Monday, July 7, 2008

Nadal and Federer final a classic

As the basketball world is a little quiet right now, we're going for a slight change of pace today from The Daily Hurt, as we simply can't ignore that amazing Men's Wimbledon Final yesterday.
In fading light Rafael Nadal ended Roger Federer's five-year stranglehold on tennis's most coveted prize, but it took Nadal until the absolute last moment as Rog' clung onto the trophy for as long as humanly possible, clutching on with the very tips of his fingernails.
Federer never gave up and Nadal had to battle for every single point. It's impossible to compare winning Wimbledon to climbing Mount Everest, but in the tennis world yesterday, Rafael Nadal reached it's pinnacle.
The match was the longest final ever at Wimbledon and was also maybe the best tennis match ever played. It was fitting that after turning the grassy hallows of SW19 since 2003 into his own fortress, Roger was atleast defeated by a most worthy opponent.
Last year in the final, Nadal had showed signs that he was more than just a clay one-trick pony as he threatened to end Federer's dominance then, but a knee injury derailed his challenge.
This year it was the heavens that gave Roger a break as they opened and halted Nadal's early momentum. After the first rain delay, Federer pounced as he fought his way back and looked to be gaining control of the match. It wasn't to be though as the nerves Nadal was showing when leading 5-2 in the tiebreak - on serve - in the fourth held strong
Those lucky enough to be in attendance for yesterday's match will have memories to cherish forever.
They also take home a little slice of history too as from 2009 onwards, never should rain cause a delay for a match on centre court again as the All England Club have finally moved with the times and have installed a retractable roof which will be in place from next summer.
The after match talk now shifts to 'who is the best player?'. Of course, this argument will never have a true answer but it's worth trying to find one anyway.
Nadal is certainly 2008's best player so far but he still has a long way to go and has a lot of winning and dominating to do to match Federer's imposing overall record. Also, now that Nadal has finally conquered Federer at Wimbledon, will he be able to stay on top as that is what has made Roger so good. Roger has owned men's tennis for the best part of five years and while Nadal has been untouchable on clay, he hasn't been quite as good on the other surfaces.
Certainly 2008 hasn't been Federer's best year, but only a fool would say that this loss now suggests he's begun the downward slide of his career, as at 26, pending his health and motivation, he's still got plenty of tennis left in him.
Regardless of yesterday's loss, it's still a good bet that he'll overtake Pete Sampras' grand slam record 14 titles within the next couple of years.
The emotion spilled over so much yesterday that even commentator John McEnroe got a bit choked up interviewing Federer after the game. It was the ultimate show of man-love from one of tennis' most colourful characters and an indication of just how much emotion there was out there on the court during the match.

So, onto the NBA news...

  • It shows how slow the last couple of days has been in the NBA world when Chris Duhon signing a 2-year $7m contract with the NY Knicks is news. The Knicks don't seem to able to scrub themselves clean from Isiah Thomas. Duhon is a mediocre player at best but he could shine individually if he's given some burn and a significant role in the Big Apple, but he's not going to improve them much from the last few seasons.

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