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Further Thoughts On A Masterful Match


I am still ruminating over yesterday's dramatic and awe-inspiring men's singles final at Wimbledon. I watched amidst a crowd of teenagers in a common room in the student union here at Stanford; it was a noisily partisan crowd--divided roughly equally between Federer and Nadal supporters (I was sitting next to a Spaniard!). The boisterous room turned out to be a fun place to watch this showdown as it climbed to dizzying heights of competitiveness. And throughout the last three sets, I was texting back and forth with a pair of former Choate Tennis captains: we shared our amazement at the events unfolding before us.

On West Coast time, I actually missed the first two sets and most of the third. When I woke up (after a late night out in the city and still dragging from the time change) I assumed the match was ended. But the rain delay gave me a chance to settle in for the drama still ahead. As play resumed, it looked like Rafa would win in three sets. Then Federer forced a fourth. Nadal pulled ahead in the tiebreak only to tighten up while serving at 5-2. But he still fought his way to match points, which Federer fearlessly erased. I was convinced at that point the Swiss would carry the day in the fifth set if it finished before darkness. He got close. But Nadal was not to be denied.

And the two combatants were class acts all the way, both during the battle and in its aftermath. Rafa was wonderfully self-effacing and deferential to Roger in his post-match interviews. Federer, while clearly devastated, was equally sporting.

One question now emerges: can Roger Federer really be considered the greatest of all time when he may not be the greatest in his own era? His time on the stage is hardly over, but it's difficult to imagine he can recapture the aura of invincibility he has had for over four years now.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 7, 2008 7:44 PM.

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