This article will look at some of the best tennis matches of all time that were played by greats like Borg, McEnroe, Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic.
I know not everyone will agree with my list and I definitely have a bias toward matches played in more recent history but these are the matches that I enjoyed watching the most.
Best Tennis Matches of all Time
1. Federer Vs Nadal – 2008 Wimbledon
Nadal beat Federer in 5 sets: 6–4, 6–4, 6–7, 6–7, 9–7
It won’t be a surprise to many that I have listed the final of the 2008 Wimbledon between Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal as the best match of all time.
As a big Fed fan, It wasn’t easy to watch but I was still able to appreciate the great play exhibited by both players under incredible pressure.
Roger was going for his sixth Wimbledon in a row and Rafa was looking to break Federer’s stranglehold on the trophy.
The match lasted 4 hours and 48 minutes and was full of suspense with R.Nadal taking the first two sets, then Federer fighting back to make it two sets all.
The last set was an epic thriller with R.Nadal edging it by 9 games to 7.
2. Djokovic Vs Nadal – 2012 Australian Open
Djokovic beat Nadal in 5 sets: 5–7, 6–4, 6–2, 6–7, 7–5
The final of the 2012 Australian Open between N.Djokovic and R.Nadal was a war of attrition with the match lasting a total of 5 hours and 53 minutes, which was a record for a grand slam final.
The level of play was phenomenal throughout the nearly six hours of play with N.Djokovic and R.Nadal being barely able to stand up at the award ceremony after the match.
3. Djokovic Vs Federer – 2019 Wimbledon
Djokovic beat Federer in 5 sets: 7–6, 1–6, 7–6, 4–6, 13–12
The final of the 2019 Wimbledon Championships between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer was another epic five setter played between the two tennis greats.
Both men had chances to win but Djokovic held his nerve and was able to take the win in the fifth set tiebreaker 13-12.
4. Borg Vs McEnroe – 1980 Wimbledon
Borg beat McEnroe in 5 Sets: 1–6, 7–5, 6–3, 6–7, 8–6
Until more recent years, the 1980 Wimbledon Final between the cool and collected Swede Borg and the hot headed American McEnroe was regarded as the best match of all time with replays of the match being played whenever there was a rain delay at Wimbledon (this was before Wimbledon Centre Court got a roof)
The 1980 Wimbledon men’s final is most remembered for the 16-14 tiebreaker in the 4th set that McEnroe won to take the match into a 5th set.
McEnroe would end up losing the match in the 5th set 8 games to 6 but he would get his revenge on Borg by beating him in the 1981 Wimbledon Championships in 4 sets.
5. Federer Vs Nadal – 2017 Australian Open
Federer beat Nadal in 5 sets: 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3
No one expected Federer and Nadal to make it to the 2017 Australian Open Final as Roger was on the comeback trail from injury and Rafa had not made a grand slam final since the 2014 French Open.
Like many of their previous grand slam meetings, the match went to 5 sets with Roger emerging victorious 6-3 in the 5th set.
2017 was a good year for both players as Rafa went on to win the French Open and US Open while Roger beat Cilic in the 2017 Wimbledon Championships.