Category Archives: Sports

The Monday Muse: Federer or Nadal?

A debate has sprung to life in the wake of yesterday’s Wimbledon championship match. Tennis analysts and fans everywhere have been discussing for quite some time the gap between Nadal and Federer. The once seemingly insurmountable gap between Federer and everyone else has been closed quickly by Nadal over the course of this year. In fact, many people are beginning to make the case that Nadal is the best player in tennis, at least this year. Nadal’s victory over Federer on Federer’s best surface has naturally fired up this debate. Federer has been, without a doubt, the best player in tennis for the last couple of years. However, Nadal has had the best of Federer this year when it has mattered the most. As a matter of fact, it seems that Nadal has had the best year of anyone with two Grand Slam championships to support this claim. Has Nadal overtaken Federer as the best men’s player? Let’s bring this debate to this week’s Monday Muse.

Who is the best men’s tennis player…Nadal or Federer?

Though the year isn’t over yet, make your case based on what has already gone down. Game on…

The Greatest Wimbledon Final Ever

That is what some people are calling yesterday’s epic battle between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Having returned from the Sunday morning worship service, I turned on the television expecting to catch some highlights and the final score of the match. To my surprise and excitement I found that the match was still in progress due to a rain delay. I am glad I was able to catch the most intense portion of the one of the greatest tennis matches I have ever seen.

Nadal had the match wrapped up in the fourth set tiebreak when he was up 5-2 with a chance to serve it out. His nerves got the best of him as he double faulted the first point away and watched Federer take the next point as well. That sequence was a crucial moment in the match which decided the fate of the set. Momentum shifted to Federer as he closed out the fourth set tiebreak, 10-8. I knew Nadal would not completely collapse but I was convinced that Federer would take the fifth set.

After blowing a two set lead and then giving away the fourth set when he had match point, Nadal could have easily fallen apart under the weight of disappointment and frustration. However, Nadal regrouped and went back to work. The two tennis giants battled like prizefighters in a heavyweight championship bout. It was an incredible display of tennis. Federer was crushing forehands and coming up with big aces when he needed them. Nadal was scrambling all over the court chasing down balls and painting the lines with his heavy topspin. They were coming up with all of the shots. Someone had to break. Someone had to falter. Few expected it to be Federer. As Nadal switched sides in the dark of the London night, he was primed to take advantage of the late, fifth set break. With tension filling the air and drama surrounding every shot, Nadal served out the match and won his first Wimbledon title by dethroning the best…the great Roger Federer. If you are Nadal, you can’t ask for anything more. He destroyed Federer in the French Open final and then came to Federer’s house and beat him there as well. To be the best, you have to beat the best. With his victory, Nadal became the first man since Bjorn Borg to win the French Open and Wimbledon back to back. He also kept Federer from being the first man to win six consecutive Wimbledon titles since the late 1800’s.

For anyone who is interested, Denny Burk has posted highlights of the match here.

Having played competitive tennis for several years, I have a great appreciation for the consistently high level of play displayed throughout the entirety of this match. It was nothing short of amazing…a thing of beauty. It was a match for the ages. It is a match I will never forget. Well done fellas…well done.

I Hate Running.

I have been trying to come up with a workout plan that I will actually follow through on. I don’t really like working out. I love to play sports but lifting weights and doing aerobic exercises is not my idea of a good time. For most of my life sports has been my way of working out. However, the opportunities to play sports after graduating from college drastically decline. You see my dilemma.

In the midst of my dilemma, I got a little inspiration from Joe Thorn. He dedicated himself to running and better eating habits over the course of this past year and lost 40 lbs. My first thought…I hate running. I’ll run if it involves catching a ball or crossing someone over on my way to the hoop. I don’t run for enjoyment. I really have no desire to run a marathon. However, Joe is proof of the benefits of running (and good eating habits). So…I decided that today would be the day I would begin my own running challenge. I haven’t outlined all of the particulars but I figured I would go ahead and get started. I want to start with small accomplishments. So I just went for a 10 minute run today. And can I say…it was a very hard 10 minutes. I can play basketball for hours and not feel like I did after 10 minutes of running. It’s going to be a slow process and a love-hate relationship for me and running. But I need to do something. I’m going to try to find some sports leagues to get involved with as well. If you live in Nashville and play basketball anywhere, holler at me. I would love play more ball throughout the week. Or if you play competitive tennis, shoot me a line. I’ve played tennis off and on since my day on the Indiana Wesleyan tennis team.

So thanks Joe for the sharing a bit about your experience. Hopefully mine will be just as fruitful.

For everyone else…you can now call me Forrest Gump. Here’s to new challenges.

