Greatest Grand Slam Matches of All Time


STARNBERG, November 2, 2022 (by Chris Renson)

Over more than 100 years of Grand Slam tennis, there has been no shortage of phenomenal matches; those which have written themselves into the annals of tennis history and lodged themselves firmly within the minds of tennis fans the world over. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most memorable Grand Slam matches ever.

  1. Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal, 2008 Wimbledon Final

Widely regarded as the greatest match of all time, the 2008 Wimbledon final had it all. Federer, by this stage of his career, was already well on the way to his status as arguably the greatest of all time, having won 12 Grand Slams to that point, but while Nadal had won four of his own, they had all been on clay at Roland Garros. This was the third consecutive Wimbledon final the two had battled out, with Federer having taken the previous two, and as a result the big bookies – check out this TexBet review for one example – had him down as the favourite. Instead, however, Nadal came out of the blocks like a man possessed, stunning the Swiss Maestro by taking the first two sets 6-4 6-4.

The match could easily have wrapped up in the third set after that one went to a tiebreak, but Federer mustered up all of his brilliance to send it to a fourth set – a set which also went to a tiebreak. Again, Federer reached deep into his bag of tricks with his back against the wall to save two Championship points and win a second consecutive set 7-6, tying the match at 2-2 and sending it to a decider. And what a decider it was. Rain forced the game to a halt, before two of the greatest players to ever pick up a racquet returned to finish off the game with darkness approaching. The final set wasn’t exactly over quickly though; it took 16 games for a winner to be determined, with Nadal ultimately proving victorious in his first Grand Slam title outside of Roland Garros 6-4 6-4 6-7 6-7 9-7.

  1. Roger Federer vs Andy Roddick, 2009 Wimbledon Final

Federer would probably have preferred to have an easier time of things at the 2009 Wimbledon final after his heartbreaking loss the year prior, but Andy Roddick had other ideas. For years, the American could rarely get past Federer, but he kicked this match off positively, winning the first set 7-5. The next two sets went to tiebreaks, but unfortunately for him he lost them both to go down two sets to one. The match seemed to be following a similar arc to many others between these two over the years, but Roddick defied the odds to fight back and win the fourth 6-3.

What followed was a final set which broke all sorts of records. It was comfortably the longest set in a major men’s final, with 30 games taking place before a winner was decided – the previous longest was 20. That final set lasted for a huge 95 minutes, and much to the chagrin of lovers of the underdog, half of the USA and Roddick himself, it was Federer who ended victorious. Come game’s end, the scoreline read 5-7 7-6 7-6 3-6 16-14.

  1. Björn Borg vs John McEnroe, 1980 Wimbledon Final

We hark back nearly three decades from the aforementioned matches now, but again, it’s a Wimbledon final in focus. This was a match between two extremely talented players whose on-court demeanours could hardly have been more different. The cool, calm and collect Borg had already won nine Grand Slams by that point, while McEnroe had won just one, and behaved every bit like somebody who hadn’t been there often before. He was loud, brash, obnoxious, but as we’d come to learn by the end of his career, that demeanour certainly didn’t stand in the way of success.

In the first set of this match at least, he had little to complain about. He beat the more experienced Borg 6-1, but such dominance was never going to last against the Swede. Borg fought back to win the next two sets 7-5 6-3, but McEnroe overcame his frustrations to send it to a deciding set – though he was made to work for it, winning a fourth set tiebreak 16-14. Unfortunately for the abrasive America, it was all for nought as Borg went on to win the final set 8-6, bringing to a close one of the greatest Grand Slam matches of all time.

There have been plenty of other brilliant matches to take place over the course of professional tennis’ history – and not all of them at Wimbledon! The above three, however, stand out from the crowd, and each of them have a legitimate claim at being the greatest Grand Slam match of all time.