The two best tennis players in the world put in a longer shift this weekend than most anyone at Wimbledon, racking five hours’ playing time over eight hours. Skipping between the raindrops and peering through the nigh-darkness (as the match ended after 9 pm local time) could not stop these two behemoths from a mythical battle that ended with Rafael Nadal cradling the silver Championship cup like a treasured teddy bear.
The final score rattles on like the match: 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-7 (8), 9-7. Nadal had Roger Federer pinned numerous times, down two sets to none and down repeatedly in set tiebreaks. However, Federer served up furious blows and Nadal contorted himself to return every crushing chin shot with one of his own.
If someone told you in 30 years that each of those crashing shots upended enough earth to eventually build a mountain range or gash a river through the center of the isle, you might well believe them. There was certainly enough water to fill the riverbed; rain delays threatened to drain the drama often.
However, both players’ superior conditioning and mental focus allows them to return from their corners for another round. Neither man showed any fatigue or distraction, even as the final shots were taken.