What a match! I am in shock and sad and elated and exhausted all at the same time!
Nearly 9 hours in front of the TV at my friend Diane’s house today, watching Wimbledon and sitting / pacing through 3 rain delays. The first rain delay happened before the match between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal started.
Then the contest began. It gets ugly. Rafa wins the first 2 sets, Roger is making the kinds of errors he never makes. He plays by inches, and the inches are on the wrong side of the lines.
He’s looking good in that third set, and then the rain comes again. 81 minutes later – we should have taken a walk, but didn’t want to chance missing a single point – the match re-starts, and Roger takes that set – with Rafa having 2 championship points. Then Roger gets set point and we’re in the 4th. He fights through that, we’re at 2 and 2 in the 5th – and it rains again.
Just 28 minutes later, they’re back, it’s nearly dark. Diane and I are both in agony – she’s a Nadal fan. We’re being as polite as we can – it’s almost like being in the players’ box, where the Federer and Nadal families are crowded in together.
The games go to 7 all in the 5th – no 5th set tie-breaker at Wimbledon. Then Rafa breaks Roger, it’s 8-7, a good thing they’re wearing white and the balls are bright yellow – too dark to see. Rafa’s almost there, Roger is still keeping it even, back and forth.
And suddenly – that quick – it’s over. A classic, a fabulous match, incredible experience – but Roger’s empty and Rafa’s full.
Rafa’s crying, Roger’s holding back. Roger speaks first, as the loser, full of praise and graceful as always. Rafa, too, is full of praise, and humble as ever, reminding us that Roger is Number 1.
As they’re leaving the court, John McEnroe gives Roger deep apprectiation and an emotional hug, one player to another. At which point Roger’s control slips away, and John turns to congratulate Rafa.
Beautiful moments, incredible tennis, courage, inventiveness, power on both sides. But my guy didn’t win.