Among the matches considered by the ATP to be among the most beautiful of the year, there is also room for Jannik Sinner and Matteo Berrettini. The selected matches present several challenges with Carlos Alcatraz: the one that Berrettini won in the third round of the Australian Open (6-2 7-6 4-6 2-6 7-6) and the one he lost, with match points. Available, by Yannick Sinner in the quarter-finals of the US Open (6-3 6-7 6-7 7-6 6-3).
Determining the Match of the Year is great when it’s objectively difficult. Statisticians often count on the difference between winning shots and unexplained fouls: the higher that number, the better the show for the audience. But selection also runs through sensations that cannot be traced back to digital data: facial reflexes, tight scoring and possibly disallowed match points make a match from beautiful to epic, as do the prestige of the players on the pitch and the stakes. Finals or semi-finals are remembered much more than the first or second round. Bjorn Borg’s performance in the 1980 Wimbledon final will have a much higher appeal than the greatness expressed by John McEnroe in the 1983 Wimbledon final against lowly Chris Lewis.
But let’s go back to the epic games. Last year’s match was the Roland Garros semi-final match, which Novak Djokovic beat Rafael Nadal 3-6, 6-3, 7-6, 6-2. It was the 58th head-to-head bout, one of the strongest despite finishing in 4 sets, but with a show of 4 hours and 11 minutes. Djokovic has won this award three years in a row: in 2020 for beating Dominic Thiem in the Australian Open final (6-4 4-6 2-6 6-3 6-4) and in 2019 for a memorable award. Beating Roger Federer in the Wimbledon final (7-6 1-6 7-6 4-6 13-12).
Going back in time, we find here and there many matches that marked the recent history of tennis, Such as the 2017 Australian Open final, which Federer beat Nadal 6-4 3-6 6-1 3-6 6-3, or Stanislas Wawrinka’s victory over Novak Djokovic in the 2015 Roland Garros final (4-6 6-4 6-3 6-4). In Italy, just to mention some of the matches of the past 10 years, we must remember (considering only the successes of the Azzurri) Fognini-Muray in the Davis Cup in 2014, Fognini-Nadal in the US Open 2015, Seppi Federer in the Australian Open 2015, Seppi- Kyrgios at the 2017 Australian Open, Cecchinato-Djokovic at Roland Garros 2018 and Berrettini-Alcaraz in the third round of the 2022 Australian Open.
Extending the horizon to previous decades, matches of the year are also considered Rosewall-Laver WCT Dallas 1972 final, Borg-Gerulaitis Wimbledon semi-final 1977, Connors-Panatta US Open 1978 round of 16, Borg-McEnroe Wimbledon final 1980, Lendl-McEnroe final Roland Garros 1984, Becker Lendl’s 1988 Masters final, Chang Lendl’s eighth at Roland Garros 1989, Sampras Becker’s 1996 Masters final, Sampras-Agassi’s 2001 US Open final, and Nadal Federer’s 2008 Wimbledon final.
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