Yes, today is Opening Day of the NFL season (except, of course, for Opening Night, which is completely separate), and I have, after taking Simon, the Official Dog of the Damn Lefties, on a glorious morning hike to Royal Arch, been sitting around and getting my NFL on.
However, it should not go without note that Andy Murray, the 6 seed at the U.S. Open, just played a damn fine match of tennis to knock off #1 seed Rafael Nadal. This match was suspended by rain yesterday, with Murray up two sets to none, trailing one break in the third set. Nadal came out and won the third, and then went up an early break in the fourth, but Murray rallied and finished it off in four, showing some serious gumption.
A few years back, all the talk was about how all the interest has gone out of men’s tennis, because it has been reduced to a game of booming, 140 mph serves and crushing volleys, with nobody able or willing to ever venture inside the service line. The paradigm of this new game was Andy Roddick – not exactly swift of foot, but able to absolutely smack the living crap out of the ball every time he could get his racket to it.
As happens in every sport, eventually, defense has caught up to offense. In this case, the invention wasn’t so much a new style of play as a new generation of athletes. Federer was the first, but Djokovic and Murray look like the next – big and lanky (Murray, from Scotland, was referred to multiple times as the ‘angular Scot’ during the telecast), but blindingly quick and incredibly balanced, able to take the ball from a variety of heights and direct it with remarkable pace and precision. Nadal, for a while, looked like he was going to be the evolutionary Roddick, able to slam the ball from all over the court, but he has, remarkably, developed into a wonderful exemplar of this new style of tennis.
If you haven’t been watching tennis lately, you ought to try and tune in to the finals, Murray vs. Federer, Monday at 3:30 Eastern time.
And now, I’m off to watch the Chargers and the Panthers pound the snot out of each other for one more quarter. God, I love September…