Tennis, a sport renowned for its physical and mental demands, has witnessed some of the most incredible comebacks in sports history. These moments, where players turned the tide against seemingly insurmountable odds, are not just about victory; they are testaments to resilience, determination, and the indomitable spirit of the human will. Here, we rank the top five comebacks in tennis, from the most arduous to the least, each a remarkable story of triumph against the odds.
1. 2019 Australian Open Final – Novak Djokovic vs Dominic Thiem
At the top of the list is Novak Djokovic’s comeback against Dominic Thiem in the 2019 Australian Open final. Battling extreme heat and an opponent in peak form, Djokovic overcame a two sets to one deficit. His remarkable recovery and eventual victory in five sets was a display of his extraordinary endurance and mental fortitude.
2. 1984 French Open Final – Ivan Lendl vs John McEnroe
Ivan Lendl’s comeback against John McEnroe in the 1984 French Open final is a classic tale of resilience. McEnroe, then at the height of his powers, took a two-set lead. However, Lendl, undeterred by the daunting task ahead, fought back to win the next three sets. This match marked a turning point in Lendl’s career and is remembered for his incredible mental resilience.
3. 2001 Wimbledon Fourth Round – Goran Ivanišević vs Tim Henman
Goran Ivanišević’s journey at Wimbledon in 2001 was nothing short of a fairy tale. Ranked 125th in the world and given a wildcard entry, Ivanišević’s most notable comeback was against Tim Henman in the semi-finals. After losing the first set and facing relentless pressure, Ivanišević rallied to win in a dramatic five-setter, showcasing his unwavering spirit.
4. 2012 Australian Open Final – Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal
Another epic encounter featuring Novak Djokovic was the 2012 Australian Open final against Rafael Nadal. In a grueling match that lasted nearly six hours, Djokovic came back from a break down in the final set to clinch the title. This match is often cited as one of the greatest finals in tennis history, a testament to Djokovic’s incredible physical and mental endurance.
5. 2005 Australian Open – Marat Safin vs Roger Federer
Completing the list is Marat Safin’s victory over Roger Federer in the 2005 Australian Open semi-final. Federer, in his prime, was the favorite to win. Safin, however, mounted a remarkable comeback, saving match points in the fourth set and eventually triumphing in a fifth-set tiebreak. This victory, characterized by Safin’s resilience and tactical acumen, ended Federer’s 26-match winning streak in Grand Slams.
In conclusion, these five comebacks represent some of the most memorable and inspiring moments in tennis history. They are reminders of the sport’s unpredictability and the remarkable capacity of players to overcome adversity. Each story is a unique blend of physical prowess, mental strength, and an unyielding desire to win, making them cherished chapters in the annals of tennis.