15 Best Tennis Matches of all Time

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We know how excellent tennis matches can be. But do you know what the best tennis matches of all time look like? 

We have carefully listed the top 15 best tennis matches out of all the excellent matches throughout the year. 

John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg 1981
John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg shook hands before the 1981 Wimbledon Final. (Source: Pinterest)

Besides, you might be wondering that only the best of the best player’s matches made this ranking. You might be wrong about this one, and the only way to find out is by reading it. 

15 Best Tennis Matches of all Time

We were able to rank the matches with the help of research done by Tennis Predict. Also, please do not take this ranking too seriously because your opinion about the game may differ from ours.

So, here’s a quick look at what the ranking looks like. 

Rank Name of the competitors Match 
15 Novak Djokovic vs. Roger Federer 2019 Wimbledon Final
14 Stan Wawrinka vs. Novak Djokovic 2015 French Open Final
13 Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal 2017 Australian Open Final
12 Novak Djokovic vs. Roger Federer 2014 Wimbledon Final
11 Rafael Nadal vs. Novak Djokovic 2013 French Open Semi-Final
10 Roger Federer vs. Andy Roddick 2009 Wimbledon Final
9 Novak Djokovic vs. Rafael Nadal 2012 Australian Open Final
8 Pete Sampras vs Andre Agassi 2001 US Open Quarter-Final
7 Rafael Nadal vs. Fernando Verdasco 2009 Australian Open Semi-Final
6 John Isner vs Nicolas Mahut 2010 Wimbledon 1st Round
5 Rafael Nadal vs. Roger Federer 2008 Wimbledon Final
4 Roger Federer vs Pete Sampras 2001 Wimbledon 4th Round
3 Ivan Lendl vs John McEnroe 1984 French Open Final
2 John McEnroe vs Bjorn Borg 1981 Wimbledon Final
1 Bjorn Borg vs John McEnroe 1980 Wimbledon Final


15. Novak Djokovic vs. Roger Federer (2019)

The 2019 Wimbledon final is the most recent match to join this list. Considered one of the best tennis matches, many people supported Roger Federer.

Unfortunately, Novak Djokovic could hold them off and win the match despite playing as well as he could.

Federer and Djokovic during the Cincinnati Tennis 2015 ATP WTA 150
Federer and Djokovic during the Cincinnati Tennis 2015 ATP WTA 150. (Source: Wikimedia)

Moreover, the match lasted over 5 hours, and under the old rules, Djokovic and Federer would have fought for far longer. When the final set reached 12-all, Wimbledon modified the format to a fifth-set tiebreak.

However, Djokovic came out on top 7-3 in the tiebreak by making good plays.

14. Stan Wawrinka vs. Novak Djokovic

The match between Stan Wawrinka and Novak Djokovic in the 2015 French Open Final is sometimes ignored; however, it may be one of the most unexpected losses in tennis history.

During this match, Stan Wawrinka defeated Roger Federer in the quarterfinals and Novak Djokovic in four sets in the finals. He defeated the world’s number one and number two players simultaneously.

Practising with Jeremy Chardy. Aegon Championships, Queen's Club, June 2015.
Practicing with Jeremy Chardy. Aegon Championships, Queen’s Club, June 2015. (Source: Wikimedia)

This was the best and the least expected thing to see in a tennis championship tournament. 

Although Djokovic had an early lead by winning the first set, Wawrinka came back to win the following two stages. He went on to win the following three groups without needing to use a tiebreak. 

13. Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal

Roger Federer was in a rut in Grand Slam victories before the 2017 Australian Open. However, although his last victory occurred in 2012, many speculated that his championship days were over.

As a result, many thought that Rafael Nadal was anticipated to put him away after reaching the final and extend his run as the younger player after reaching the final.

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal defeated Sam Querrey and Jack Sock 6-4, 1-6, 10-5 to earn two points for Team Europe on the second day of the 2017 Laver Cup held in Prague, Czech Republic. (Source: Flickr)

To everyone’s surprise, things didn’t go according to plan, as Federer took an early lead and won the opening set. In other words, Federer performed one of the finest sets of his career in the third set after Nadal leveled the match.

