Monday, July 07, 2008

and I am so not the sports fan...

Yet here I was again, for the second time in as many weeks, glued to the TV set.

This time, at least, was not quite as unusual -- I grew up watching tennis with my mom. I have incredible memories of watching Connors, McEnroe, Borg, Lendl, Nastase play and peppering my mom with questions - what's a break point? why do they get to serve three times? how can they hit a one-handed back hand? what's love? (Not, mind you, in the vastly existential meaning of the word.) And then later watching Becker, Sampras, Agassi - often on the phone with my mom from wherever I happened to be.

So here comes Sunday, the Wimbledon finals - and Federer's going for an amazing record - six straight Wimbledon championships. And you couldn't have moved me from in front of the television with a crow bar. Federer plays Rafael Nadal in what John McEnroe is calling "the greatest match ever seen," before ultimately losing it, 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-7 (8), 9-7.

It is the longest match in Wimbledon history, at 4 hours and 48 minutes, with two rain delays. This was tennis like you dream about. Unreal. Unbelievable. Amazing. Honestly, there aren't enough adjectives. Not to mention, two of the nicest players in tennis history. But it was the tennis that was magical. This was a tennis match that was truly a thing of beauty - worth watching again and again.

Unreturnable serves? Returned. Unreachable shots? Reached. Aces pulled out of thin air at the last possible minute to save the day. Passing shots that must have felt like an assassin's bullet whizzing by. Cross-court shots that cut into the corners by inches. Overhead shots that dug some serious holes in the grass.

It was a tennis match that was as poignant as it was extraordinary - marking the end of Roger Federer's streak of 40 straight wins in a row at the All England Club and his record 65 straight wins on grass - and bringing to a crashing halt his bid to be the first man in well over 100 years to win six straight Wimbledon singles titles.

For the sport of tennis... well, Sunday's match works for me as a response to my question "what's love?"

1 comment:

Edwin Khodabakchian said...

That was indeed on of the best matches every, both technically - unreal was the right term - and because of the behavior of both players after the match. I am definitely motivated to get tickets for next years final!