Tom Flynn sends us an afterthought to his ‘The Big Hit.’
It’s 11:30 on Sunday and I’m already a laggard in labeling today’s Wimbledon’s final the greatest ever. Time and distance tend to be requisites before such a slotting, as you might expect at a place called The All England Lawn Tennis Club, but the need for restraint was mercilessly slugged away through three rain delays and five sets this afternoon.
An emotional John McEnroe led the charge, shoving aside his own 1980 five-set valiance against Bjorn Borg in the process. Then Bud Collins followed suit and his endorsement is as close to an official stamp as exists in matters of tennis opinion.
When Roger Federer dropped the first two sets and then drew even with Rafael Nadal after four, I began cheering the match itself. Even rooting on Nadal, it was impossible to hope that he would take the last set 6-0 and sully perfection by playing perfectly. He didn’t and with Lord Roger across the net, I needn’t have given it much thought. The fifth set—which can’t be won via tiebreaker at Wimbledon—was taken by Rafa in a manner befitting the match: narrowly and only after 16 grueling games. In the end, the greatest grass court player in history lost in the greatest match ever played at Wimbledon. Look for that in stone across the tennis world in the morning.