Celtics Raise No. 17

Well, I hate to say it…but I called it. Celtics in six. The NBA Finals had the drama of injured players, big comebacks, and superstar performances. With all of the excitement in this year’s finals, Game 6 turned out to be a crushing display of team basketball put on by the Boston Celtics. The guys in green dominated every facet of the game. Though all of the attention has been given to the Big Three (Pierce, Garnett, Allen), it was the role players that made the biggest difference in this series. Leon Powe put in 20+ in Game 2. Last night it was Rajon Rondo who made his mark on every aspect of the game. Known for his stellar defense yet ragged for his inconsistent play on offense, Rondo quietly dominated by pouring in 21 points along with 7 rebounds, 8 assists, and 6 steals. While putting the clamps down on the Lakers defensively, the Celtics managed to put up a staggering 131 points with 42 of them coming in the fourth quarter. When the smoke finally cleared, the scoreboard revealed what was easily discernible throughout the duration of the game. The Lakers were handed a solid butt kicking.

Speaking of the Lakers, what happened to Kobe Bryant? For the most part, he was a non-factor in this series. It must be nice to average 25 points per game in a series and be labeled a non-factor. It proves how good Kobe is. But many people have been making comparisons between Bryant and Jordan. Their moves and overall game look eerily similar. Both men have an indefensible fadeaway. Both have a never ending thirst for success. The comparisons must end there though. Bryant is no Jordan, at least not yet. People argue that Bryant doesn’t have a Scottie Pippen to run with. I find that argument interesting since I believe Bryant has more talent surrounding him now than Jordan ever did. I do think that Horace Grant was underrated. Dennis Rodman, as weird as he is, brought another dimension to that team. He was a great complimentary piece to a team that already had two big time scorers. They never had a legitimate big man (Cartwright, Wennington, King, Livingston, etc.). Look at what Kobe will have to work with the next few years. Gasol, though soft, is a highly skilled big man and an All-Star. Odom is a multi-dimensional player that can dominate a game when he decides to. Bynum is just getting started. He may be the missing piece to many championship banners being raised in the future. I really don’t feel any sympathy for Kobe.

All in all, it was a great series. I enjoyed every minute of it. And it ended just how I wanted it to end with the Big Three hoisting up the championship trophy. They have endured a lot to get to where they are at. Cheers to them and the Boston Celtics…the new world champs.

The Wimbledon Wii Championship

It seems that tennis has been taken to a whole new level…at least in Brooklyn. Skills required? You just have to be able to swing a Wii controller. About 120 people gathered in Brooklyn for the second annual Wii tennis tournament called Wimbledon. Being a tennis player and a Wii fan, I can’t quite decide whether this is cool in the name of fun or sad in the way of I-have-too-much-time-on-my-hands. If we start to see a whole generation of folks training for video game sports, then I have to choose the sad option. But hey, I’m all about an afternoon of fun in the sun with a Wii controller in hand.

Griffey Hits No. 600

Ken Griffey, Jr. became only the sixth player to hit 600 or more homeruns in a career on Monday night. It is a great accomplishment for a great player. Griffey has long been my favorite player. When he was traded to the Reds, I was already counting the championships. My favorite player on my favorite team…it doesn’t get much better than that. The years since the trade have not been kind to either Griffey or the Reds. However, it doesn’t change the fact that Griffey is one of the all time greats in baseball. He hasn’t gotten the hype or the playing time the past few years due to injuries. No matter. Griffey is a class act. I just hope he and the Reds can get another title before his playing days are over. Cheers to you Ken Griffey, Jr.

Nadal, Celtics Dominate

This past Sunday could have been dubbed Super Sunday. Of course, I am just a little biased. Basketball and tennis are my two favorite sports and this Sunday provided lots of action in both.

Sunday began with a thud, at least if you are Roger Federer. In his quest for the career Grand Slam, Federer was dismantled by Rafael Nadal in the French Open final 6-1, 6-3, 6-0. Federer’s hard fall on Sunday has further encouraged theories that Nadal is primed to overtaken him as the best player in the world. Can this be the end of the reign of Roger Federer? Though I am desperately ready for someone else to take the top spot, I think talks of Roger’s demise are premature. We shall see soon enough as the Wimbledon draws near. It’s easy to see the flaws in Federer’s game on clay. He has been nearly unbeatable on grass. I’ll be cheering for Rafa to finally upend the King Federer on his own surface.

Speaking of things that are green, how about those Celtics? The Big Three will be the focus of everyone’s attention on the Celtics. However, it was Leon Powe who was the difference maker in Game 2. After building a huge lead, the Celtics nearly handed the game over thanks to a great run by the Lakers. In the end it didn’t matter. Celtics win 108-102. But will they pull it out in Game 3? It’s going down to the wire as we speak and the Lakers are up by 5. Stay tuned for more.

Update: Lakers win Game 3 behind Kobe Bryant’s 36 points. Final score…87-81.