Monday, July 09, 2007

Must see TV

Before yesterday, the most compelling sporting event I had seen this year was the French Open Final, where Rafael Nadal continued his mastery of clay despite Roger Federer basically devoting his entire year to finding a way to beat him there.

That was before yesterday. Now that must take a back seat to the Wimbledon Final, where the exact opposite scenario played out in even more dramatic fashion, with Federer continuing his mastery of grass and Nadal falling ever so short, unable to recover emotionally after letting Federer off consecutive 15-40 hooks on his serve at 1 -all and 2-all in the 5th.

Tennis history, particularly in the open era and the age of superior equipment, is littered with players who were awesome on grass or clay but utterly helpless on the other. That is what makes this so special, these two guys are all time greats on their own surface but able to compete at that level on their off surface, raising each other's games even higher. If you ever get a chance to watch them play each other, don't miss it. This is the kind of thing you will want to tell your grandchildren.

While watching I was trying to think of a similarly stirring rivalry, and could not come up with anything without going back to the 80's Lakers-Celtics. Tiger and Jordan's Bulls, to name a couple of candidates, never had the requisite foil.



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