Nadal vs. Federer.
Finally, a match that matters. It’s been far too long.
As a kid, my dream was to become professional tennis player. I played all the time. If I couldn’t find a partner, I’d smack a ball against our garage door for hours on end. It helped that I grew up in the era of McEnroe, Borg and Connors, great personalities and skilled craftsmen who captured the nation’s attention.
Unfortuantely, tennis has fallen on hard times, having been overtaken by golf (YAWN) as the recreational sport of choice. Ask anyone who’s the most dominant athlete in sports today and inevitably they’ll answer (YAWN) Tiger Woods.
I’d argue that golfers are anything but athletes (Exhibit A, and B: Fat tub of goo John Daly). Besides that, Tiger’s got nothing on Roger Federer, who’s so good it hurts. Literally. Because he has no peer, tennis has suffered. Hottie Andy Roddick proved but a tease. Will Rafael Nadal flame out as well?
Nadal actually enters the finals of the French Open as somewhat of a favorite; he’s beaten Federer five out of six times, and he’s won 59 consecutive matches on clay.
I’d wager that streak will end today. Federer is simply breathtaking to watch, and the coolest cat in sports. He’s Bjorn Borg incarnate, but better. He makes Sampras and Agassi look like Roscoe Tanner and Eliot Teltscher in comparison.
I hope Nadal finds a way, because tennis is desperate for a rivalry (it would be nice if an American could rise to that challenge). Perhaps then the most sublime of sports will make a comeback.