After yesterday's exhilarating battle on the slippery grass at Wimbledon, most sports writers are flexing their purple muscles in the most amusing ways. Especially in Spain, a country that is probably on the verge of overdosing on sports euphoria after Nadal's victory came just a week after the Spaniards captured Euro 08. Most of the Spanish newspapers declared that this match had turned Rafael Nadal "into a giant." Gigante Nadal!
Brough Scott, from the Telegraph UK, was a bit more dignified and chose to go all Wordsworth on everyone's asses:
• "It ended in darkness but the pair of them had given us a blazing, eternal light. No sport, no playwright, has conjured up such magical theatre as those last three games as Rafa finally found his moment and threw himself triumphantly back on to the dew-gathering Wimbledon turf."
The NY Times' William Rhoden got into the act as well, dubbing Nadal "the muscled young prince" and then ended his essay with this statement:
•On this rainy, gusty Sunday afternoon, then evening, a young man had grown, in stature and legend.
Rafael Nadal, the prince, had become Wimbledon’s king.
It should be noted, however, that Rhoden, on assignment to cover the event in some capacity, didn't see the ending in person. No, he left the FUCKING FINALS MATCH AFTER TWO SETS TO GO SEE FUCKING "Hancock."
• More Britishisms. This time from William Hill gambling parlor spokesman Graham Sharpe:
"What you have here are two players at the peak of their powers and popularity. "They are almost a tennis soap opera - traditional Federer appeals to the mums and dads with his cardigan, and Nadal is the modern sex symbol, appealing to kids with his sleeveless vests."
The kids do love those sleeveless vests. That and their noisy rock and roll music.
• The blog "The Millions" paid tribute to yesterday's match by referencing David Foster Wallace's genius NY Times magazine essay "Federer As Religious Experience", in an effort better emphasize all that television spectators missed out on yesterday.
At least not entirely. TV tennis has its advantages, but these advantages have disadvantages, and chief among them is a certain illusion of intimacy. Television's slow-mo replays, its close-ups and graphics, all so privilege viewers that we're not even aware of how much is lost in broadcast. And a large part of what's lost is the sheer physicality of top tennis, a sense of the speeds at which the ball is moving and the players are reacting.
If he watched yesterday, Wallace could easily pump out 14,000 words on Federer vs. Nadal 2008. Maybe even without footnotes.
John McEnroe Hails Rafael Nadal victory as Greatest Match Ever [Telegraph UK]
A battle of wills that takes the game to a new level [Telegraph UK]
Rafael Nadal As Religious Experience [The Millions]