July 4, 2008

Federer vs. Nadal at Wimbledon: A Historic Matchup

There are only a few times in sports when you know history will be made before the event even happens. Sure, each champion in any sport will be duly recorded, but certain games and matches are always remembered as being classics or changes of the guard. Some events transcend the normal interest in the sport. Decades from now, the 2008 Wimbledon final Sunday between Federer and Nadal will be remembered. Even if the match itself isn't outstanding or doesn't go 5 sets, the result will be monumental for the victor and put either man even more decisively in the record books.

Is Federer the best tennis player ever?

Roger Federer has dominated men's tennis for the past 5 years. He is poised to win a record 6th straight Wimbledon Championship, thrusting himself within one of the record for Wimbledon Championships and career Grand Slam titles. With a victory in the French Open, Bjorn Borg would have declared Federer the greatest player ever. However, this year has been relatively tough for Roger. His record streak of 10 consecutive Grand Slam singles finals was broken at the Australian Open, and he was beaten badly by Nadal in the final at Roland Garros. Winning at the French would give Federer the Career Grand Slam and probably secure his status as best ever, but Nadal seemed to have stretched his advantage over Federer on the clay. In addition to the records, a win by Federer reaffirms his status as the #1 player in the world, a status which is in danger for the first time in years.

Will we see this scene again or with the trophies transposed?

Rafael Nadal is the young upcomer, dominant at the French Open, expanding his game and dominance ever outward. Last year, he took Federer to the absolute limit in 5 sets in the Wimbledon final. A victory by Nadal would make him the presumptive #1 player in the world, winner of 2 Grand Slams this year to Federer's 0. Nadal would be the first player since Borg in 1980 to win the French and Wimbledon in the same year. This is already his 7th Grand Slam final at the age of 22, all of them at Wimbledon (3) and the French (4).

Sampras and Agassi was the greatest individual rivalry of my childhood.

In addition, Federer and Nadal is the greatest current individual sports rivalry. This is the modern version of Sampras and Agassi, except not as popular here because neither player is American. This is the third consecutive year that Federer and Nadal have played each other in both the French Open and Wimbledon finals. How awesome is that? That's the kind of drama and intensity we want from Tiger and Phil. It's what we could have hoped for from the Williams sisters. Federer, the older, composed veteran with all the titles, against the young Nadal, full of emotion and raw power looking to take the older man's crown.

Bjorn Borg was the last to win both Wimbledon and the French in the same year.

On the court, both men have been at the top of their games, losing only 1 set combined throughout Wimbledon. Nadal's punishing pace looks just as effective as it was on the clay, and he's served great. Federer has won 5 straight in London, and even though he struggled earlier this year, he's been in top form so far this fortnight. Both men have confidence, both know they are capable of winning. There is no underdog angle to play, even Vegas has it pretty much even money. For most Americans, this is a great opportunity to sit back and enjoy some incredible tennis, at a level at which only 2 players can perform. This could be the match of the decade. You just have to wake up early to watch.

Nadal over Federer, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6, 6-7, 10-8. Don't forget there's no tiebreaker in the 5th set.

5 Responses:

janu said...

crap..seriously crap..u cant predict tennis for god's sake!

Russell said...

Haha... of course the prediction's crap. But it's a good talking point that I think it will go 5 sets and be a very competitive, close match.

Mike said...

What time is the match on? I can't seem to confirm it anywhere.


Russell said...

9 am ET on NBC is when the coverage starts. I don't know when the first ball will be struck.

mike said...

Thanks Russell! I even search all over the Wimbledon website and couldn't find the time of the match.

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