12/15/08 8:29 PM | Ricky Dimon
Tennistalk has recapped the epic 2008 Wimbledon final between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in a seven-part series throughout the past week. It ends with this epilogue.
This one didn’t end with Federer’s final stroke. No, this one lives on forever. In memories, discussions of all-time greatest matches, and most certainly in Wimbledon lore.
It couldn’t have ended with the last shot, because it just kept getting better and better. Considering the magnitude of what had just transpired, it was almost incredible that Federer and Nadal were even able to muster the mental strength to give on-court interviews. But, as usual, the two great champions did, and did so flawlessly.
“Rafa is a deserving champion,” opened Federer. “He just played fantastically. It was a joy again to play here. I’ll be back next year.”
Nadal took it one step further in praising his opponent. The Wimbledon champion even suggested it was unlucky that he had to play in the same era as “the best player of the history, Roger Federer.” When asked if beating Federer made the title even more special, Nadal answered, “He’s still the No.1 (player in the world). He’s still the best. He’s still five-time champion here and right now I have one.”
One for all time, more like it.
You didn’t even have to see the match to know just how historic this event was (or should I say, “is”). Just listening to the post-game comments of various commentators would have been enough.
Nothing told the tale better than the interviews Federer and Nadal did with NBC commentator John McEnroe (who perhaps played perhaps the second best match ever on the very same court 28 years earlier against Björn Borg). Heck, McEnroe even had to end his interview with Federer prematurely because both men were breaking down emotionally. “It was the greatest match I ever witnessed,” McEnroe said to the runner-up. “Give me a hug. Thank you, man. Thank you so much.”
“Unbelievable effort,” McEnroe exclaimed as Nadal approached while Federer exited in tears. “It’s the greatest match I have ever seen in my tennis career.”
“I was crying for like 10 minutes,” admitted Nadal. “It was a dream and now I have the trophy.”
Even after Federer and Nadal were finally allowed to wander off into history, McEnroe couldn’t stop. To fellow announcer Ted Robinson, he explained, “This is one of those days I feel lucky to in some small way be a part of this truly memorable, unbelievable match.”
Shouldn’t we all.
The scoreline shows that Rafael Nadal defeated Roger Federer 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-7(8), 9-7. Perhaps the numbers are correct, but the score is wrong in one critical aspect. “Defeated” suggests there was loser. Well, on this day there were no losers.
Tennis won. We all won.
I hope one day even Federer will agree. I think one day—maybe when and if he surpasses Pete Sampras’ all-time Grand Slam record—he will.
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