For more than 15 years running, the GOATs in Tennis are Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and Novak Djokovic. All three have made us witness probably the best era of this sport, which will be hard to repeat. Such exhilarating, high-intensity, and ‘out of the world’ quality Tennis from these gentlemen has made us applaud them every time we watch. As a fan of this sport, the three players have massively contributed to the upliftment of the game and truly become legends. ‘King OF Clay’, Rafael Nadal, the Swiss Maestro, master of grass, Roger Federer, and the adaptive Novak. These names mean something.
At present, Rafael Nadal leads the slams chart by two. He has 22 grand slam titles, and both Roger and Novak are tied at 20. The three make up for a total of 66 titles. This is freaking insane!! Nobody imagined the future of Tennis would be 20-30 years ago. These three players have been completely dominant and, in the near future, likely seem to be the same. Over the years, their rivalry has produced many magical moments for us to witness. Today, I will discuss my personal top 5 matches played between the three players, totally unbiased. It will be really exciting to see and for you to read.
Top 5 Matches: Match 5- Novak Djokovic Vs Roger Federer 2019 Wimbledon
This is the longest Wimbledon final, beating 2008 final and making my list at no 4 in the top 5 matches ever played. Federer was looking for his ninth Wimbledon title and did not want a repeat of his losses in 2014 and 2015 Wimbledon. The match all the way looked equal, and both of them had their fair share of winners and unforced errors. The first went to Nole, who won it 7-6. In the second set, Roger came back and showed his class, absolutely pure class. He won the second set comfortably 1-6. The third was again a long and hard-fought set. So many brilliant and beautiful rallies, amazing winners, volleys, and lobs.
Djokovic again came on top and narrowly won the set 7-6. This game was completely going back and forth. The fourth set was a display of Roger’s ability to come back. He stayed in the rallies and, point by point, managed to take the fourth, 4-6. The fifth set, easily the longest set, had everything the audience wished for. Drama, passion, fame, respect, just everything. It took a score of 13-12 for Djokovic to come out victorious. Novak Djokovic defeated Roger Federer, 7-6, 1-6, 7-6, 4-6, 13-12.
Match 4: Novak Djokovic Vs Rafael Nadal 2012 Australian Open Final- Top 5 Tennis Matches
The longest grand slam final match in its history, the 2012 Australian Open Final between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal ranks no 3 in the list of top 5 tennis matches ever. This match was so physically exhausting for the players that they were not able to stand during the post-match ceremony. In the first set, as usual, both players show their best shots to each other, matching shot by shot. Rafa took the first set 5-7. Novak bounces back and, in a convincing fashion, takes the second set 6-4.
The third follows a similar story, and Novak, with an upper hand, took the third, 6-2. Rafa, as always, is a fighter, who doesn’t know when to give up, and fights hard in the third. Long rallies, covering a lot of distance for each point, were sure a treat to watch. However, Nadal, like on many other occasions, manages to step and win the set 6-7. This makes for an epic fifth set. The fifth set, in hindsight, is really tough for Nadal’s fans to digest. He was 2-4 up in the final set but somehow loses his serve. From there on, Rafa was not able to recover and loses the set 7-5. After 5 hours and 53 minutes, Novak Djokovic beat Rafael Nadal 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7, 7-5.
Match 3: Roger Federer Vs Rafael Nadal 2009 Australian Open
After the 2008 Wimbledon final, the duo meets again in the 2009 Australian Open final. Having already beaten Roger on the grass, Rafa looked to be the man to beat Roger again, but this time on hard court. Rafael Nadal takes a tough first set 5-7. Roger comes back in the second to win it 6-2. The third set is a very tough one, but Rafa edges it and wins 6-7. Roger again comes back and convincingly wins the set 6-3. The final set showed Rafa’s dominance, and he took home the set 2-6. 2009 Australian Open final, Roger Federer lost to Rafael Nadal, 5-7, 6-2, 6-7, 6-3, 2-6.
Match 2: Rafael Nadal Vs Novak Djokovic 2013 French Open Semi-Final
2013 was probably one of Nadal’s best years in terms of what he achieved on the court. Novak Djokovic was world no 1 at that time and was dominating the majority of tournaments. But French Open was one thing where he always felt short. He was in prime condition and had performed really well against Rafa on clay prior to French Open. That final was the closest, Novak managed to beat Rafa in the French Open final. The match lasted for 4 hours and 37 minutes. In the first set, Rafa kept it intact and won the first set 6-4. In the second, Novak showed his world no 1 class and won the set 3-6. The third was clear cut on Rafa’s side as he took it 6-1. The fourth was a very hard-fought game, and again Djokovic showed his class and came back to take the set 6-7. Fifth was a major deciding factor as it was no less than a roller coaster ride for both the players. With a lot of ups and downs, sometimes Rafa or sometimes Djoko, it was Rafa in the end who took away the set 9-7. After such extraordinary efforts by both the men, Rafael Nadal beat Novak Djokovic 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-7, 9-7.
Match 1- Roger Federer Vs Rafael Nadal 2008 Wimbledon
Arguably the best match in the history of Tennis ranks no 1 in the list of top 5 matches ever played. 2008 Wimbledon was the start of Rafael Nadal’s career as an all-around player, especially a grasscourt player. Before this, he tried his best against Roger but was able to surpass his supreme grass play. Both in 2006 and 2007, Rafa reached the final of Wimbledon but lost to Roger. 2008 final was the resurgence for Rafa as he managed to beat Roger for the first time on grasscourt. The 4-hour 48 minutes match saw probably the best set of Tennis to be ever played. Many experts and ex-players believe so, and if you watch the match again on Youtube, you will also believe that. The match started off as equal as possible, and improved Rafa was seen as opposed to the previous finals. He gave Roger a tough fight, every point was hard-fought, and in the ninth game, Rafa managed to break his serve. He won the set 6-4.
The second set followed a similar story, and Rafa won the set again, 6-4. An amazing turn of events was to take place. As close as the match was, it was anybody’s game to win, and Roger displayed why he is a class apart. Under pressure to win and make a comeback, Federer won the third set in a tiebreak, taking the set 6-7. The fourth set followed a similar story where everything seemed equal. 1-2 down, Roger again managed to win the set in the tiebreak, 6-7 the score. Down to the final set, momentum had completely gone to Roger, and things looked ugly for Rafa. Famous for his mental strength, Rafa did not give up. The set continued with some amazing rallies along the way. However, none of them wanted to lose. It was in the very end that Rafa managed to break Roger at 7-7. The score was 8-7, and on his serve, he finished off the match, winning the set 9-7. Rafael Nadal beat Roger Federer 6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 9-7.