Federer vs. Nadal? McEnroe vs. Borg? Sampras vs. Agassi? All incredible rivalries, but none will compare to Nadal vs. Djokovic when their incredible careers are over.
Everyone thought that the Federer vs. Nadal rivalry would be the career defining rivalry for Nadal, if not the best rivalry ever. Then came a guy named Novak Djokovic. Nadal transitioned the world to the post-Federer dominating everyone era, but Djokovic wasn't just going to hand this era to Nadal, oh no. He was going to start a new rivalry, one that would become so crucial it could define a decade of tennis.
They have now played 30 matches and are at a 16-14 split. That means they only need to play six more times to pass McEnroe vs. Lendl for most matches in the same rivalry. Considering Nadal and Djokovic are 25 and 24 years old, that record will almost definitely be shattered. In fact, there's a good chance it could be broken this year.
They have won the past eight grand slams and have played each other in the past three grand slam finals. They are clearly at the top of the tennis world and are, essentially, the only men still competing for grand slams. Sure, there's Federer, Murray and Del Potro, but does anyone really see them beating either Djokovic or Nadal?
They are going to own the next five years and as anyone can see, they are going to be an amazing five years. When all is said and done, they could be two of the best four players to ever play the game, along with Federer and Sampras.
The 2012 Australian Open Final will go down as one of the greatest matches ever played and may even go on to define this rivalry.
All I know is, as an avid tennis fan, I can't wait to see how it plays out and I'm going to count myself lucky to be able to witness two players of this caliber playing at the same time.
If you thought the Australian Open final was incredible, watch out— this is just the start of an incredible decade.
Who do you think is the best rivalry of all time? Now? Five years from now? Answer in the comment section.