Hence, after winning in the fifth, he became a Grand Slam Champion for the fifth time at the age of 35.

12. Novak Djokovic vs. Roger Federer (2014)

Djokovic was one of the most dominating players until 2011. However, he slowed down and stopped winning majors. 

However, in 2014, he was able to turn the corner and start a fantastic run by defeating Roger Federer in the final in five sets.

Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer at RG 2011. (Source: Wikimedia)

Two tiebreaks were played throughout the game, with the first set being one of the most stunning in Grand Slam tennis history.

The players understood how essential it was to get off to a fast start, and Federer came back to win 9-7 in a tiebreak. Here, Djokovic was able to win all of the other crucial games, eventually breaking in the fourth and fifth sets to capture his title.

11. Rafael Nadal vs. Novak Djokovic

This may be the most revealing evidence of Rafael Nadal‘s supremacy on clay courts. This is one of the best tennis matches of all time. Nadal went up against Novak Djokovic in his prime.

Many expected Rafael Nadal to quickly knock Djokovic off in the fourth set after a solid third set to grab a two-set lead. 

In this match, both players produced incredible strokes with incredible play. It was fantastic to see the two talented players battle head-to-head, with equal support on each side.

Nadal vs Djokovic at net
Nadal vs. Djokovic at the net. (Source: Wikimedia)

However, in the fifth set, Nadal eventually got a break. Therefore, securing a triumphant victory and winning the French Open for the second time. 

10. Roger Federer vs. Andy Roddick

Considered one of the best tennis matches of all time; both players here were about the same age. Not to mention, both of them were at their peak of success. 

Talking about the match, Roddick appeared to be on his way to beating Federer for the first time. A tiebreak decided two of the five sets, while the last set lasted 30 games.

Roger Federer is striking a ball. (Source: Quote Park)

Despite Roddick’s excellent service, Federer was able to gain the much-needed break. Ultimately, in the end, Roger Federer won the tournament with a score of 5-7, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5), 3-6, 16-14. 

9. Novak Djokovic vs. Rafael Nadal

Known to be the longest Grand Slam Final in the sport’s history. The 2012 Australian Open Final match between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal was a long, arduous one.

The audience could see that both the players had difficulty maintaining their composure throughout the match.

Djokovic vs Nadal
Novak Djokovic vs. Rafael Nadal, 2012 Australian Open Final. (Source: Youtube)

Although both of them were still playing excellent even in the late fifth set, Nadal coming so near to winning was maybe the most aggravating aspect for him.

He got off to an early lead in the fifth set, breaking Djokovic’s serve and leading 4-2. Djokovic stepped it up a level in the fifth set, breaking back and eventually swapping service games until he could die and win 7-5.

8. Pete Sampras vs Andre Agassi

Ranked as one of the best tennis matches of all time, the 2001 U.S. Open match between the two legends, Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi, was excellent even for both of them.

Likewise, they played a four-set encounter in the fourth round, with all sets going to tiebreaks. Sampras was able to win three of them to his incredible serve, allowing him to win the game.

Pete Sampras vs Andre Agassi
Pete Sampras vs Andre Agassi. (Source: Youtube)

Nevertheless, two of the finest American tennis players competed on New York City’s grandest stage. It was one of their final noteworthy encounters.

7. Rafael Nadal vs. Fernando Verdasco

The match between two friends, Nadal and Verdasco, was tricky because they were aware of each of their success strategies.

Many predicted that Fernando Verdasco would succumb to Nadal in straight sets for this match. But, Verdasco was determined to show that this was not the case.

Rafael Nadal vs Fernando Verdasco
Rafael Nadal vs. Fernando Verdasco at the 2009 Australian Open Semi-Final. (Source: Youtube)

Even though the match extended to five sets, Nadal was able to win. It wasn’t an easy win because Verdasco put him to the ultimate test of the tournament, which the match is still remembered today.

