The Sun Finally Comes Out at Wimbledon 2007

[Updated: Video added.]

After 2 weeks of rain delays and constant schedule shuffling, a soggy Wimbledon came to a glorious finish today with one of the best matches I’ve seen in a long time. Certainly the best since Agassi’s gutsy goodbye to the U. S. Open last September.

Today, Roger Federer battled an amazing Rafael Nadal through 5 sets to finally take his 5th straight Wimbledon, tying the great Bjorn Borg’s record.

Being a fan of someone like Federer who so dominates their sport can make you feel guilty sometimes, like you should root for the underdog instead of the sure thing. Usually, Federer is the sure thing, especially on grass. 11 grand slam titles; 9 straight grand slam finals. He’s never been forced to a fifth set in any of his grand slam finals.

Roger Federer aces

It all seems too easy for him.

But today was not easy.

Nadal, who recently defeated Federer in the French Open finals, showed that he’s not content to play #2 to Federer’s #1. He was relentless. He showed both physical toughness and delicate finesse, never giving up, never being intimidated by Federer’s 24 aces, causing the usually unflappable Federer to waiver, to crack, to show some self-doubt.

When Nadal forced Federer to a 5th set, I worried. Federer rarely has to play a 5th set. He relies on overpowering his opponents early, dominating them into submission with his raw talent before he even breaks a sweat. Now he was entering the point of a match that depends on mental and physical toughness. It’s a different game in set 5. Would Federer, who strolled on court cool and confident in a white suit, harkening back to the days when gentleman played lawn tennis in white flannel trousers and hats, would the pretty boy Federer have the grit to win when his back was against the wall?

Roger Federer in suit at Wimbledon 2007

He did. In fact, that’s where he shone. After only breaking serve once in the first four sets, after losing 2-6 in the 4th set, Federer unleashed the full force of his talent and skill and crushed Nadal 6-2 in the final set. Nadal, who in the first four sets looked like he believed he could truly win, suddenly looked stunned and beaten. When Federer smashed the final point, he collapsed to the ground weeping.

Roger Federer wins Wimbledon 2007

Roger Federer wins Wimbledon 2007

It was a magnificent match. Both players were outstanding, giving us an amazing 3 hours and 45 minutes of tennis. Nadal showed that he’s a #1 player himself. Federer showed that he has depth and grit as well as grace and talent.

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, Wimbledon 2007

Good friends, a tasty brunch, and some spectacular tennis. What a wonderful way to spend a summer Sunday morning.

Roger Federer wins his 5th Wimbledon

Here’s video of match point and post-match interviews:

And here’s a condensed video of the 5th set:

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