The 2008 Wimbledon Championships in London treated the international tennis world to two weeks of glorious grass court tennis, climaxing in historic fashion with Venus Williams & Rafael Nadal triumphing in the women's & men's finals respectively. By defeating her sister Serena in two tough, well-played sets, 7-5, 6-4, the 28 year-old African-American joined Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf & Billie Jean King as the only women to win five singles titles at the hallowed All England Lawn Tennis Club.
Venus has reached the Wimbledon finals in seven of the last nine years, ironically losing both times to the younger Serena, who has eight grand slam singles titles of her own. Williams now owns seven grand slam singles titles & has evened her lifetime match record against Serena at eight victories apiece. They played each other in four straight Wimbledon finals from 2000-2003, with both sisters winning twice, though Serena has bragging rights because she's won all four grand slams singles titles, a record Venus has yet to accomplish. Later in the evening, the two paired to win the women's doubles title in straight sets over American Lisa Raymond & Aussie Samantha Stosur.
In what Hall of Famer John McEnroe called "the greatest match I've ever seen," Spain's Rafael Nadal defeated five-time defending champion & world number one Roger Federer of Switzerland, 6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 9-7. The thrilling final featured exceptional serving from both men, two rain delays & Federer saving three match points, culminating in over four & half fours, the longest men's final in Wimbledon history. Nadal is the first man since Sweden's Bjorn Borg in 1980 to win the French Open & Wimbledon back-to-back. The 22 year-old Nadal surrendered just four games in his straight set demolition of Federer on the red clay of Paris in late May.
The last Spaniard to win Wimbledon was Manuel Orantes - a lefty like Rafa - in 1966, when the tournament was played on clay. In fact, both Borg & Orantes were on hand for the emotional trophy ceremonies. After witnessing world number two Nadal blaze through Federer to win his fourth consecutive French Open title, Borg boldly predicted Nadal would win on grass at Wimbledon this year. Though Nadal narrowly lost the last two Wimbledon finals to Federer, his all-court game has transformed in a short perod of time. The hard-working Nadal has beefed up both his first & second serves, improved his volleys & turned his backhand into a lethal weapon.
Nadal is destined to finish the year with the number one ranking. And, it is no secret amongst tennis experts he wants to be numero uno. Nobody in recent memory can match his intensity, preparation & tenacity on the court. The humble Spaniard broke Federer's serve four times in the match, an amazing feat considering Federer entered the final having been broken just twice, with 84 aces & four double faults. Federer finished the tournament with over 100 aces, yet could not hit first serves when he needed them the most. Also, the gifted Swiss squandered 13 break points against Nadal's serve, who was broken just once the entire match.
Records are made to be broken. When Nadal took Federer to five intense sets in last year's Wimbldeon final, it was the first time Federer was forced to go the distance in a final on grass. Most people thought Federer - as did his idol Pete Sampras - would win the French before Nadal won Wimbledon. In fact, Nadal beat Federer the last three years on red clay, though Federer never threatened Nadal to a fifth & deciding set, as Nadal did last year at Wimbledon. The 26 year-old Federer is just two majors shy of tying Sampras' all-time record of 14. Sampras says he'll be present if and/or when Federer plays for the 14th major, admitting he hoped it would be in "either London or New York."
The way Nadal is playing tennis, Sampras might not be traveling for awhile.
- mark j. tuggle
- 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. firstname.lastname@example.org.