What are you going to be doing Sunday morning at 2:30? You’ll probably be sleeping right? That would be a huge mistake. Have you ever witnessed greatness and then come to the sad realization and concluded that you will never get to see it again? I did. For the better part of my high school years I watched Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal battle at the top of their sport, each championship tennis match better than the last, and it was truly phenomenal. I became a fan of Nadal and watched him climb the ladder to become the best tennis player in the world and then came the fall. It happened quickly, almost in the blink of an eye, and all of a sudden he wasn’t even that relevant anymore. I would get notifications on my phone that he’d been beaten in an early round of the grand slam tournaments and I shrugged it off. It no longer surprised me and I thought the era of Nadal winning at the highest level was over. I lost interest in watching tennis, and haven’t watched it regularly for the past few years, but come Sunday morning, my eyes will be glued to the TV, watching greatness once again.
Aside from the US Open, I figured the Australian Open would be the least winnable tournament for Raphael Nadal. He’s never been as good on those hard courts as on the grass or clay, the other two surfaces played on in grand slam tournaments. I figured Novak Djokovic or Andy Murray would come out of the tournament as the champion, the dominant players in this era of tennis, but they both lost, and my hope was renewed that possibly the aging player from Spain whom was once my favorite athlete might have one last big victory left in him. Nadal won today, cementing his place in the championship match in two days, playing against his old nemesis, possibly the greatest player in the history of the sport, Roger Federer.
For those of you who don’t follow tennis, the Nadal/Federer matchup could possibly be one of the greatest rivalries in all of sports. The two have faced off numerous times in high stakes championships and have put on an incredible show for everyone watching. Throughout the course of Federer’s dominant career, Nadal was the only player to beat him consistently, leading the head to head rivalry with 23 wins to Roger’s 11. The matches are very rarely one sided, but the great player from Switzerland has oftentimes been bested by the younger Spaniard. I don’t know if the Australian Open final this Sunday will be among the greatest matches ever played between the two, it probably won’t be as both are several years removed from the peaks of their respective careers, but it will be fun to watch nonetheless. Despite the fact that I have to work on Sunday, I will be wide awake at 2:30 in the morning watching greatness once again, and you would be wise to do the same. Vamos Rafa!