Thursday, July 9, 2009
Behind The Scoreboard
First, allow me to hope that you all had a very wonderful, safe and enjoyable holiday. It seems like even the weather cooperated. Well, around here, anyway. Not so at Wimbledon in England – the site of the “king and queen” of all tennis matches.
This year’s run which had enough “side attractions” to heighten and hold the interest of any tennis buff, also added another very attractive dimension – a roof over Centre Court. For over a hundred years, the play has always had to be halted whenever rain intervened in the fortnight’s games. This year the new roof was chanted in to the delight of a packed house, watching the number one seed in the tennis world, Dinara Safina, showing the gate to Amelie Mauresmo.
But that was not the real reason the throng had gathered so strong. They were there to lend their support to the golden hope of the United Kingdom, a 22-year-old Scottish lad by the name of Andy Murray. Murray was trying to bring the crown back to England where it hasn’t rested since Fred Perry last hoisted it in 1936. Murray, ranked number three, and his opponent, Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland, set a new record for carrying the game well into the night.
It was more than a bit of nostalgia which crept in when a clip was shown of Murray’s hometown of Dublane, Scotland, prior to his match. I recalled vividly the time which I spent in the beautiful country some years ago. The clip also recounted the senseless tragedy which occurred there over a decade ago.
When the fortnight finally ran its course Sunday, it was all about the Williams sisters, Andy Roddick and Roger Federer. It was all but concluded before the games began that it would be a siblings finals, pitting sister against sister. Big sis Venus was seeking her sixth Wimbledon golden platter and little sis Serena was trying for her third. Serena said, after dispatching Venus, that she was not playing her sister, she was just trying to win. Venus made no excuses, although her left knee was heavily braced.
The men’s finals on Sunday brought the house down. Federer outlasted Roddick (United States) in the longest final set ever. He did it in front of the world’s tennis heavyweights, Pete Sampras (whose record he broke). Rod Laver (four grand slams in one season ), and Bjorn Borg.
You have to give the Brits kudos for their outstanding reserve. When the favorite son didn’t erase the drought, their sentiment was, “Murray will be back next year. Or the next.”
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