Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Progress of Things at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Circa 2008

It should go without saying that hockey is our favorite sport--nothing can compare to it in intensity, power, drama, even beauty--but I've (speaking for myself here, not necessarily Big Shooter) watched tennis all my life and I enjoy the damn thing. 

As you may or may not know, one of tennis' so-called "Grand Slam" tournaments is afoot right now in a leafy southern suburb of London. England, that is, not Ontario (please come to Atlanta Soupy!). Wimbledon is probably the most hallowed of the big tennis tournaments, partly because of the romantic and slightly archaic atmosphere at the All England Club and partly because of the level of weird skill it takes to win on a grass court, and as it happens the Gretzky of tennis (oh hell, the Shakespeare or Michaelangelo or Beatles of tennis), one Roger Federer, is trying to win his sixth Wimbledon. 

Any sports fan should feel grateful to have lived in the era of Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, and, yes, even Tiger Woods (anti-hockey comments or not, I hate golf) because these players mark the pinnacle of achievement in their respective sports. The exact same can be said of Roger Federer. Greatest player of all time and he rarely breaks a sweat. Awfully classy guy as well, much like Jordan or Gretzky. I'm hoping he gets his sixth Wimbledon title. It's too bad that he can't manage to win the French Open; he IS the greatest all-round player of all time, but he has the dumb luck to play at the same time as the greatest clay court specialist of all time, fiery muscular Spaniard Rafael Nadal. Nadal would win Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, and the Australian Open if it weren't for the dominant presence of Federer. Federer would win his only blind spot, the French Open, if not for Nadal. 

Irony or something. 

At any rate, I just wanted to briefly salute Federer from Hockeyland. He's the best of his kind playing in the best tournament of a sport that I love for its individualism and heroic one-person-against-the-world vibe. I wonder if he follows his fellow Swiss in the NHL at all?

No comments: