Pardon my flair for the dramatic, but this is what makes tennis great.
This is why you don't change a thing. Two great players -- Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal -- shouldn't have a coach on the sideline to tell them what to do. They should have to figure it out themselves, practically on the spot (except for tiebreaks. And I hate to mention this now, but Fed, if you had a coach now, he might have come in handy at that particular point in time).
This is why you don't play a fifth-set tiebreak. A tiebreak to end it all has its own allure and tensions, but really, what's better than watching two champions go back and forth until one of them legitimately defeats the other?
Without those factors, you don't stay glued to your seat watching history unfold, watching the boundaries of a rivalry expand before your eyes. Never mind being glued to a seat. I was on my feet for the entire fifth set. Anyone else?
I guess it takes situations like this to show the mettle of a player, and Nadal showed his, big time. After losing two tiebreakers after having a two-set lead, you just expect someone to just mentally fold it up. Maybe the rain delays helped a little, but how do you get past being up 5-2, and later holding two match points in the fourth-set tiebreak, only to let them slip away?
And then there's Federer, who, let's face it, could have won this match had he played it a bit differently. Meaning? Meaning that he could have serve-and-volleyed more. Meaning that he should be used to having his backhand attacked by Nadal by now, and it should be more than a defensive shot. Meaning that he played it safe with his forehand far too often. He was at his best when he was crushing those midcourt balls into the corners. Can't blame him, but the man clearly got tight with his forehand at the end by practically guiding them into the court, and it's how he lost match point.
Despite all that, Federer had the mental fortitude to come back from mini-devastations during the match, like allowing a 4-2 lead (!) in the second set dissolve. He missed out on a lot of break point opportunities (1-13), but you have to respect that a lot of that had to do with the quality of his opponent.
Of course, the other obvious implication of Nadal's win at Wimbledon means their rivalry has ended all predictability based on the surface. Now, when these two meet, anywhere, anything can happen, and I'm sorry, NBC, but that's what qualifies as Must See TV.
Sure hate to sound greedy after that epic, but I'd like more helpings of matches like those, please.