Friday 13 July 2007

Wimbledon 2007

My favourite day of the entire summer calendar is the final Sunday of Wimbledon when the Men's Championship is played. Sure there have been numerous finals that didn't live up to the hype but I love the occasion.

I had an old boyfriend who was quite a keen tennis player and tried desperately to teach me to play the game. I couldn't do it. I was to small to cover the court. I had too short of arms to have much of a reach and not enough muscle to ever ever ever serve the ball properly. I quickly lost interest in playing the game. What he did do though was ignite a fire in me as a spectator of arguably the greatest individual sporting contests.

How thrilled I was to find myself living in the country which hosted arguably the most revered and challenging tennis championship in the world: Wimbledon.

Whilst living in England I have attended the event 6 times. Once I have stood in the queue (line) and been unsuccessful in getting in. Twice I have stood in the queue and been successful. Four times I have been successful in win the lottery that is the draw for tickets.

The way the lottery works is that by December 31 of the previous year you must complete and submit a form (available on In January/February of the following year, you will be notified if you have been successful. Every year a reserved number of tickets are held back for distribution on the day of play only.

Twice times I have gotten tickets for Court No 1 and twice I have gotten tickets for Centre Court. Never have I gotten tickets for the days of the women's or men's final although we had tickets for the men's quarter-finals. You never know who will play on the day. You never know if you will be rained off. But you are assured a good time.

The grounds are impeccable. The flowers are beautiful. The grass courts are immaculate. The atmosphere is brilliant. My husband (who thought tennis was as exciting as watching paint dry) is now a dedicated fan of Wimbledon (but only that tournament).

This year I was so busy I barely caught any of the action in the run up to the finals. I would flick on BBC and find it there but had to always run off before I could actually get into any matches. But last Sunday I sat myself down determined not to let anything get in my way. Two of the greats in tennis were going head to heard: Rafael Nadal & Roger Federer.

The two faced each other in last year's final which turned out to be nothing more than a general floor wiping. Federer kicked Nadal's tight little bottom. The match was over in just over an hour. Hardly a way to spend an entire afternoon.

This year saw the 2 of them approach Centre Court again. But things were different this year. Federer hadn't played much tennis. One of his matches was a draw due to his opponent's injury and the rain had wreaked havoc on the scheduling. Nadal on the other hand had clawed his way through the matches and was in the best shape of his career.

Federer is the king of the grass court. Entering this final he had won 4 Wimbledon titles.

Nadal is Spanish. He is young. He is getting better and better with every match. He was the only thing between Federer matching the record set by Bjorn Borg: to win 5 Wimbledon titles.

Federer played like the Swiss that he is: disciplined, unemotional, patient, strong, determined. Nadal played like the Spaniard that he is: passionate, fierce, wild, aggressive. Both played like I've never seen them play before. In the 4th set Nadal had shaken the great and good Federer who lost his stoic mask and displayed some uncharacteristic emotion. And the set went to Nadal.

In the end Federer decisively took the 5th set and won the best out of 5 match in just under 5 hours. But the gauntlet has been thrown down. Federer should not sleep peacefully at night. The Spaniard will haunt him and next year could be anyone's tournament.


Sue said...

I have never watched a tennis match. Have tried but can't get into it. You probably think golf is like watching paint dry.

LaDawn said...

Nope! I love golf. In fact my husband and I took his aunt and uncle to the World Golf Championships at The Grove in Watford, England last autumn. It was fabulous. Tiger Woods won by a mile! It was so different watching the tournament in person than it was on television.