Tuesday, 8 July 2008
rafa vs roger at wimbledon - The Bigger You Are, The Harder You Fall…
Am watching the Wimbledon finals right now. Something inside me told me that tonight’s match is one I wouldn’t want to miss watching “live”, and I’m glad I stayed up cos I feel this is going to be such a poignant evening in tennis history.
Today's match marks the sixth time the two have played for the championship at a Grand Slam tournament, the most in tennis's open era. Ivan Lendl and Mats Wilander faced off in five Grand Slam finals, as did Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi.
Federer is attempting to better Borg's open-era record of five straight Wimbledon titles from 1976-80. Nadal, who handed Federer his worst Grand Slam final defeat a month ago in Paris, is seeking his first Wimbledon title.
Ever since Roger Federer came on the tennis scene, I’ve become a tennis fan and have rarely missed a season. You gotta give it to the guy for being so focused and disciplined and so elegant and super-cool too. Even tonight, after being 2 sets down to Nadal on a grass court which has been Federer’s domain.
Nadal, on the other hand, has been a champion waiting in the wings for a while now. With each season, you can see how he comes back stronger and better. Even after 3 hrs 45 mins he’s playing as though its only his first set.
After a while I just had to stop because it just got too nerve-wracking watching this game and it got to a point when my heart was just pounding in my chest and every time Federer double-faulted or missed a shot, it would stop beating for a split second.
4 hours and 48 minutes later, I am watching tennis taken to another level. This has certainly been one of the best, if not, the best Wimbledon Finals ever. Tonight I watched with tears in my eyes as the world saw a changing of the guards at Wimbledon - Rafael Nadal ended Roger Federer's streak as King of Grass. Wimbledon has a new King.
As much as I’m so happy for Nadal as all his hard work clearly paid off, its just so heartbreaking to watch the end of the reign of a champion. I wondered if Federer saw his end in sight though, but the “unflappable Swiss” was certainly not going down without the fight of his life, to the last drop of blood..
Reading the news text from wimbledon.org just adds to the pain I feel for poor Roger today :
After his epic five-set battle, Roger Federer was due in the press interview room at 9.55pm, with the newly minted champion Rafael Nadal next up at 10.20pm. Perhaps to make sure that he would only have to do the 10-minute minimum as the world waited for him to dissect his defeat, the beaten finalist eventually appeared, red-eyed and disconsolate, at 10.10pm on the dot. What followed was as much of a roller-coaster as the match itself.
"I thought we both played well," he said, before beginning a litany of lethargically raised eyebrows and shrugged shoulders. "The rain didn’t help me that much – I didn’t win the match, did I? I was struggling with the wind a little bit and the light was tough but that was not an excuse. This is probably the hardest loss of my career so far."
Once the conference moved into French, Federer suddenly became decidedly more blunt and to the point. "I couldn’t see who I was playing against by the end," he said with another shrug which he used as punctuation to make it quite clear that he had no intention of giving a more detailed answer.
When asked whether it was a consolation that it was a great player like Nadal who had put an end to his 65-match winning streak, Federer’s humour became even darker. "No. Zero consolation. I didn’t learn anything new from today – certainly not about how to play him on grass. This really hurts… Losing Paris for me was nothing, losing here is a disaster." No more, no less.
The straw that broke the camel’s back came when he was quizzed about the vast haul of points he will have to defend in the coming tournaments – far more than Nadal – if he is to remain number one in the rankings. "Write what you want," he glowered after a sigh, a pause and a shrug. "I’m going to try to win at the Olympics and the US Open and have a good end to the season. That’s it."
(That’s what I love about Federer. He has always been a good champion, a strong champion - tj)
Though the Swiss German media tried to perk his spirits up by asking him whether he would take some holidays prior to beginning the second half of the hard-court season, there was no consoling Roger. The bigger they come, the harder they fall, and there had been none bigger than Federer here at Wimbledon.