5 Best Wimbledon Matches in the 21st Century
Wimbledon is regarded as one of the most prestigious tournaments in the history of tennis. In addition to that, it’s also the oldest official tournament as it has been taking place since 1877. The Grand Slam also attains the most strict set of rules and regulations, even in the modern era and it’s also the only Major where night matches are not conducted.
Thus, over the years, the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club have witnessed happiness as well as agony at uncountable junctures. It has seen players finding their way towards the top and it has also witnessed individuals drowning in the ocean of disappointment.
However, one aspect that has been the same over the years is the intensity of the matches in the tournament. Hence, without further ado, let’s take a look at the 5 Best matches of the 21st Century in Wimbledon.
#5 John Isner vs Nicolas Mahut: 2010 First Round
The longest match in the history of tennis was played in 2010 at Wimbledon between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut. The match lasted for 665 minutes (11 hours and 5 minutes) and it took three days to get completed officially. On day one, after four sets were completed, the play was suspended because of the lack of natural light.
Consequently, no one was aware of what they are going to witness when they arrived at Court 18 the next day. It was expected that the match will surely find its conclusion on the second day as only the fifth set was remaining. However, nothing similar to that happened as both players were not ready to give up.
Thus, the play on day two was also suspended after the score was 59-59 in the fifth set after 10 hours of playing. Moreover, the officials also had to revamp the electronic scoreboard on the second day after it stopped working at 47-47. It happened because it wasn’t programmed to display numbers higher than 47.
Tennis icon John McEnroe also joined the audience of Court 18 to witness the match on Day 3. Thus, after another hour of hardship, the 23rd-seeded American finally managed to win the marathon in the 138th game of the final set. Moreover, following the change in the rules in 2019, something like the 11-hour marathon between Isner and Mahut is highly unlikely to be seen again.
#4 Venus Williams vs Lindsay Davenport: 2005 Final
During her young days, Venus Williams was a complete tennis player. In addition to her powerful forehands, she was swift and agile on the tennis court. Consequently, her physical prowess was one of the major reasons why she dominated the women’s singles event at Wimbledon in the 2000s. She has won five singles grass-court Majors in her professional career, however, her most memorable triumph was recorded in 2005 when she defeated compatriot Lindsay Davenport in the championship final.
Venus Williams was seeded 14th for the tournament, ten spots behind her younger sister, fourth-seeded Serena Williams, and, significantly behind the favorite, Lindsay Davenport. Venus started her campaign with a win against lucky loser, Eva Birnerová. Later, she went on to triumph over the likes of Nicole Pratt, Daniela Hantuchová, Jill Craybas, Mary Pierce, and Maria Sharapova without dropping a single set to reach the final, where she was up against top seed, Davenport.
It was said during the time that Williams got an easier draw as compared to Davenport, who had to face Amélie Mauresmo and Kim Clijsters on her way to the final. However, as the crowning fixture got underway, the three-time singles Grand Slam champion won the first set 4-6, and it was the first time when Venus Williams lost a set in her 2005 Wimbledon campaign. However, Venus eventually managed to craft an unforgettable comeback at the All England Lawn Tennis Club by winning the match (4–6, 7–6(7–4), 9–7).
#3 Roger Federer vs Novak Djokovic: 2019 Final
Whenever we mention Wimbledon, the name of Roger Federer can’t go unnoticed. He has won eight singles titles at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, which is the highest by any male tennis player in history. However, his 2019 campaign has a larger significance because he was playing at the time with a massive knee issue. Also, not to forget, the reason behind his retirement was also his knee Injury and the series of surgeries he had to go through between 2019 to 2021.
Thus, in 2019, all the tennis zealots got to witness an unforgettable Wimbledon classic between the top two seeds Federer and Djokovic. The fixture got underway with the first set getting forced into a tie-break, 7-5 in favor of Djokovic. Federer stunned the Serb in the second set with a 1-6 win, however, keeping his tie-break record clear, Nole grasped the lead in the third set 7-6 (7-4).
Nevertheless, with a breakpoint, the Swiss Maestro wrenched the match into the decider. Game after game, the two tennis legends were proving their on-court prowess with every single strike. Thus, due to changes in the rules, after 24 games, the decider was also forced into a tie-break, which was captured by the Serb 13-12 (7-3).
#2 Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal: 2008 Final
Roger Federer was the defending champion when he walked in the 2008 Wimbledon. He was already a grass-court icon as he was continuously triumphing at the green surface Major since 2003. The Swiss Maestro was achieving massive success on grass holding Rafael Nadal, however, on the other side, the King of Clay was stopping Federer from winning the Roland Garros. Thus, a major rivalry between the tennis stars was getting cemented.
Interestingly, in 2008, after Nadal defeated Federer to win his 4th French Open title, he instantly left Paris for London. Seeded first in the Queen’s Club Championships, the Spaniard defeated Novak Djokovic in the final to win the ATP 500 event before Wimbledon. The Swiss Maestro was indomitable at the grass courts of the All England Lawn Tennis Club, on the other hand, Rafael Nadal was in lethal form.
The Spaniard also played in the 2006 and 2007 finals of the grass-court Major, but the Swiss Maestro didn’t let him succeed on both occasions, however, things turned out to be totally different in 2008. Being on a 23-match unbeaten streak, Nadal managed to grasp an early lead over the multi-time Wimbledon winner in the championship final. After winning the two initial sets, (6-4, 6-4), Federer won the further two sets by forcing both into tie break (6-7(5), 6-7(8)).
Thus, the match went into the decider which was eventually won by Rafael Nadal. It was a huge moment for the Spaniard as it was his first Major triumph outside Paris. Consequently, two years later, Nadal won his second and last Wimbledon title when he took down Tomáš Berdych in the 2010 Championship Final.
#1 Novak Djokovic vs Roger Federer: 2014 Final
Roger Federer shaped the men’s division of tennis in the 21st century. His flair and class on the green surface were unmatchable by all of his competitors in the 2000s. However, as the next decade commenced and the factor of age started chasing him, his game started declining drastically.
Moreover, at the same time, names such as Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray reached their prime years. Thus, in the early 2010s, the All England Lawn Tennis Club witness a new champion every year. At the 2014 Wimbledon, Andy Murray was the defending champion, however, he was eliminated by “Baby Fed” Grigor Dimitrov in the quarterfinal. On the other hand, Stan Wawrinka and Milos Raonic were eliminated by the Swiss Maestro.
Thus, in the championship final, it was third seed Roger Federer against top seed Novak Djokovic. During the campaign, Federer was suffering from a couple of injuries and was in visible discomfort. Thus, fans thought Djokovic to craft an easy win over the other member of the “Big 3”.
However, the match turned out to be a massive battle between the two top stars of the game. The Serb’s speed was getting countered by Federer’s flair, on the flip side, the Swiss’s trick shots were not working in front of Djokovic’s forehand. Thus, after 3 hours and 56 minutes of a nip and tuck contest, Djokovic finally managed to win his seventh overall Grand Slam title with the scoreline stating 6–7(7–9), 6–4, 7–6(7–4), 5–7, 6–4.