One of the best final matches during the French Open took place before I was even born. In 1984, John McEnroe was on top of the tennis world. Entering the match with Ivan Lendl, McEnroe had an astonishing 39-0 record, winning 65 of his prior 67 sets. He had played Lendl before and had never lost—until the French Open finals in the early 90's.
Lendl defeated McEnroe 3-6, 2-6, 6-4, 7-5, 7-5. Lendl was down two sets but managed to fight his way back against one of the best tennis players the world had seen.
A few years after the McEnroe vs. Lendl battle, well-known tennis star Andre Agassi was competing against Jim Courier in the 1991 French Open final. The two men had met before when they were merely students at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida. The 1991 final would be the first all-American final match since 1954, and it was one to remember.
The match lasted three hours and 19 minutes and consisted of 123 unforced errors.
The crowd was roaring, the tension was high, and Agassi's memorable hair was flowing back and forth as he was trying to respond to Courier's monster swings.
Courier won the match 3-6, 6-4, 2-6, 6-1, 6-4 in a gritty battle for the French Open title.
So how does Nadal and Djokovic's intense trip through the French Open final rank when compared to these past matches? Pretty high.
Nadal won his 11th overall Grand Slam title, which now ties him with Bjorn Borg and Rod Laver on the all-time list. He also managed to beat No. 1-ranked Djokovic, who is arguably the biggest threat on the court.
Best match ever? Maybe not.
But the Nadal vs. Djokovic match ranks among the best that the French Open has ever seen.