Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Every prophet in his house

Babe Ruth had Yankee Stadium. Michael Jordan had Chicago Stadium. Brett Favre has the vaunted Lambeau Field.
Rafael Nadal has Roland Garros.
And Roger Federer's house (for now) is the All England Lawn and Tennis Club, and he is already among the exclusive members. His victory Sunday put him in league with one Rod Laver, who also won four straight Wimbledons. He has eight majors now, and in two years or less, he could exceed Pete Sampras's record of 14 Grand Slams. He's 24, folks. Scary, isn't it?
Not quite as scary as his opponent in the Wimbledon final. Rafael Nadal is 20. He has never lost at the French Open. He has a 6-2 edge on Federer. He was 3-2 at Wimbledon before this effort (beating Mario Ancic in 2003). Nadal was outclassed in Sunday's match, but he was fighting, and still showed his ability to fluster Federer. He also showed a glimpse of what could become one of the best rivalries in sports. Tennis fans saw what one-sided dominance did to tennis when Sampras was world number one for six years --fascinating, yet lacking suspense. Right now, there are two men at the top of the game who are at the top of their game, challenging each other at nearly every event they play.
Their Wimbledon final may not have been one for the ages, but their rivalry will be. What more could a tennis fan want?
Well, one thing. C'mon, Rafa, how 'bout some new gear? Pair of shorts, maybe?

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