Monday, Nov. 03, 2008

Centre Court Classic

Feel free to call it the greatest tennis match of all-time. At the Wimbledon final this July, Spain's Rafael Nadal upset his archrival, five-time defending tournament champ Roger Federer, in a five-set epic, 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-7 (8), 9-7. The match, which took 4 hours and 48 minutes to complete, featured three rain delays, a Federer comeback from two sets down, and an awe-inspiring fifth set that ended with two exhausted champions dueling in the dark (it ended at 9:16 p.m; fittingly this was the last year there were no lights on Centre Court). It was simultaneously grueling, nerve-wracking and beautiful tennis, as Federer struck a 127 mph service winner to save the match in the fourth set tiebreaker, and Nadal chased down shot after impossible shot. When Federer hit his last shot into the net, a victorious Nadal fell flat on his back, as cameras flashed all around to get a snapshot of history. A few weeks later, Nadal replaced Federer as the top-ranked player in the world.