers career, breaking Petes 38 match Wimby streak on Petes favorite court. Roger was 19 at the time. Roger wins the first game by serving 4 aces. Classic Wimbledon. Lots of bang-bang serve and volley dealt by two of the greatest, in hindsight, while the torch was being passed from one to the other.

The end of an era, Fed is truly the master, he out serve-and-volleys Sampras and then goes on to play the most successful baseline game in history.

25 Novak Djokovic vs. Rafael Nadal: (2009 Madrid Semifinal)

It was an amazing macth in more than 4 hours

Woowww great match

Novak Djokovic

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