Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Novak Djokovic’s epic five-set victory over Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final was the longest Grand Slam final in the Open Era.
But was the latest Nadal-Djokovic battle the Greatest Match of All Time?
Nadal said he ranks the match — which required 5 hours 53 minutes — alongside the historic 2008 Wimbledon final in which he beat Roger Federer, 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-7 (8), 9-7, in 4 hours 48 minutes.
“For me it was a little bit more special, the 2008 (Wimbledon final),” Nadal said. “But I really understand that (the Australian final) was a really special match, and probably a match that gonna be in my mind not because I lost, no, because the way that we played.”
There is no definitive criteria for ranking the “Greatest Match of All Time,” but the 1980 Wimbledon final between arch-rivals John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg is always in the conversation. McEnroe saved five match points en route to capturing an epic 18-16 fourth-set tiebreak, but couldn’t break Borg’s serve in the fifth and lost the final set 8-6.
I watched that match at my parents’ home in Crugers, N.Y., along with the 1982 Davis Cup quarterfinal between Sweden and the USA in which McEnroe battled Mats Wilander across 6 hours 22 minutes before prevailing 9–7, 6–2, 15–17, 3–6, 8–6. It was the longest match in Davis Cup history and I recall this about it: my father left our house after the match started, drove to my grandparents’ home in Somerville, N.J., spent a few hours with them, drove home and the match was still going on.
The 2010 first-round Wimbledon match between John Isner and French qualifier Nicolas Mahut was the longest match in tennis history in terms of both time and number of games.
After 11 hours 5 minutes of play across three days, Isner prevailed, 6–4, 3–6, 6–7 (7), 7-6 (3), 70–68 for a total of 183 games.
So what’s your vote for the Greatest Match of All Time?
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.