Category: Tennis


#15

Fine.  Us Pete Sampras fans may now finally have to concede that Roger Federer is the greatest-of-all-time after his French Open win and now his Wimbledon win – his 15th grand slam, surpassing Pete’s record of 14.

It was one of the tensest finals I have ever watched!  5 sets, 16-14 in the 5th set.  Started at 9pm (Manila time) and ended at 1.30am.  It was Andy Roddick’s match to win – or lose, which he did.  Federer had 50 (!) aces, but you always got the feeling throughout the match that Roddick was playing better.  His serve was never broken until the very last game.  In the end, Roddick’s nerves and racquet arm gave.  Federer won because he was the steadier one.  Great athletes have always found that last ounce of whatever it would take to win crucial matches.

What made this finals even better for me was the presence of Pete Sampras.  He has already said long before that he would likely come back to Wimbledon to watch the finals if it would be where Federer could possibly break his record.  However, Pete turned coy as the finals neared, never confirming if he was indeed coming.  In fact, just minutes before the match started, the TV commentators categorically stated that “Pete is NOT here”.  Then…whaddya know, he just casually walked into the Royal Box in the third game of the first set.  The crowd applauded him, which he acknowledged with a small wave.  Even Federer greeted him from the court, later saying that “It would’ve been rude not to.”  Yes, the two great ones are friends.  There are certain moments in the match when Pete would have this tiny, mysterious smile playing on his face.  Wonder what he’s thinking.

Now Federer has also taken back the world number one ranking from Rafael Nadal.  Hmp! At least he was gracious enough to acknowledge that he’s number one again because Rafa did not play at Wimbledon. 🙂

Still, congratulations to Roger Federer for an amazing achievement.  And here’s one of my favorite photos from this year’s Wimbledon:

All the Great Champions - Bjorn Borg, Pete Sampras, Roger Federer, Rod Laver

All the Great Champions - Bjorn Borg, Pete Sampras, Roger Federer, Rod Laver

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The King of Clay Bows Out

For now.  So ends Rafael Nadal’s 4-year reign at the clay courts of Roland Garros in Paris – and not at the hands of Roger Federer (who was almost upset himself last night).  He had a rare off-day when everything just went wrong.  Add to that an opponent who played the game of his life.  I couldn’t bear to watch after he lost the first set, 2-6, switching back only to check the score every now and then.

Rafael Nadal was defeated, but he still showed class and remarkable calm as shown in the post-match interview.  In his own words:  “You need a defeat to give value to your victories.”  How could you not like this guy?  He never made excuses, and simply admitted that he did not play well.  He also acknowledged that his opponent played great, in spite of the fact that there’s some colorful history between them.

I’m now betting on Roger Federer to win, but it would have been better if he had to beat Rafa to win the French Open and complete a career Grand Slam.

Next up, Wimbledon, where Rafa’s again the defending champion.  In the finals last year, he beat Roger, the king of grass, in one of the greatest tennis matches in history.  Can he do it again this year?  Hmm…he can, but is not definite.  But who knows, the “BFFs” might pull a switch this year.  Rafa already won the Australian Open, which traditionally should have been Roger’s.  And now the French Open seems to be heading Roger’s way.  Will Wimbledon go to Rafa again?  I hope so. 😀

Here’s an amusing photo of the two rivals-slash-BFFs from the Madrid Open:

 

Sweet! ;)  (from daylife.com)

Sweet! 😉 (from daylife.com)