I guess the Wimbledon gods wanted to save the best for last this fortnight. After many of the tops seeds fell to the wayside early in the tourney, a lull fell over the green grass of The All England Club. But that moment was truly the calm before the magnificent storm, providing fans some of the most exciting, dramatic and exquisite tennis ever seen at Wimbledon.
The big question on everyone's tongues this morning seems to be: is Rafael Nadal the best baller in the world? After his incredibly inspiring and dramatic 9-7 in the fifth win over 5-time defending champion Roger Federer in the Wimbledon final (the longest men's final in its history), it's hard to argue otherwise. The Mallorcan Matador kept the form that saw him crush the Swiss in Paris and dominated the tournament from start to finish with his penetrating groundies, world-class athleticism and laser focus on every point - Rafa gave nothing away (well, except for the potentially disastrous double-fault in the fourth set tie break.) He becomes the first baller on the ATP Tour to win the French Open and Wimbledon back-to-back since Bjorn Borg in 1980 and the first Spaniard to win the Championship since Manuel Santana in 1966. And with the Tours now turning to the Olympics and the US summer hard-court swing, the time is ripe for the Spaniard to make his move to the top official.
And what of Roger Federer now? Well, this loss will hurt badly - very badly. The Swiss maestro went through the draw without dropping a set but was broken is his second service game in first set and was never able to regain the edge - symbolic of his efforts so far this year. But Fed can find solace in the fact that the meat of the season is upon us and I'm sure a gold medal in Beijing would help right his wrongs. But what can be said of his confidence? Only time will tell.
Marat Safin became the comeback story of the fortnight. The giant Russian finally found his grass-court feet, dismantling then sharing a tender moment with third seed Novak Djokovic in a second round stunner. Unfortunately, Marat's run ended quickly at the hands of Fed in the semifinals but his effort will see the 2-time Grand Slammer jump into top 40 after beginning the tourney at no. 75. I'd be remiss if I didn't also mention Rainer Schuettler, who emerged from the challenger ranks to make the final four of a Grand Slam for the first time since his run to the '03 Aussie Open final.
Speaking of Nike-wearing Nole, what's to make of his disappointing second round loss to Marat? Clearly, the pressure of being a favorite at Wimbledon and potentially taking the second spot in the rankings undid the Serb. But don't despair Nole fans: the hard-court swing is upon us again where the 21-year old's game truly soars. Could he be Fed's spoiler at the Olympics and US Open this time around?
And let's not forget Andy Roddick. The disappointments continue to build for the 2-time Wimbledon finalist, getting shown the Club's exit door by crafty Janko Tipsarevic in the second round. How many chances does the American baller have left to add to his lone Slam title? Not many but he may have saved his savviest move for this year's US Open, opting to skip the Olympics to train and focus on the year's last major. A-Rod might be the last baller standing when all is said and done in September.
Kudos also go out to Tipsy for his win over A-Rod and Andy Murray, who sleighed a few demons by making his first major quarterfinal after coming back from 2-sets down to defeat dancing Richard Gasquet and shelving the "Mopey Murray" name tag for now.
What were your fave moments from this year's Wimby? Do tell!
(image via Getty)