This Week In Semi-Obscure Sports

May 25, 2009

Today marked the start of the summer tennis season, my favorite under-sung sport of the last few years.  Mostly under-sung, at least on the men’s side, because we are witnessing absolute and utter world domination by two players, neither of whom are American.  Which makes it hard to know who to cheer for, you know?

Nadal set the men’s record today, winning his 29th straight match at Roland-Garros.  Not too shabby.  He’s aiming to be the first player to ever win 5 straight French Opens, which I assume would cement his reputation as the best claycourt player of all time.

Of course, he is well on his way towards nosing his way into the conversation as one of the greatest players of all time, having unseated Federer at Wimbledon last year as well, pulling off the extremely  rare clay/grass same-year twofer – the last player to do so was Bjorn Borg in 1980.  He also won his first hardcourt major in Sydney earlier this year.

At the same time, Federer actually beat Nadal, on clay, a few weeks back, a move that has to give him a little confidence and might help exorcize some remaining demons from last year’s 6-1, 6-3, 6-0 demolition at Nadal’s hands in the French Final.

I, for one, cannot wait to see these two meet up, yet again, in the finals this year, and I’m looking forward to another summer of tennis excitement!

Can’t Wait (OR Is it here yet?)

September 7, 2008

Like Dave, I’m excited for tomorrow. Partly, for that tennis final, which I’ll be unable to watch (damn work and commute.)

Even more so, though, I’m excited for Rachel Maddow’s new show. Why? Watch the first minute of this, that’ll explain everything.

While I have you, though, I thought I’d spend some time rambling about tennis.

After Nadal’s win at Wimbledon, all the bobbleheads (I’m looking at you McEnroe) were claiming that, without question, Nadal was the now the best player in the world. Personally, I was a little hesitant to subscribe to that belief. Until that win, the only major Nadal had won was the French. He’d never made the final of the Australian or the US Open. Sure, he beat Federer on grass, which was a feat in and of itself, but it didn’t seem certain that Nadal was, without doubt, the better player.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Nadal is a phenomenal player, and he’s having a phenomenal season. His season rivals some of those that Federer had a couple years ago (when he won 3 majors and reached the finals of the french). And yes, Federer is not as dominant now as he once was, but it still seems like an open question about who is the better player.

And now, Federer has reached the US Open Final to play…  Andy Murray, who beat Nadal in the semi.

So, is Nadal still the better player? Who knows…  Nadal still has one more surface to master. Until then, this should still be open for debate.

Needless to say, if Federer wins tomorrow, regains some of his confidence and has a few months to regain his form, the Federer / Nadal rivalry will be truly awesome to watch.