Wonderful WimbledonJuly 5th, 2009 at 5:37 pm by Drew Smith under Sports, Uncategorized
Wimbledon is one of my favorite sporting events of the year. I generally watch hours of tennis during the fortnight, once even subscribing to HBO (where they used to show much of the early action) just to watch Wimbledon. I lived in England for four years growing up (and actually went to grade school in the town of Wimbledon for about four months), and though I never got to go to the tournament-the year I was old enough, I got pneumon- I did watch Davis Cup tennis at the facility. I thought nothing would ever top last year’s finals between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, but this year’s gentlemen’s finals sure came close.
Five sets of tremendous tennis, with a fifth set that went longer than many full matches. That’s some serious drama. Federer’s win over Andy Roddick cements him as perhaps the greatest player in the open era, with 15 majors, besting the 14 of Pete Sampras.
What strikes me is the similarities between Sampras and Federer. Both had big serves, tremendous ground strokes, great net play, and couldn’t play on clay. Sampras never did get his French Open, while Federer got his this year. I had the chance to hang out with Sampras at an event in Houston years ago when he and Andre Agassi were trading titles after Agassi’s comeback, and found him very low key, focused and polite. However, you could tell there was a burning desire to win that went with it.
Tennis isn’t a sport that a lot of people follow like they used to. However, it has what I love about sports: the man on man competition, hand-eye coordination, 140 mph serves, power and finesse, no ties; it’s great. Perhaps the personalities just aren’t as compelling, but the tennis is just as good. Hopefully Nadal’s knees allow him to be the main competition to Federer for the next couple of years.