By Randy Walker
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal played what people are calling the most historic men’s Grand Slam singles final ever at the 2017 Australian Open. Federer won his 18th major singles title with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 victory over his arch rival to stave off Nadal, a winner of 14 career major singles titles, from closing the gap on his record of major championships. The 35-year-old Federer, playing in his first tournament in six months due to injury, came back from 1-3 down in the fifth set to win the final five games of the match.
It indeed was a hallmark event in the history of tennis and attracted major attention across the globe. But where does this match really stack up in the pantheon of the greatest tennis matches of all time? How does it compare with the other Federer vs. Nadal matches or others epic matches like Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe at 1980 Wimbledon or Don Budge and Gottfried von Cramm in Davis Cup in 1937.
Steve Flink is the authority on the greatest tennis matches of all time being the author of the book by the same name “The Greatest Tennis Matches of All Time” available here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0942257936/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_x_6DKKyb8WK95HH Flink, recently announced for election into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, was in Australia and watched the match in person and labeled the final as a “classic” but not among the very greatest ever.
“This was a classic final but not an epic like the Novak Djokovic – Rafael Nadal final of 2012,” Flink said via email en route back to the United States.
The 2012 Novak Djokovic – Rafael Nadal Australian Open final, won by Djokovic 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7 (5), 7-5 actually stopped the presses for “The Greatest Tennis Matches of All Time” as it was inserted as the No. 7 match of all time and a photo of Djokovic and Nadal was placed and the new cover of the book.
The inconsistency of high-level play, however, was one of the reasons why Federer vs. Nadal at the 2017 Australian Open did not measure up against other epic matches.
“Both players were brilliant sporadically but the level was choppy from Rafa in the first and third sets and Federer in the second and fourth,” wrote Flink. “The fifth was riveting and Roger’s comeback in the final set was one of the most impressive of his career.”
Flink rates Nadal’s 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-7 (9), 9-7 win over Federer in the 2008 Wimbledon final as the greatest match of all time, just ahead of the McEnroe vs. Borg Wimbledon final from 1980.
While this match was historic, it does not even rank in the top three of their epic matches, according to Flink.
“Rafa and Roger have had many clashes that surpassed this one like Wimbledon in 2008, the Australian Open 2009 and Rome in 2006,” he wrote. “They are both enduringly great but they are past their primes so their standard in this contest was extraordinary under the circumstances.”
“The Greatest Tennis Matches of All Time” book features profiles and rankings of the greatest matches of all time dating from the 1920s featuring Bill Tilden and Suzanne Lenglen up through the modern era of tennis featuring contemporary stars Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova. Flink breaks down, analyzes and puts into historical context the sport’s most memorable matches, providing readers with a courtside seat at these most celebrated and significant duels. Flink also includes a fascinating “greatest strokes of all time” section where he ranks and describes the players who best executed all the important shots in the game through the years. Other champions featured in the book include Don Budge, Maureen Connolly, Rod Laver, Margaret Court, Billie Jean King, John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf among many others.
“The Greatest Tennis Matches of All Time,” a hard-cover book that retails for $28.95, can be purchased via this link http://m1e.net/c?110071729-mFSTVX3uyJ5zw%407612075-hqIGItXY8SJAw at www.NewChapterMedia.com and where ever books are sold.
Flink, one of the most respected writers and observers in the game, is currently a columnist for TennisChannel.com. A resident of Katonah, N.Y., he is the former editor of World Tennis magazine and a former senior columnist at Tennis Week.
The book has received high praise from some of the most respected names in the sport, including Chris Evert, a winner of 18 major singles titles, who wrote the foreword to the book.
Said seven-time Wimbledon champion Pete Sampras, “Steve Flink was there reporting on almost every big match I played in my career. He has seen all of the great players for the last 45 years. I encourage you to read this book because Steve is one of the most insightful writers on the game that I have known and he really knows his tennis.”
Said former U.S. Davis Cup captain and player Patrick McEnroe, “As a writer and a fan, Steve Flink’s knowledge of tennis history and his love of the sport are second to none, which is why you should read his new book.”
Said ESPN’s Cliff Drysdale, “To see tennis through the eyes of Steve Flink is to wander through a wonderland. These are not fantasies because Steve captures the essence of tennis matches in graphic detail. There is no one more passionate or caring about his subject. In this absorbing book, I can relive matches that I have called on television.”
Said CBS, NBC and Tennis Channel commentator Mary Carillo, “The Greatest Tennis Matches of All Time is a masterful tennis epic. Its pages are brimming with insight, hindsight. And as always with Steve Flink, the 20/20 vision of the subtleties and complexities of a match. From Budge to Nadal and “Little Mo” to Serena Williams, Steve will guide you through the greatest matches you ever saw, or never saw. The game’s finest players and brightest moments will come alive and play again, right before your eyes. This book is a tennis treasure.”
Founded in 1987, New Chapter Press (www.NewChapterMedia.com) is also the publisher of “The Greatest Jewish Tennis Players of All Time” by Sand Harwitt, “The Secrets of Spanish Tennis” by Chris Lewit, “Roger Federer: Quest for Perfection” by Rene Stauffer, “The Bud Collins History of Tennis” by Bud Collins, “The Education of a Tennis Player” by Rod Laver with Bud Collins, “The Wimbledon Final That Never Was” by Sidney Wood, “The Days of Roger Federer” by Randy Walker, “Acing Depression: A Tennis Champion’s Toughest Match” by Cliff Richey and Hilaire Richey Kallendorf, “Titanic: The Tennis Story” by Lindsay Gibbs, “Jan Kodes: A Journey To Glory From Behind The Iron Curtain” by Jan Kodes with Peter Kolar, “Tennis Made Easy” by Kelly Gunterman, “On This Day In Tennis History” by Randy Walker (www.TennisHistoryApp.com) “A Player’s Guide To USTA League Tennis” by Tony Serksnis, “Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games” by Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli (www.Boycott1980.com), “The Lennon Prophecy” by Joe Niezgoda (www.TheLennonProphecy.com), “Bone Appetit, Gourmet Cooking For Your Dog” by Susan Anson, “How To Sell Your Screenplay” by Carl Sautter, “The Rules of Neighborhood Poker According To Hoyle” by Stewart Wolpin, “How To Permanently Erase Negative Self Talk” by Emily Filloramo, “Lessons from the Wild” by Shayamal Vallabhjee among others.