Tennis was formerly the sport of aristocrats and a way for them to spend a nice time in the sun and stay in shape. However, the tennis players of today are real gladiators, often pushing themselves to the ultimate limits to come out on top at the end. This mentality brought about many legendary matches that will forever be remembered in the mind of every true tennis fan. Here are the greatest tennis matches of the last decade.

The Final of Australian Open 2012: Rafael Nadal vs Novak Djokovic

This match saw Djokovic come out on top against Nadal 5–7, 6–4, 6–2, 6–7, 7–5 in the longest Grand Slam final in history, with 5 hours and 53 minutes. Since both players were in the shapes of their lives, the match will be recorded as the battle for survival that sparked a lasting rivalry between them, featuring some incredible shots. Another amazing thing is that Djokovic came from a semifinal win against Murray that lasted 4 hours and 50 minutes. Even though Nadal is more adapted to clay surfaces, he played a fantastic match. According to him, this was the best match he played and the toughest defeat of his career.

The Final of Wimbledon 2008: Rafael Nadal vs Roger Federer

Some people call this 6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 9-7 win by Nadal the greatest match of all times. It was difficult to imagine that one of the two players had to lose this match since they both exhibited some first-class tennis. Nadal was in a 2-1 lead when Federer managed to bounce back and tie the set count, despite a missed match point by Nadal in the fourth set. The final set was a collage of unused break points and tension and drama; finally, Nadal managed to steal a serve from Federer at a 7-7 tie in the fifth set and snatch a 9-7 win after a whole 4 hours and 48 minutes of play, making it the longest Wimbledon final of all times.

Two months after this victory, Nadal finally dethroned Federer as number 1 on the ATP list after his record 237-week streak as world number 1.

First Round of Wimbledon in 2010: John Isner vs Nicholas Mahut

What’s so special about a match in the first round of Wimbledon? Well, this one set more than ten tennis records. And if you know that Isner won 6-4, 3-6, 6-7, 7-6, 70-68, it should be clear why that happened. Since Grand Slams do not allow a tiebreaker in the fifth set, the game was played until someone made a two-game difference. This was the longest set in tennis history with 8 hours and 11 minutes, and the whole match is the longest ever with 11 hours and 5 minutes. The match was played on three consecutive days, the fading light interrupting the match twice.

These matches are all truly an embodiment of the mental strength and sportsmanship that tennis represents.

The Greatest Tennis Matches of this Decade