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Ricky’s Best Tennis Matches of 2019 • Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, And Andy Murray

By Ricky Dimon

Two of the Big 4 (or what is now the Big 3 plus an on-the-way-back Andy Murray) swept the four Grand Slams in 2019, with Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic each winning two. As such, they finished one-two in the rankings with room to spare. Roger Federer came in at No. 3 and also played his fair share of memorable matches–including against Djokovic in a historic Wimbledon final. Murray, meanwhile, “retired” at the Australian Open only to return later in the season following hip surgery.

Ricky takes a look back on the four multi-slam champions’ 2019 seasons and best matches (not necessarily their best performances, but the best matches in which they were involved–win or lose).

Rafael Nadal

The letter grade is an A+ for anyone who wins two slams and finishes No. 1 in the world. That is exactly what Nadal accomplished, recovering from a beatdown at Djokovic’s hands in the Australian Open title match to once again dominate the clay-court swing. The Spaniard reached at least the semifinals of every single major. And, oh yeah, he also led his country to another Davis Cup title.

Best matches:
Acapulco R2: Nick Kyrgios d. Nadal 3-6, 7-6(2), 7-6(6)

French Open F: Nadal d. Dominic Thiem 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1

Wimbledon R2: Nadal d. Nick Kyrgios 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(3)

Wimbledon SF: Roger Federer d. Nadal 7-6(3), 1-6, 6-3, 6-4

U.S. Open F: Nadal d. Daniil Medvedev 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4

Nitto ATP Finals RR: Nadal d. Daniil Medvedev 6-7(3), 6-3, 7-6(4)

Nitto ATP Finals RR: Nadal d. Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-7(4), 6-4, 7-5

Novak Djokovic

Winning a slam, let alone two, is pretty much an automatic A for anyone. The 2019 campaign looked like it would be even better for Djokovic when he destroyed Nadal in the Aussie Open final, but instead it became a roller-coaster ride. The Serb mostly struggled on clay, bounced back to triumph at Wimbledon, and then endured disappointments at the U.S. Open and Nitto ATP Finals.

Best matches:
Australian Open R4: Djokovic d. Daniil Medvedev 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-3

Monte-Carlo QF: Daniil Medvedev d. Djokovic 6-3, 4-6, 6-2

Madrid SF: Djokovic d. Dominic Thiem 7-6(2), 7-6(4)

Rome QF: Djokovic d. Juan Martin Del Potro 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-4

French Open SF: Dominic Thiem vs. Djokovic 6-2, 3-6, 7-5, 5-7, 7-5

Wimbledon F: Djokovic d. Roger Federer 7-6(5), 1-6, 7-6(4), 4-6, 13-12(3)

Cincinnati SF: Daniil Medvedev d. Djokovic 3-6, 6-3, 6-3

Nitto ATP Finals RR: Dominic Thiem d. Djokovic 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-6(5)

Roger Federer

If Federer had won Wimbledon and that was the only tournament he played in all of 2019, he would have received an A. After all, doing that and that alone at 37 years old (now 38) would have marked one of his greatest accomplishments on a long list. Although it did not quite happen, the Swiss still finished the year No. 3 in the world. He even reached the semifinals at his least favorite slam, the French Open.

Best matches:
Australian Open R4: Stefanos Tsitsipas d. Federer 6-7(11), 7-6(3), 7-5, 7-6(5)

Indian Wells F: Dominic Thiem d. Federer 3-6, 6-3, 7-5

Madrid QF: Dominic Thiem vs. Federer 3-6, 7-6(11), 6-4

Rome R3: Federer d. Borna Coric 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(7)

French Open QF: Federer d. Stan Wawrinka 7-6(4), 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-4

Wimbledon SF: Federer d. Rafael Nadal 7-6(3), 1-6, 6-3, 6-4

Wimbledon F: Novak Djokovic d. Federer 7-6(5), 1-6, 7-6(4), 4-6, 13-12(3)

Andy Murray

Murray gets an “incomplete” grade for reasons he obviously could not control. For what he could control, however, he gets an A+ — at least for perseverance. Following January hip surgery, the Scot managed to return this summer and immediately captured the Queen’s Club doubles title with Feliciano Lopez. A few months after his singles comeback commenced, Murray dramatically lifted the trophy in Antwerp.

Best matches:
Australian Open R1: Roberto Bautista Agut d. Murray 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-7(4), 6-2

Zhuhai R1: Murray d. Tennys Sandgren 6-3, 6-7(6), 6-1

Zhuhai R2: Alex de Minaur d. Murray 4-6, 6-2, 6-4

Shanghai R2: Fabio Fognini d. Murray 7-6(4), 2-6, 7-6(2)

Antwerp SF: Murray d. Ugo Humbert 3-6, 7-5, 6-2

Antwerp F: Murray d. Stan Wawrinka 3-6, 6-4, 6-4

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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