Monday, July 6, 2009

A Whole New World

The dust is beginning to settle. The Wimbledon website is now beginning to count down to next year's tournament (only 350 days to go before we have to go through it all again!) But I don't know if we will ever be able to appreciate the enormous significance of this match.
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Last year's Wimbledon final has been called the greatest match of all time, and it was certainly one of the most brilliant exhibitions of tennis I have ever seen. But what I think it now lacks - something which it didn't seem to lack at the time - is significance. This match, it was said, represented the changing of the guard - gone were the days of Federer, here were the days of the Spanish prince, the conquistador, and the game would never belong to the Maestro again. And for many months - even after Federer won the US Open - this seemed to be the case. It seemed to be confirmed at the Australian Open final. The age of Federer was over. The age of Nadal had just begun.
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But fast-forward to this year's Wimbledon final. By winning this match, Federer has ensured that his bitter defeat of last year no longer means anything like as much as it did. His second ascension started with Madrid, roared into gear at Roland Garros and exploded at Wimbledon. And suddenly, we are back in Federer's time, where the world belongs to him.
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You know who I feel sorry for - apart from Andy Roddick, for whom I am going to continue to feel for a very long time after that gargantuan effort he put in yesterday? Rafael Nadal.
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None of this is Rafa's fault. He didn't ask to be injured, and he certainly didn't decline to defend his title because he didn't want it badly enough. Anyone who has ever doubted the strength of mind and character of Rafael Nadal has been vamosed into submission some time ago. And he thoroughly deserved the year-odd he spent atop the rankings - a year when he was the best player in the world.
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But sport is cruel. I think we saw an example of this yesterday, when out of two determined, ferocious warriors, only one could win. I'm a massive Federer fan yet I cannot say I wanted Roddick to lose. I just wanted Federer to win more. It is completely cruel that Roddick could not win yesterday, just as it would have been heartbreakingly agonising if Federer had come out the worse. And it is cruel that Rafael Nadal should have suffered these injuries and suffered some tough circumstances in his personal life and suddenly find himself back at square one - or square two, so to speak, with all his work not necessarily undone but overshadowed.
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Rafael Nadal is a great champion, and he will be back, fistpumping and vamosing his way to more than a few titles, mark my words. There are more Slams in his future, more tense tussles with his great rivals, including Roger Federer. Our sport is lucky to have Rafa, and we have missed him this tournament.
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But this is the age of Roger Federer. He has overshadowed Sampras, Laver, Borg, just about anyone you can care to name. And while we must not forget Rafael Nadal, the man who has pushed and pushed and pushed Federer until he could push no more, this moment belongs to the greatest player in our game, who has once more ascended to the pinnacle of our sport. Wimbledon '08 has been overshadowed. Wimbledon '09 has taken its place. Such is the way of sport and such is the way of history - some events, no matter how weight is given to them at the time, can be superceded. Where there was disaster, now there is triumph. The ferociously determined victory of 2009 now takes the place of the heartbreakingly close loss of 2008. And the world has changed.
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Welcome to the Second Golden Age of Roger Federer.
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Today's Results
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Campbell's Hall of Fame Tennis Championships (Newport)
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Taylor Dent def. Marcos Daniel, 6-2 6-1
Robby Ginepri def. Santiago Ventura, 6-2 1-6 6-4
Prakash Amritraj def. Danai Udomchoke, 6-1 6-4
Jesse Levine def. Chris Guccione, 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (7-2)
Brendan Evans def. Benjamin Becker, 7-6 (7-5) 3-6 7-5
Daniel Brands def. Vince Spadea, 6-0 6-4
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Collector Swedish Open Women (Bastad)
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Sorana Cirstea def. Johanna Larsson, 4-6 6-2 7-5
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova def. Jill Craybas, 6-3 3-6 6-3
Carla Suarez Navarro def. Lenka Wienerova, 6-0 7-5
Iveta Benesova def. Urszula Radwanska, 3-6 6-2 6-2
Gisela Dulko def. Marta Domachowska, 6-4 6-0
Alla Kudryavtseva def. Karin Knapp, 6-1 6-1
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GDF Suez Grand Prix (Budapest)
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Alona Bondarenko def. Karolina Sprem, 6-3 6-2
Edina Gallovits def. Tsvetana Pironkova, 7-5 6-2
Maria Elena Camerin def. Lourdes Dominguez Lino, 4-6 6-0 6-1

2 comments:

allineedisapicketfence said...

Hey Jodi,

lovely post to wrap up wimbledon :D I'm not sure how long federer will be able to hold on to his No 1 ranking this time because of the baby and all, but now that he's beaten the record, the pressure is off, and I think you're right, it's the second golden age. So happy and proud to have shared this experience with him.

and nice tweeting the last two slams with ya! fun times :D

doots

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