6. John Isner vs Nicolas Mahut

Ranked 6th in the list, the 2010 Wimbledon 1st Round match between Isner and Mahut will be one of the longest tennis matches.

Well, talking about the game, the first two sets finished in a split between the two players, so things were relatively tranquil initially.

John Isner vs Nicolas Mahut
John Isner v.s Nicolas Mahut at the 2010 Wimbledon. (Source: Youtube)

Although their return games are mediocre, They had excellent service and return skills. As a result, the match became a multi-day affair. It finally came down to Isner winning the fifth set 70-68. 

5. Rafael Nadal vs. Roger Federer

Maybe it’s because the match was between two rivals or because of how awesome it was, but this match was a hit back at the 2008 Wimbledon Final.

This match began with Nadal taking an early 2-0 lead, but Federer came back in the third and fourth sets to win back-to-back tiebreaks, setting up an epic fifth set. As the two players fought for an advantage, mayhem followed.

Rafael Nadal vs Roger Federer
Rafael Nadal vs Roger Federer during the 2008 Wimbledon Final. (Source: Youtube)

When there was a rain delay, the play had to be momentarily suspended at 5-4. It became more challenging to see, but Nadal eventually broke through and triumphed in the dusk.

Above all, it was a massive moment in Nadal’s career because he demonstrated that he was more than a clay-court expert by dethroning Federer and ending his monopoly on the sport. 

4. Roger Federer vs Pete Sampras

A match between two of the most talented players of all time is considered one of the best tennis matches. During this match, Federer was only 19 years old and was a big underrated player compared to Sampras.

To clarify, at Wimbledon, Sampras was on a 31-match winning streak. This made him the best grasscourt player of all time.

Roger Federer vs Pete Sampras
Roger Federer and Pete Sampras after a match. (Source: Pinterest)

Two of the sets went to a tiebreak; however, after finding a way to break the Sampras’s serve, Federer was able to win 7-5. 

3. Ivan Lendl vs John McEnroe

In the 1984 French Open Final, McEnroe was voted the most likely to win the Grand Slam championship. In addition, he was comfortably winning the opening two sets.

However, to everyone’s surprise, Lendl began to acquire more and more momentum after winning the third set.

Ivan Lendl vs. John McEnroe at the French Open Final in 1984. (Source: Youtube)

In the fourth set, some McEnroe antics switched to support Lendl. Lendl then rode the wave to victory.

2. John McEnroe vs Bjorn Borg (1981)

Ranked as one of the best tennis matches of all time, John McEnroe vs. Bjorn Borg‘s 1981 Wimbledon Final is many people’s favorite tennis match. 

Many doubted McEnroe’s ability to break through Borg’s play during this match. However, McEnroe’s first of three grass-court wins were among the most memorable moments.

John McEnroe vs Bjorn Borg 1981
John McEnroe vs Bjorn Borg during the 1981

Even though two of the sets went to a tiebreak, McEnroe won each of them. Due to this, he could win four sets and finally win the game.

1. Bjorn Borg vs John McEnroe (1980)

This is the best tennis match of all time because it was filled with the most memorable moments with the grandest of play by both players. 

In the beginning, the game started slow for Borg, losing the first set 6-1. However, the following sets would be much tighter.

John McEnroe vs Bjorn Borg
John McEnroe vs. Bjorn Borg during the Wimbledon Final 1980. (Source: Youtube)

The fifth set was completed with a score of 18-16 for the Swedish legend Bjorn Borg


It was challenging to rank the matches of these incredible players, given how skilled they were and how interesting each game was.

So, out of these matches, which one was your favorite one? Feel free to let us know.

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Sanjib Sah
Sanjib Sah
Sanjib Sah is an engineer and content writer passionate about sports and athletics. With a background in engineering and a love for all things active, Sanjib brings a unique perspective to the world of sports writing. Whether he is covering the latest trends in sports technology or sharing tips on improving your game, Sanjib's words are always rooted in a deep appreciation for players' hard work and dedication everywhere. In his free time, you can find him hitting the courts or hitting the trails, always looking for new ways to challenge himself and improve his skills.

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