“Epic”, “Historical”, “Stupendous”, “Legendary” are some of the few hundreds of adjectives people would use to describe the Wimbeldon ’09 final yesterday evening between Federer and Roddick. The brilliant Sampras – Agassi rivalry kindled my interest in tennis way back in the 90s. It was always a dream to watch them play the finals of Grand Slams which would make me skip studies, sleep or even my meals. But after these two retired, my interest in tennis fell dramatically.
Federer announced his arrival when he defeated Sampras in the 4th round in Wimbeldon in 2003. But I knew it would take me quite sometime to decide with which player my loyalties lie. Then came the awesome Nadal, who ripped his opponents apart to win the French Open in 2005. He went on to win three more French Open titles. In between he silenced his detractors who always used to complain that he was not an all court player by winning both the Wimbeldon and the Australian Open once each. Now I know that all my talk on Nadal shows that I am a big fan of his.
Yeah, his absence in the Wimbeldon 2009 left me shocked and distraught because I knew that he was the only one who could stop Federer’s (No I dont hate him…He is a true legend of our times!) journey to the Hall of Fame. I admire Nadal’s never- say-die spirit, his agility, power and above all his fighting qualities (because he has been the only player to seriously challenge Federer). They have had an amazing rivalry which brought me back to watching tennis. Due to Nadal’s absence, I didnt bother to watch a single match of Wimbeldon till the finals. I always wondered whether anyone had the ability to shock Fedex. But when I heard about Roddick reaching the finals, I was like “This is surely going to be a three set smashing”. Roddick has never justified his true potential winning just one Grand Slam despite reaching 4 finals.
But yesterday he was different. He was determined, ambitious and above all didnt get overawed by his opponent. Despite losing the 2nd and third sets he came back to win the 4th set to show that he wasnt over. The final set was all about “who lost his serve first”. In the end this was a match which officially (if there was any doubt!) put Federer in the list of legends with his 15th grand slam.
It was apt that Federer surpassed Sampras’s record of 14 Grand Slams in front of the man himself – though this time on the opposite side of the court dressed immaculately in a fine tie and blazer. Roddick must be surely wondering what else does he need to do against his man. But when Fedex plays the way he did on Sunday – a man possessed, who can stop him?