Men's Match of the Decade No. 7: Djokovic d. Nadal, 2018 Wimbledon

Men's Match of the Decade No. 7: Djokovic d. Nadal, 2018 Wimbledon

The semifinal clash showed us that the greatest show of this decade—Nole vs. Rafa—was still going strong, with the Serbian winning, 6–4, 3–6, 7–6 (9), 3–6, 10–8.

Big Three. Big ballers. Big scores. The 2010s were defined by giant-sized contents on the men's side, which we'll review over the next two weeks.

See the entire men's and women's lists here, and relive each match with our video retrospectives.


When Wimbledon began in 2018, tennis was awash in 10th-anniversary nostalgia for the 2008 final between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. What were the chances we would see something that good again? Against all odds, we did.

In terms of stakes, suspense, and shot-making, the semifinal between Novak Djokovic and Nadal lived up to its predecessor. Why wasn’t it as ballyhooed? Blame it on the stage, not the actors. Where the 2008 final ended in drama-heightening darkness, this semi was first cut short by a curfew, then finished under a roof, despite dry weather the next day.


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But if those drama-reducing circumstances robbed this match of the presentation it deserved, they also made the level of play that Djokovic and Nadal achieved that much more impressive. The unsettled conditions inspired the two to attack at the first opportunity; Djokovic and Nadal came to net 94 times combined, and each finished with 73 winners and 42 errors. Nadal played the flashier, riskier, better tennis, but Djokovic made the most important shot, a hooking crosscourt forehand pass that saved a seemingly unsaveable break point at 7-7 in the fifth, and launched him to his fifth Wimbledon title.

This five-hour thriller won’t go down as the greatest match ever, but it showed us that the greatest show of this decade—Nole vs. Rafa—was still going strong.