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…
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.
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.
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.