Reliving the match of a generation

Photo via Just Jared

Photo via Just Jared

Both nik and RC sent me this link. It includes a video talking about the knees where a physical therapist pretty much says, “it’s too early for him to be 100% again.”

The rest of the article is happier as it talks about the match. You know, that one that had you transfixed to the TV for hours on end? The one that had your stomach in knots, your nerves frayed, and your pets and family members doubting your sanity? You know, the 2008 Wimbledon Final. (For those of you in the US who get The Tennis Channel, the match will be aired twice this week.)

“I didn’t think they were going to play that well, both of them,” Borg told ESPN producer Aarthi Rajaraman several months ago. “That’s the best tennis match I’ve ever seen in my life. I was just happy to be there, to be part of that final.

“You cannot see a better tennis match.”

Sampras, who watched on television, agreed.

“The match,” he said, “transcended the sport.”

Indeed. I know people who’ve never watched a tennis match in their lives until that one. A guy at work said he’s always thought tennis was boring, but couldn’t find anything else on that day and ended up transfixed for the whole thing.

Todd Martin, the retired ATP player, also watched on television.

“They’re playing 85 feet from each other, and the way the sport is played today it’s not a quick process to get to the culmination,” Martin said. “It is a slow crescendo. They’re both such amazing shot-makers that the slow crescendo results in a tremendous boom.

“From a tactical standpoint, maybe it wasn’t the best match ever played, but from a viewing perspective it was incredibly compelling. On top of the beauty of the points and the nature of the athletics, there was great, almost unbearable drama.”

It was indeed a wonderful and intense slow crescendo. I’ve watched the AO semi and final recently. And while both were epic, neither had the plot line and slow steady build of the match. So much was on the line, so much history with either outcome, and both players wanted that win so intensely. It could have been a cluster of tension, nerves and chokes, and, while the match wasn’t completely free of those things, instead of succumbing to them both players raised their level over and over during the course of the match. Just when you thought things couldn’t get better, they did. Just when you thought there was no way the match was ever going to end, it did. Just when you thought there couldn’t be a winner, there was.

12 Responses

  1. mary says:

    That match was beyond epic. My husband and I watched it all; it was thoroughly exhausting!

  2. johanne says:

    I’ve never been so nauseous watching a tennis match in my life. I’ve also never been so elated. It’s hard to put it into words, but you’ve done well, miri. And you too, mary. “Thorougly exhausting” sounds disturbingly familiar! :)

    P.S. As far as that physical therapist is concerned, it’s hard for me to take anything she says seriously when she has a hairdo like that. Sheesh. Honestly, I was distracted the entire time. ;)

  3. jimmy says:

    “””
    Just when you thought things couldn’t get better, they did. Just when you thought there was no way the match was ever going to end, it did. Just when you thought there couldn’t be a winner, there was.
    “””

    Great stuff. Thanks for the writeup.

  4. sia says:

    Wimbledon 2008 was indeed a tennis moment. I, myself was laid up with a tennis injury at the time and feeling quite out of sorts that I couldn’t play … but I could watch … and watch I did … all day. That tennis match still makes me cry and honestly I just didn’t want it to end.

  5. Debbie says:

    I was still in my jammies when that match ended. Breakfast at Wimbledon…lunch at Wimbledon…alcohol to calm the nerves at Wimbledon. THAT was amazing. I can’t believe it has almost been a year. I remember “believing” up until the 5th set when Roger was 3 points away and FINALLY setting myself up for a potential Rafa loss saying-okay-if he doesn’t win it will be okay…glad Rafa didn’t think that way. It was soooooo amazing. Best sports memory EVER.

    • Kalliopeia says:

      Oh, not me. It took me until halfway through the fifth to get over the fourth set tiebreak disaster. I still can’t watch that tiebreak, to this day it makes me queasy.

  6. Kalliopeia says:

    I’m on the laptop so I’m not going to attempt to watch the video, I’ll just say…is this physical therapist giving her opinion based on familiarity with the case at hand?

    In other words, is she connected to Rafa or is she making generalizations? I suspect the latter.

    That Wimbledon match was the single most stressful sports event I’ve ever experienced. Talk about an emotional rollercoaster. I tend to become highly irrational during tennis matches involving those two. My aunt called during it and had to hang up because she likes both players and I was in full blown meltdown mode.:) I’m surprised I didn’t have a stroke before it was over. As it was, my head was pounding and I burst into tears when he finally won.

    It was great. :D

  7. MsMoon says:

    The Match will never be duplicated – literally – because of the new roof. The drama of the rain stoppages – who will get the advantage, who will lose momentum – as well as the dead silence by the crowd during points followed by wild cheering – and the amazing shot making by both players – all contributed to the best single sporting event I’ve ever witnessed. That it ended with our Beautiful Boy winning was icing on the cake.

    Thanks for this site – I am a long-time lurker but enjoy all your posts very much.

    • Ch F says:

      I totally agree. The new roof does make things different. It will change tennis more than people think. I’m not even entirely sure if I agree with it being there in the first place…Sometimes I think rain interruptions are also part of tennis. Then again, sports do evolve.
      I loved this match as well. It’s nice it has already gone down in history as the best match ever played with Rafa winning it in the end.

  8. faecoleman says:

    Yes definately my most dramatic moment of 2008, I remember the last 2 games, I just couldn’t watch, then my mum shouts he’s done it, he’s done it, I open my eyes to see Rafa in tears on his back.clenched fists living and savouring his moment of glory, I can’t remember a better feeling watching any tennis match, you did it Rafa, damn it I can’t believe it he finally won! The greatest sporting moment ever!! and what makes it so great is that Rafa won it, the greatest match of all time and Rafa was the victor!

  9. teejustice says:

    Whole-heartedly agree with everyone’s comments. That was just pure joy to experience. That was my final emotion – joy. I was pumped and excited all through. When he was up 5-2 in the 4th set TB, I could feel it. I was jumping up and down, and spinning around in my living room. My grandparents had been in town that week to visit and left early in the first set so I was home alone. I was a mess the whole 5th set. It was so tense. I had serious doubts it would finish, but when Rafa broke for 8-7, I knew he would finish. My mom is a huge Federer fan and does not like Rafa. We didn’t speak the entire day. A couple of weeks later I was driving my brother up for a visit, a 10 hour trip. All I could think about was getting home to watch the match again. He told me he never saw anything past Roger’s ball hitting the net because my mom switched the channel and erased the DVR immediately. LOL

  10. dutchgirl says:

    I agree, it was the most thrilling sports experience ever. I watched every minute of it, keeping faith Rafa could win, but boy, was it exciting. I shouted a loud YES!!! when Rafa finally won and was very emotional. I’ve got the dvd of the match and whenever I watch it, I feel the same tension and emotions I had on the day itself as if I don’t already know the outcome. I have to keep telling myself: you know, he will win :D