Wednesday, May 2, 2007

The Battle of the Surfaces

It’s over. What seemed to be an April Fool’s joke turned into one of the most watched sports events around the world. Hyperbole? The official site said the match on the specially created court, half clay, half grass (which was really a golf green) was being shown in countries someone on a forum said were not exactly places that were tennis hotspots:

Indian, Japan, South Africa, South America, Brazil, Hispanic US, Sub Korea, Germany, South Korea, China, Hong Kong, Macao, Thailand, Switzerland, Russia, Ukraine, Netherlands, Singapore, ,Middle East, UAE, Dubai

But pictures of the court being constructed were shown on many fan boards with an air of “yeah right” surrounding them. When it became more and more certain that the match was actually going to take place some were concerned about injury to the players – one wrong move and the entire mens tennis season could go down in flames while others, yours truly included, took an “I’ll believe it when I see it” attitude.
It wasn’t until the night of April 30th, when great pictures of the court showed up on Yahoo that I allowed myself to say “Wow! This is really going to happen.” And I got excited about it.

Exhibitions are curious things in the tennis world. All year we hear about the season being too long and the executives of both the men’s and women’s tours have taken controversial steps to try and rectify how much their commodities have to play during the year. Yet I don’t think any player turns down the chance to make nice money for three sets of tennis no matter when the exo is scheduled to take place. While this one occurred at an unusual time for top players only a few grumbled that they didn’t want to hear anymore about the season being too long. The arena, located in Palma de Mallorca sold out. And on the day of the event tennis fan boards were clogged with people screaming for live feeds. Pictures uploaded from the match went around the world with the speed of lightning.

My fave comment of the day is this one:

I don't care about this gimmicky match but I do hope they don't get injured.

By the way, is Fed's forehand working?
found on the 44 page thread on dedicated to a match that was just an exhibition match.

Someone posted a recap of the point in the first set when Rafa went up 5-4.

Nadal on the red stuff

15:0 serve winner Nadal
30:0 ditto
30:15. FH out
40:15. FH DTL forces error
40:30. Short bh just behind the net forces volley error. Federer nearly slipped.
Deuce. DF.
Adv. Nadal. Chip and charge from Fed, but passing shot Nadal.

Game Nadal. FH winner.

5:4 Nadal

There was the grunt-ometer report:

The heavy grunting has started. Things are getting serious!

There was this rebuttal to those who figured both men would play it for laughs
LOL what match are u guys watching? They’re playing as hard as I’ve seen them play. at the first changeover fed was already sweaty. And quit complaining and just enjoy it for what it is.

And there were the shoe changes which had some saying the match would last forever since Rafa had to change his insoles as well has his shoes.

But in the end it was the tennis. The first two sets as expected were split but the way to getting there was not a walk in the park for either man. Federer tried to lighten the mood but it seems Rafa was having none of it. After it was all over the two men sat side by side talking amiably despite the battles that loom ahead for them. For today tennis won. And that is a good thing.


Craig Hickman said...

Nice summary. Linking it now.

(You'd be shocked by how many hits came today.)

MadProfessah said...

Nice summary...

Savannah said...