Five Most Significant Men's Tennis Matches of the Modern Era
Over the years, tennis has seen thousands of matches. But there were a few that could have lasted long, that could have scripted a player's career in a particular way and those which could have changed the way we see tennis.
This is a look back at the five most significant men's tennis matches in the modern era.
1984 French Open : Ivan Lendl vs. John McEnroe
When this game happened, John McEnroe was on the most blissful form of his life. He had not lost a single game that year and was a sure shot favorite. Lendl on the other hand did not have a single Grand Slam to his name. He was still considered a newbie when it came to the big stages.
McEnroe, as expected, blew Lendl off and captured the first two sets. McEnroe lost his cool and started shouting at the cameraman. Taking advantage of McEnroe's turmoil, Lendl won the third set.
From then, McEnroe never recovered as Lendl won the match 3-6, 2-6, 6-4, 7-5, 7-5.
This was a pivotal point in Lendl's career as he went on to win seven more Grand Slams.
2001 Wimbledon: Goran Ivanisevic vs. Patrick Rafter
A lot has been said about this game, but that doesn't mean I don't have to write about it.
This is by far the ONLY time where I saw a Tennis crowd which was on the verge of going frenzy.
Ivanisevic's story has been made into a major motion picture, and that should tell you about the amount of drama that was involved in this game.
Both Ivanisevic and Rafter were big serving, shot-making, and beautiful net players. This five setter had almost all the aspects of Tennis. In the last set, Ivanisevic broke Rafter and went on to serve for the match.
When Rafter misfired Ivanisevic's serve, the crowd erupted, and the sound blew off the All England Club.
This match gave an illustrious ending to Ivanisevic's otherwise not-so-illustrious career.
2010 John Isner vs. Nicolas Mahut
Longest match ever: most games
Longest match ever: most time
Longest set ever...ever
Most aces ever in a match
Most aces in a single set
Most consecutive service games held in a set or match
These were some of the records of this epic game.
After 11 hours and 216 aces, it was unfair to announce a winner of this game. But it is John Isner's name that will be recorded as the winner of the longest ever Tennis match. The match ended with a scoreline of 6-4, 3-6, 6-7, 7-6, 70-68.
This match was significant in tennis's history. Why? Because it displayed what a gladiator-like sport tennis is, showed the world that tennis is not for everybody, and showed that tennis players never, ever give up!
1980 Wimbledon John McEnroe vs. Bjorn Borg
Normally, tiebreakers are used to resolve a tightly contested game quickly. But that really wasn't the case when McEnroe and Borg took the field to contest the 1980 Wimbledon Finals.
Borg was chasing history, and McEnroe was standing in his way. McEnroe had earlier won the US Open against Borg the previous year, so he had every reason to go for the kill.
McEnroe took the first set and Borg took the next two. Then came the legendary tiebreaker, which lives in the memory of millions, even today.
Borg had five match points (in addition to two held during the fourth set), and McEnroe had seven set points. Eventually, McEnroe prevailed to take the match to a deciding fifth.
In the fifth set, Borg raised the level of his game, winning 28 of 31 points on serve in the set. McEnroe was tiring, and, on several occasions down 0-40, but got out of trouble every time.
But when serving at 6-7, McEnroe went down 15-40 and Borg finally won the match with a cross-court passing shot.
The level of drama, the quality of shot-making, and the class of the players make it one of the most significant games in tennis history.
2001 Pete Sampras vs. Roger Federer
People talk about "passing the crown." If such a term ever existed, then this match is its perfect illustration.
Federer, a seemingly unknown teenager who was making his center court debut, was pitted against the greatest men's tennis player at Wimbledon, Pete Sampras, who was searching his 14th Grand Slam trophy.
Sampras took five sets to lose to Federer. But that wasn't the significance.
This match was significant because it was the first time when we saw the potential of the greatest Grand Slam player of all time.