i am

My photo
harlem, usa
same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. mjt975@msn.com.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Roger & Venus Make 2007 Wimbledon Championship History

Roger Federer & Venus Williams both entered the record books with their respective 2007 Wimbledon singles titles. World #1 Federer defeated Spain's Rafael Nadal 7-6 (9-7), 4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 2-6, 6-2 to capture his fifth consecutive singles title, tying Bjorn Borg, who won five in a row from 1976-1980. Borg was present at the historic match. Williams, the lowest seeded player to win at Wimbledon, defeated France's Marion Bartoli 6-4, 6-1 to win her fourth title on the grass, joining Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova & Steffi Graf as the only women with four championships in the open era.

Federer's monumental effort gave him 11 grand slam singles titles, tying him with Borg & Rod Laver for 3rd most, behind Roy Emerson's 12 titles & Pete Sampras' 14 titles (seven at Wimbledon). The win was especially significant because it represented the first time in five years Federer was extended to five sets at the All-England Club. Ironically, Nadal was also chasing history trying to become the only player since Borg to win the French Open & Wimbledon in the same year. Borg achieved the dubious distinction of triumphing from red clay to green grass in three consecutive years, from 1978-1980.

For the second year in a row, Federer & Nadal would go head-to-head for the coveted Wimbledon crown, a rivalry worthy of Borg-McEnroe comparisons from the late 70's & early 80's. Nadal, the 22 year-old three time French Open champion, has improved considerably on grass by beefing up his serve, shortening his service return swing & volleying with the precision of a surgeon. After winning the third set in a tiebreak, Federer seemed poised to win in four sets like he did last year, but the tenacious Nadal broke Federer convincingly in games one & three.

Nadal asked for a trainer after the fifth game, leading four games to one, to tape his left leg. The crowd worried about Nadal's ability to continue effectively when he served game six. Undaunted, Nadal would take the game & the set, 6-2, extending the visibly frustrated Swiss to a fifth set. The entire match was a joy to behold with both players hitting winners from the baseline & the net repeatedly. Federer saved four break points with four aces in his first two service games, before breaking Nadal in game six to take a commanding 4-2 lead. Federer finished with 24 aces en route to his incredible victory.

Venus Williams' father predicted she'd win the tournament at the outset. Though having a sub-par year, this was her sixth final in eight years, an amazing feat rivaled only by the Chicago Bulls' six NBA titles between 1991-1998. In fact, the only woman ever to beat Venus on Wimbledon's famed Centre Court is her sister Serena, who has eight grand slam singles titles in her career. Venus soundly defeated two Russian grand slam singles champions - Maria Sharapova & Svetlana Kuznetsova - before defeating 19 year-old Ana Ivanovic of Serbia in the semifinals.

The surprise French finalist, Bartoli beat #3 seed Jelena Jankovic of Serbia in the quarterfinals & #1 seed Justine Henin to reach her first grand slam final. Despite early understandable jitters, Bartoli played well, using her two-handed groundstrokes to run Venus from side to side. As a kid, Bartoli watched in awe on television as Monica Seles defeated Steffi Graf at Wimbledon & decided she wanted to play professional tennis. Ultimately, she was no match for Venus, who is most comfortable on grass, a long way from the bullet-riddled, drug-infested, hard courts of Compton, California she grew up on as a teenager.

Williams was seeded #23, noticeably three spots lower than #20 Bartoli, breaking her own record set during her 2005 victory over Lindsay Davenport when she was seeded #14. Williams played the entire championship in shorts - the source of some controversy at this traditional, Victorian setting - due to a mixup with her dress sizes. Venus saved two match points in her first round win & was down five games to three in the third set of her third round win. She never lost a set afterwards, making steady progress in each successive round, showing the world what champions are truly made of.

No comments: