07 July 2008

Notes on Everything

I'm going to try to refrain from using the 'B' word in this post, but I fear it will be like eating a doughnut without licking my lips...I wish I'd paid more attention in religion class because I bet there are some killer metaphors I could steal...Federer probably feels like shit right now, but if ever there was honour in defeat, this is it...Federer looked like a little boy lost at Roland Garros a month ago, and frankly it was a frightening, in a small way, like an old certainty beginning to crack. One could say it humanised him, but that would be patronising - just because we're incapable of such greatness doesn't mean we can put it down to some kind of otherness. Nonetheless, it was kind of endearing. Perhaps there was a possibility of him going the same way at two sets down here. Thank God he didn't...Did you know, children, there was a time when a spell of 39 consecutive games without a break of serve (not including tie-breaks) signified nothing more than the tiring, eye-aching dutifulness of the habitual sports fan, rather than a proxy journey into the inner wonders and eternal weirdness of the human soul?...In an alternative universe, this match is still going on; what's more, we're all still watching it...I thought for a moment that God must hate tennis, but he's really just a hell of a dramatist. That rain was a classy touch, no?...I hope there's a disclaimer on those tickets, otherwise the All-England club are in for a torrent of ECG bills...When you think about it, aren't humans amazing? I don't know if one can say we've invented these rituals or had them thrust upon us by our own innate beings, but either way it's inconceivable that they shouldn't exist. Perhaps there's a bunch of aliens out there, existing in a state of transcendence far beyond our imaginations, and they're laughing at us and our silly little stickball games. But you know what, Zlorbazoids? Screw you. It's ours, and we like it, and I feel sorry for you that you'll never get to know the feeling of watching a cross-court backhand winner on a television screen and involuntarily gasping as a result...It's sometimes a bit of a shock to see the global viewing figures for the biggest sporting events and to realise that only 0.001% of the earth's population was watching, and that the world is still turning...Was I the only one who felt a twinge of inadequacy while watching this?...Most of the match was predictable; you knew, or at least had a strong hunch, that as soon as it looked like one man had found the poison, the other would immediately find an antidote. 'Predictable' is often used as a euphemism for boring, apparently...Good guys wear white. Angels wear white. Tennis players following the strict attire regulations of the All-England Lawn Tennis & Crocquet Club wear white...The alternate attempts of each player to manipulate the space of the court in baseline tennis is a thing of wonder when executed by these two, and particularly so when carried out with such controlled power. Simon Barnes likens tennis to a duel. I'm proud to live in an age where we have a bloodless substitute for sword-fighting. Fencing doesn't count, from my voyeuristic armchair view. Tennis is what fencing looks like in super slo-mo...Nadal's passing shot at 7-7 in the fourth set tie-break!...Federer's backhand winner at 7-8 in the fourth set tie-break!...Federer's roar when he won the fourth set tie-break!...It's said that in the future, scientists will be able to work out how this match got better and better and better the longer it went on...Not to generalise, but I kind of turned against the crowd when they laughed at the French umpire's tripping up over the word 'challenges'...Rafael Nadal prised the sword from the stone today...Sport as substitute for nuclear Armageddon: Federer and Nadal fire every weapon in their stockpile at each other so we don't have to...Or should that be Nadal and Federer?...This is fucking ridiculous...I wasn't born when the Thriller in Manilla happened...Rafa's OCD rituals are quite sweet, aren't they?...Tit-for-tat replay challenges...Sitting on my sofa, hundreds of miles away, even I was intimidated by Roger Federer's serve...I have a pain in my neck from shaking my head so much...Are footballers just a big bunch of wusses? If they cry at losing a penalty shoot-out, how would they cope in a tie-break, or with being 7-7 in the final set of a Grand Slam final?...I haven't eaten in, like, twelve hours...It is a skill to be able to withstand the crashing waves of silence in the seconds just before a serve in a Wimbledon final...Usually in any sports tournament, you would like to see some upsets along the way. This time, even forgetting about the benefit of hindsight, who in their right minds would have wished for that?...What's a Euro 2008?...Oh, sod it - 'Beauty', and all derivatives thereof...Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, thank you. Just, thank you.


Anonymous,  8/7/08 1:38 AM  

Thank God. I am relieved to know that I wasn't the only one who understood that this Match was Important and Wonderful and Beautiful and For the Ages.
This match was decisive proof that the gods on Mt. Olympus have absolutely nothing on us (suddenly ennobled) mortals.

Why did it have to end? I wanted Nadal to win, but didn't want Federer to lose...and the converse as well.

Very good point about upsets. Usually I don't want to see the #1 and #2 pitted against each other in the final. But anything other than Federer/Nadal in a final is waste these days.

My only fear is that Federer will somehow have been crushed psychologically by this loss. In the interest of prolonging the vitality of the rivalry, I am now on record as hoping for Federer to take the US Open. Honestly, though, I doubt that he will.

Great post, Fredorraci!

Brian 8/7/08 2:30 AM  

David Foster Wallace says you can use the B-word. I'm not sure how he coped with the match yesterday, but I'm thinking of calling some Pomona-area hospitals to try to find out.

fredorrarci 8/7/08 11:35 PM  

Thanks for that link, Brian. I didn't know about that piece.

Deadspin informs us that the NY Times guy covering Sunday's match left after two sets to watch Hancock. He openly admits to this in his piece, as well as to watching the rest of it in a pub. Oh, except for the final points, because he'd left the pub for his hotel by that point. He actually wrote about all of this. That's enviable job security.

How Federer responds to this is going to be so interesting. He looked so deflated afterwards, and while that can be put down to the nature of the match, will it have a longer-lasting effect? He's never been in the position before. I'm with you, Susan - I hope he bounces back.

And what role will Novak Djokovic play in this power struggle in men's tennis? What's he thinking right now?

fredorrarci 9/7/08 12:03 AM  

Actually, Deadspin does also say that William Rhoden, the aforementioned NY Times fella, "was 'vacationing' and just happened to be there. (Or, not, rather.)" I feel bad now.

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