Monday, July 06, 2009
When Rafael Nadal proclaimed two weeks ago that he was not going to be healthy enough to defend his crown, the wind was severely taken out of Wimbledon's sails. No longer could Wimbledon offer the amazing 5-set final between Nadal and Federer. No longer would Federer need to get over the Nadal hurdle to win his record 15th major. Everything seemed to line up towards Federer destroying the entire field and cruising towards another title in London.
The last thing we could have expected was Andy Roddick to return with a vengeance. For the 03 & 04 finalist to reemerge as one of the best grass court players in the game. And even further, the last thing anyone could have expected was for Roddick to battle for so long and so evenly with Federer, a man who has dominated him to endless ends during his career. But there he stood for nearly 4 hours without losing a serve. There he stood tied tied at two sets a piece, where he not Federer had an opportunity in each of the 4 sets.
For all the talk about Nadal v. Federer 08, Roddick v. Federer 09 just might have equalled it in excitement. Both were heart wrenching 5 setters. Both had its twists and turns. Both involved Federer winning epic tie breakers. Both had Federer getting behind quickly and needing to fight back. Both had dominating serving and blistering winners. In 08 you had Nadal searching to finally get over the hump on grass and complete the dominant lap past Federer. In 09 you had Roddick, forever behind Federer trying to get just his 3rd victory over the greatest player of all time, and trying to do this on the biggest stage tennis has to offer. In 09 Roddick was the clear underdog, and we always love the underdog, hell even I was pulling for Roddick.
In the end Federer was just too much, Roddick couldn't quite get it done. But he did give us a classic, a classic which will always be discussed as one of the most entertaining major finals of all time.