Tennis fans have taken to social media recently to reflect on the 'mind-blowing rivalry' between Big Three members Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, specifically focusing on their four consecutive Grand Slam finals across 2011 and 2012.
Tennis legends Nadal and Djokovic have influenced the sport in countless ways over the course of their careers. Both men have broken record after record and hold the two-highest numbers of Grand Slam titles, with Nadal at 22 and Djokovic at 23.
The Spaniard and the Serb have faced each other 59 times over the years, but four of these matches stand out more than others for being consecutive Grand Slam finals, from Wimbledon 2011 until the 2012 French Open.
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Nadal and Djokovic's historic finals streak
This streak began at the 2011 Wimbledon final, where Nadal was the defending champion. However, it was Djokovic that emerged victorious after one of many difficult battles the pair would play in Grand Slam finals, winning the match 6–4, 6–1, 1–6, 6–3 to claim his first SW19 title.
The next major final that the pair locked horns in was the 2011 US Open, where defending champion Djokovic successfully held onto his title, ending the match with a four-set victory 6–2, 6–4, 6–7(3), 6–1.
The now 36-year-old was the defending champion again at the 2012 Australian Open final, and once again successfully maintained his title against Nadal after a brutal five-set battle, winning 5–7, 6–4, 6–2, 6–7(5), 7–5. The final is the longest in Australian Open history, lasting 5 hours and 53 minutes. Afterward, the two players were so exhausted that they were barely able to stand.
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The legendary tennis rivalry was on display once again in the final of the Roland Garros, and after becoming the first man to lose three consecutive major finals in the Open Era, Nadal took the victory on his best surface.
By defeating Djokovic 6–4, 6–3, 2–6, 7–5, the now 37-year-old also broke Bjorn Borg's record of six titles at the clay-court major, and he would go on to win the Slam a further seven times, totaling 14 victories.
Finally, the players' monumental streak came to an end after Roger Federer and Andy Murray made the Wimbledon final in 2012.
Nadal has missed most of this season due to injury and has announced his plans to retire in 2024. However, Djokovic is still playing, lifting the trophy at both the Australian Open and French Open earlier this year.