July 10, 2006

The new Sampras v. Agassi

Roger Federer defended his Wimbledon title for his fourth straight, beating the 20-year old Spaniard Rafa Nadal in four sets yesterday. Federer lived up to all the hype and with 8 grand slams to his name, he can start taking aim at the greatest of all time. That is, unless Nadal catches him first.Nadal showed Agassi-esque maturity and unbelievable potential in his Wimbledon run. Nadal was a clay court player with a clay court game. Like those that came before him, he was supposed to have no shot on grass, the other end of the tennis-surface spectrum. He was shaky in the opening rounds, nearly falling to an American qualifier after going down two sets to love. He came back to win, and made it unexplainably to the finals, getting better each round.Nadal can win Wimbledon; he can also win the U.S. Open and the Aussie Open. And he can beat Federer...consistently. Going into today's match, Nadal had won 6 of 8 meetings. He'll be able to beat Federer on grass soon enough.The two most defining moments of the 2006 Wimbledon were Nadal's comeback from the two set to love deficit in the early rounds, and the first game of the second set again Federer. Having lost the first set an embarassing 6-0, Nadal broke Federer and pumped his fist to begin the second set. Nadal was convinced theentire tournament that he could win it all. He may very well be right.