From Rafael Nadal Losing at French Open to Novak Djokovic Taking 3 Slams, Check Out the Best Matches of 2021

Published 11/27/2021, 8:46 AM EST
Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 13, 2021 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates with the trophy after winning the French Open against Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

The ATP 2021 season showed organizers across the tournaments putting in stringent efforts to make sure fans enjoy tennis after the pandemic made tennis impossible last year. Starting with tournaments in Australia till the year-end championships in Turin, fans were present at most of the events as they almost brought back the essence of pre-pandemic tennis.


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Now that the season is over, we get to compile a list of some of the best men’s singles matches that took place this year. The matches were selected on the basis of their engagement as we go back to the beginning of the year in Australia.

The ‘happy slam’ made sure to give tennis audiences what they missed over the past year, which were some enthralling matchups. Local favorite Nick Kyrgios managed to put up two astonishing performances in Melbourne against Ugo Humbert and Dominic Thiem.


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Nick Kyrgios vs Dominic Thiem – Australian Open 2021

Happened at the Melbourne Arena, this match proved the support Kyrgios enjoys in-front of his home crowd. During the same time, there was yet another crackling contest that was taking place on Rod Laver Arena between Novak Djokovic and Taylor Fritz.

Throughout the whole contest, Thiem’s decision to respect the massive crowd support for Kyrgios and patiently waiting for his chance to break through had paid off as the Aussie imploded at a crucial moment in the third set.

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 12, 2021 Austria’s Dominic Thiem with Australia’s Nick Kyrgios after winning their third round match REUTERS/Jaimi Joy

Since then, the Austrian took over Kyrgion in his own way and went on to win the match. Just for the electrifying atmosphere, this enthralling matchup reminded fans what tennis was like before the pandemic.

Novak Djokovic vs Taylor Fritz – Australian Open 2021

Melbourne fans got to witness two high octane matches during the same day. While Djokovic enjoys a dominant head-to-head run against the American, the latter proved that he can compete with the best through his agile footwork.

However, the third-round match between Fritz and the Serb had its own share of drama. As the fourth set was about to be completed, fans present in the stadium were asked to vacate owing to the lockdown rules.

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Serbia’s Novak Djokovic receives medical attention during his third round match against Taylor Fritz of the U.S. REUTERS/Kelly Defina

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Also, the world no.1 had to battle with an injury throughout the match. During one of his typical stretches to hit a forehand, Djokovic had discomfort in his abdomen and called the trainer. Despite the injury, he marched on to win the match in five sets.

Roger Federer vs Dominik Koepfer – French Open 2021

Whenever Roger Federer steps on a tennis court, there is usually tons of fans in the stadium cheering for the Swiss Maestro. But at the French Open this year, Federer was faced with a new challenge. A crowd-less match late night and a first-time meeting with the German Dominik Koepfer.

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 5, 2021 Switzerland’s Roger Federer in action during his third round match against Germany’s Dominik Koepfer REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Koepfer was determined to give his best in one of the biggest matches of his career. Rightfully so, the German produced top notch tennis to put up a tough fight against Federer. It was a close match going deep into the night as the 20-time major champion found a way to edge past Koepfer in four sets.

Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal – French Open 2021

Djokovic’s reign at Grand Slams began in Melbourne and journeyed its way to Paris. Ahead of the French Open, the Serb lost to Rafael Nadal in the finals of Rome Masters. With Nadal defending his Roland Garros crown getting inevitable every year, Djokovic had a different idea.

After beating Berrettini in the last eight, the Serb set up a mouth-watering semi-final clash against the Spaniard. Their previous encounters had already proved that this would be a clash of the titans.

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 11, 2021 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic shakes hands with Spain’s Rafael Nadal after winning their semi final match REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier

Even the match progressed on the same lines with both players engaging in lengthy baseline rallies with a lot of crosscourt forehands, Djokovic had the final laugh as he raced past Nadal in four sets.

Andy Murray vs Oscar Otte – Wimbledon Championships 2021

For long, fans wanted to see Andy Murray display glimpses of his vintage best in his ATP comeback stint. The Brit’s run at SW19 this year showed that he could still play high-level of tennis and entertain the crowd.

Against Germany’s Oscar Otte in the second round, Murray won the first set and was given a tough fight by Otte in the next two sets. Also, the former world no.1 was successfully engaged the crowd as they rallied him to victory in a nail-biting five-set thriller.

Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Andy Murray – US Open 2021

In yet another engaging contest in a series of initial round thrillers for Murray, he faced Stefanos Tsitsipas at the US Open. In a dramatic match that initiated the bathroom break controversy surrounding the Greek, the contest initiated a new rivalry between the two.


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Aug 30, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece after beating Andy Murray of Great Britain on day one of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Murray was vocally frustrated with Tsitsipas’ long bathroom break during the match and even expressed his disappointment on Twitter. Keeping this aside, Murray put up a tough fight against the Greek which helped him in other tournaments following the US Open.

These were some of the few matches that entertained the crowds whilst maintaining top-natch quality across Grand Slam events throughout the year. Other Masters 1000 tournaments also witnessed good performances from youngsters like Andrey Rublev, Carlos Alcaraz, and Hubert Hurkacz.


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Sagar Ashtakoula

723 articles

Sagar Ashtakoula is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. He has been following the sport since 2007. Sagar has completed his graduation in Electronics and Communication Engineering.