There are very few matches in history which will give you goosebumps just thinking about the result. The Australian Open final 2012, The Australian Open final 2017. Wimbledon 2008. When the stakes are the highest possible level in tennis, one thing is for certain: Rafael Nadal will never die wondering.
Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev have met in two grand slam finals at different majors, and each match has been nothing short of enthralling, and a two-sided affair.
Many pundits may suggest the US Open 2013 final and the US Open 2011 semi-final as the exhilarating matches of all time at the US Open. However, the 2013 final ended in 4 sets with the final set being won 6-1. The crowd was just sitting for the formality, there was really no coin toss as to who would lift the winners trophy. In terms of the 2011 US Open semifinal, the match was a semi-final, and winning a semi-final doesn’t particularly mean anything in the grand scheme of things.. It is the winner takes all feeling of major finals which truly makes tennis the competitive sport many idolise. When the stakes are highest, every return you save while down championship (like Medvedev did in 2019) points is effectively stopping the opponent from touching the silverware.
Astonishingly, both grand slam finals played between Nadal and Medvedev have gone the absolute distance to 5 sets. Their first grand slam final, the 2019 US Open final, lasted 4 hours and 50 minutes.
Their second grand major final? A whopping 5 hours and 24 minutes. Both matches are firmly in the top 4 as the longest grand slam finals in history.
Over the past 5 years, there have been some truly epic all-time matches played. Alex de Minaur vs Marin Cilic 2nd round finished as the latest ending US Open match in history. As well, who can forget the absolute classic which was Khachanov vs Nadal in the 4th round of the 2018 US open.
On hard courts, Medvedev has featured in half of the hard court grand slam finals which have been available over the past 2 seasons.
With the upcoming North American hard court swing right around the corner, we will see a repeat of 2019? That year Nadal and Medvedev respectively played in their last major warmup tournament before the US Open, playing in Montreal, with Nadal winning that title.
Weeks later, on both the men’s and women’s side, we witnessed a repeat matchup in the US Open final. It is quite intriguing, because every major final between Nadal and Medvedev has finished as an all-time classic. The 2019 US Open final was one of the longest and most enjoyable US Open finals in recent memory. The final was a far cry from the straight set matches which occurred in 2017 and 2018. The 2020 final was also unfortunately a let-down for most fans, as the level was just not there.
With the US Open the next major around the corner, we will see chapter 3 in the Nadal v Medvedev rivalry?
If so, is the Nadal-Medvedev rivalry one of the most entertaining and edge-of-your-seat modern day rivalries, and is their 2019 US open match the greatest US Open match of all time?