If you’ve seen Borg vs. McEnroe, you’d ask yourself: if this is not the greatest tennis rivalry, then what is? Nothing, but perhaps one of these modern rivalries is a forthcoming, movie-screen worthy the tennis world is waiting.
Men’s tennis rivalries are as intense as that of the women’s. Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Pete Sampras, Andy Murray, and 2019 Wimbledon men’s singles champion, Novak Djokovic are some of the greatest players in recent history. The Golden Era of Tennis is all thanks to these men.
Each has their fair share of momentous rivalries, though. The majority of which are ongoing rivalries and are listed below.
Novak Djokovic vs Andy Murray
Djokovic and Murray had a storied rivalry that started in 2006 with Djokovic’s 14 Grand Slam singles titles as opposed to Murray with only 3. They had seven Grand Slam finals meeting. In the Open era, the Serb and Brit were seeded to meet in the Australian Open finals for four times.
Nonetheless, their 2012 US Open Grand Slam matchup has been one for the books. The game ended after almost 5 hours, with Murray winning his first major title. In 2013, they met again at Wimbledon that Murray had also won. He was the first Brit to win the London major for the first time since 1936.
Novak Djokovic vs Roger Federer
Although Federer has more Grand Slam titles with 20 compared with Djokovic’s 13, Djokovic often prevailed during their head-to-head meetings. Djokovic and the Swiss had a total of 45 meetings.
Dubbed as the male version of the earlier rivalry between Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf, the two are the Open era’s hardcourt players. They were the only ones to beat each other in Grand Slam tournaments. Djokovic prevailed over Federer, however, at the 2014, 2015, and 2019 Wimbledon as well as 2011 and 2015 US Open. Federer defeated Djokovic in 2007 US Open, and also in 2008 during the semifinals, which is considered as another classic.
Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal
Interestingly, Djokovic leads their head-to-head career meeting with 27 against Nadal’s 25. On the other end of the court, however, Nadal leads Grand Slam tournaments meetings with 9 to 5, finals with 4 to 3 and singles titles with 17 to 13. Their meetings have been the hardest to predict, experts agreed.
Nadal had 14 more faceoffs with Djokovic than with Federer. Djokovic and Nadal were the two top tennis players to meet in four Grand Slam finals. Nadal won nine of their 14 meetings and four in seven meetings on Grand Salm finals. Their 2012 Australian Open finals was considered as one of the greatest Grand Slam finals at almost 6 hours. Djokovic won in five sets.
Rafael Nadal vs Roger Federer
Two of the most respected tennis players in the Open era, Nadal and Federer rivalry is an even matchup. Nadal leads Grand Slam tournaments head-to-head meetings and finals with 9 and 3, respectively, against Federer’s 3 and 3. However, Federer has more Grand Slam titles with 20 compared with that of Nadal’s with 17. They had a total of 38 meetings.
Their most epic game was the 2008 Wimbledon final–their third consecutive year. Federer was looking to win his sixth consecutive Centre Court finals trophy, but Nadal won’t let him. Nadal got the better of Federer in a five-set win. Their most recent duel was the 2017 Australian Open final, with which Federer has also won.