Wertheim Q&A

Photo by Ben Radford / Corbis

Photo by Ben Radford / Corbis

Atch2 sent in this Time.com article by Eben Harrell in which Jon Wertheim talks about his book Strokes of Genius.

The thing I found most remarkable is the Wimbledon locker room, which the players share. I played middle school basketball, and we wouldn’t prepare in the same room as the opposition. These guys were in the fifth set of a Grand Slam final, with the rule of the sport hanging in the balance, and during the rain delays they are both repairing to the same little room.

I just can’t imagine being stuck in the same room in the middle of all that…drama, you know? I mean, I’m sure their teams circled around them to help form a buffer, but I can’t fathom how odd that is.

In the first rain delay Nadal was up two sets to love, and his uncle, Toni Nadal — who is also his coach — basically says, “You’re up two sets to love. What do you need me for?” Then he actually took a nap in the locker room. [During] the second rain delay, in the fifth set, Uncle Toni is giving Nadal a pep talk, and Nadal interrupts him and says, “Look, don’t worry. I won the first and second sets — I can win the final one.”

Good thing it doesn’t weird out the Nadals to be in that situation.

There were a thousand individual memories — a tidy little package of what we like about sports. But there was one moment at the end, after the trophy presentation, when Federer and Nadal were circling the court in opposite directions with their trophies. And the place was dark but for everyone’s camera flashes. Federer had his runner-up trophy — which was jarring in itself — and they had been fighting and battling, and they pass each other and sort of spontaneously they slap each other a high-five. It was a simple but unrehearsed gesture that for some reason I found so touching.

*pssst – they’ve done something very similar in other years at the exact same tournament.

6 Responses

  1. mary says:

    It’s a beautiful thing when you see 2 opponents having such a rapport for each other that they could spontaneously high five. Moves the heart strings///////

  2. June says:

    I guess I have to go & buy that book now — does anyone have it or read the entire thing yet? I’m just into reading magazines & not books lately since they are too long! Maybe it would be a good summer reading project then :-)

    • dutchgirl says:

      I have been reading it during RG, I needed some good Rafa stuff at the time… It was great reading, I grabbed my book every spare moment I found. I was watching that match all over again. And besides that, it was nice to read the background information on the players as well.

  3. teejustice says:

    I’ve read the book and it is very good. Dutchgirl is right, the background and behind the scenes detail add so much to the already magnificent story of this final. I will say though I was a bit disappointed that it seemed slanted toward Fed. Maybe it’s just the Nadal fan in me, maybe it’s because Fed’s career and total accomplishments are longer, but hey our guy did Win this epic :)

  4. faecoleman says:

    Yes! thats the best thing about this magnificent final, Nadal won! and I remember the year before when he lost to Fed when he should have won, they did the exactly same thing, they walked past each other and high fived” and so they should, over their careers they have been involved in some of the best tennis finals of all time, 2006 Rome was it? or 2007, can’t remember but it was a five setter and Rafa just edged it saving match points, it was amazing too. I think everyone is realising now even more just how disappointing Wimbledon is minus Rafa and to top it Murray goes and loses….

  5. SaraNadal says:

    The book certainly makes for compelling reading :)
    Every Rafa book i have ever read was amazing however, i reccomend getting tthe Rafa Nadal Triumph at Twilight dvd as i can relive the moment again and again