Nadal, New Emperor of Tennis
It really was a magnificent match, scintillating quality from beginning to end despite being delayed by rain at the start and interrupted by rain twice along the way. Until now the Wimbledon match that defined all matches was the great Borg-McEnroe final of 1980, the five-setter that featured the 18-16 fourth-set tie-break, which McEnroe won, forcing the fifth set that Borg won, 8-6. The last two sets of that match were the memorable ones. The previous sets, the first two especially, were dull. No 34-point tie-breaker in the Federer-Nadal final, but there were no dull moments here, no dullard stretches, no low-quality sets. It was full-throttle from beginning to end, four hours and forty-eight minutes of unbelievable shots from both players, miraculous gets, superhuman efforts, and in the end, an astounding scaling of Federer’s Swiss Alps on nothing but Nadal’s heart. He got him, winning the fifth set 9-7 by finally breaking the champion and ending Federer’s dream of winning a sixth straight Wimbledon, something no one has ever done (the guy who did it in the 19 th century doesn’t count: he only had to win one match to defend his title.) This is a match for the ages. We live-blogged it here (although there’s nothing more pointless than live-blogging). If you missed this match, you missed something people will be talking about endearingly for many years. It was that unique. Final score: 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-7 (8), 9-7.