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We’ve been absolutely spoiled this year with 2023 tennis comebacks. As we turn the bend into 2024, I figured now was an ideal time to take a fond look back at some of these incredible comebacks. Of course, ‘comebacks’ is a term that describes matches that were turned around by certain individuals when it seemed like they were sure to lose.
In 2023, there were a ton of matches that would fit such a description. However, we obviously can’t run through them all. But let’s be honest – you’ll want to read about the most epic of 2023 tennis comebacks, rather than reading through a huge list of just notable comebacks.
With that in mind, I can confirm that I’ve done some serious digging to create a list of just five comebacks in relation to the ATP/WTA Tour from 2023. This list includes Grand Slam matches, as well as matches from tournaments in other tiers. And when you join me in this recap of the most exciting comebacks of the 2023 tennis season, I have a feeling you just agree with the games that have been selected.
Keep in mind that some of these players are due to feature in upcoming events like the ATP Australian Open 2024 and the WTA Australian Open 2024. So once you’ve read through their fairytale comebacks, why not check out their upcoming events for the 2024 season?
Anyway, let’s stay on task here and get into the finer details of the top comebacks from the 2023 tennis season.
Incredible 2023 tennis comebacks – welcome to the show
- 1 Incredible 2023 tennis comebacks – welcome to the show
- 2 Andy Murray vs Thanasi Kokkinakis – Australian Open
- 3 Novak Djokovic vs Laslo Djere – US Open
- 4 Beatriz Haddad Maia vs Sara Sorribes Tormo – Roland Garros
- 5 Andy Murray vs Lorenzo Sonego – Doha Open
- 6 Karolina Muchova vs Aryna Sabalenka – Roland Garros
In my humble opinion, the 2023 tennis season was truly spectacular. We witnessed so many fantastic matches that took place in all corners of the globe. And to be honest, I’d be over the moon if every ATP/WTA season was as exciting as 2023.
However, we’re not focusing on stand-out players or performances today, even if the Djokovic 2023 season was one of the best I’ve ever seen. Instead, we are strictly focusing on the best 2023 tennis comebacks that occurred over the last 12 months. So, before we cover each game in detail, let me provide you with a breakdown of the top five comebacks that will be revealed below:
- Murray vs Kokkinakis – Australian Open
- Djokovic vs Djere – US Open
- Haddad Maia vs Sorribes Tormo – Roland Garros
- Murray vs Sonego – Doha
- Muchova vs Sabalenka – Roland Garros
If you are a huge tennis fan, you will no doubt remember some of these matches just by observing the players who were involved in them. But you may not remember the exact details of these matches, which is what made them so special.
Of course, that will all be changed if you read through my discussion for each of these 2023 tennis comebacks below.
Andy Murray vs Thanasi Kokkinakis – Australian Open
For me, this wasn’t just the best comeback of the 2023 season, it was pretty much the best comeback of all time in professional tennis. Sure, I might be somewhat biased with Murray being a British player. But even those of you who are neutral may have similar beliefs about what an unbelievable comeback this was.
To give a quick reminder, this was the second round of the 2023 Australian Open, and the match didn’t start until after 10 PM local time. Murray then went out there to face a home favourite who was playing out of his mind for the better part of three sets. As you might recall, this helped Kokkinakis take a 2-0 set lead, and he even served for the match at 5-3 in the third set.
However, Murray was in no mood to give up, despite it being after midnight at that point. He battled harder than anyone I can recall in the circumstances, and once he clinched the third set, I had a feeling it would be a late one – just not quite as late as a 4:05 AM finish.
Amazingly, the match lasted 5 hours and 45 minutes, making it the longest of Murray’s career, and the second longest in Australian Open history. And when Murray slotted that backhand winner down the line to win the match in five sets, he completed the most miraculous of all 2023 tennis comebacks.
Novak Djokovic vs Laslo Djere – US Open
For the second match that I just had to include here, some might say that this wasn’t an absolute classic. However, I would have to politely disagree with such opinions, especially when considering what was on the line here. Once again, to take you back to this third-round match at the US Open, it was obviously Djokovic who was favoured to beat his fellow countryman.
But on that particular day, Djokovic faced a truly inspired Laslo Djere. Inside Arthur Ashe Stadium, Djere was sending the crowd wild with some of the most sublime tennis on display of the entire 2023 season. His performance was so inspiring that he managed to take a two-set lead over Djokovic – not something you see every day.
With that said, once Djokovic walked off for a bathroom break after losing the second set, we all had a sneaky feeling of what was coming. Almost instantly, Djokovic returned to the court in true ‘beast mode’, raising his game by several levels to overcome a two-set deficit in the early hours of the morning. Ultimately, he secured the win at 01:30 in the morning by a score of 6-3 in the fifth.
Of course, he then went on to win the 2023 US Open and capture his 24th Grand Slam.
Beatriz Haddad Maia vs Sara Sorribes Tormo – Roland Garros
Did you know that this particular match was voted as the match of the season at the WTA Awards 2023 ceremony? This already gives you an idea of how significant the game between Haddad Maia and Sorribes Tormo was at the 2023 French Open. And since this game features in my breakdown of the greatest 2023 tennis comebacks, you know that one of these players had to fight valiantly for the win.
So, which player was it that outlasted the will of the other to claim victory? The answer is Beatriz Haddad Maia – the number one ranked Brazilian at the moment. Should you look back at the highlights of this one, it’s not overly difficult to see why it was voted as the match of the season.
In a nearly four-hour encounter in the Paris sun, the will to win that Haddad Maia required was otherworldly. She was up 5-2 in the first set before letting the lead slip away, and she then went 3-0 down in the second set before turning this one around. Ultimately, she won the match 7-5 in the final set, converting her fourth match point.
Yet the nerves, drama, and sheer excitement of this match were quite incredible.
Andy Murray vs Lorenzo Sonego – Doha Open
Yes – it’s Murray again! The Scotsman turned into quite the comeback merchant in 2023, understandably so. In the early part of 2023, Murray seemed to develop a quite magical talent for turning matches around after being match point down.
Unfortunately for Lorenzo Sonego, he was the victim in this particular match, which deserves its spot as one of the most inspired 2023 tennis comebacks. As for what went down in this match in Doha, let me give you the scoop.
In this first-round match, Murray and Sonego did battle in the testing humidity out in Doha. Following some seriously high-level tennis, it was Sonego who gained three match points at 4-5 (Murray serving) in the third and final set. However, Murray rallied to save all three of these match points, and he forced a tie-break after holding serve again at 5-6 down.
Sonego then raced to a 3-0 lead in the tie-break before Murray produced successive moments of magic to overcome this deficit and take the tie-break by a score of 7-4.
Karolina Muchova vs Aryna Sabalenka – Roland Garros
There must be something about Roland Garros, right? This is the second time the tournament features in this rundown of outstanding 2023 tennis comebacks. Yet arguably, this one is even more dramatic than the encounter between Haddad Maia and Sorribes Tormo – mainly because this one was a semi-final match.
In a match that lasted 3 hours and 13 minutes, this one had a seemingly never-ending series of twists and turns. While the first two sets were split, with both finishing by a score of 7-6, it was then time for a nail-biting showdown in the decider. And it was Aryna Sabalenka who looked ready to make it into the final of Roland Garros at 5-2 in the third.
Not only that, but she also had a match point, which Muchova managed to save to keep her French Open dreams alive. As for what happened from that point onwards, it was nothing short of incredible.
To complete one of the most significant 2023 tennis comebacks, Muchova won five games straight to take out Sabalenka and reach the Roland Garros final. Sadly, she lost to Iga Swiatek in the final, but her journey to get there was truly one to be remembered.
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