In sports, the nostalgia of a theme often overtakes the true meaning of an accomplishment.
If this were not true, you would not hear so many sports fans calling a player overrated or underrated, and you would not be reading article after article reminding people of a remarkable event that the general public seems to have forgotten.
After watching the Federer vs. Roddick Wimbledon Final, I expected, unlike some, a close match, perhaps not a five set match, but a strong effort from both Roddick and Federer.
I got a match of a lifetime, and there were certain facts about the match that I feel support it over the previous year's Final as the greatest match ever played, at least at Wimbledon, and at least in the Open Era.
The following slides entail why I feel it was better than Federer vs. Nadal.
Once again, enjoy.
Seemingly error free match.
In a match that saw more points played than any other, there were less mistakes than in the previous men's final.
The one glitch, and the biggest scar on the Federer vs. Nadal epic was Federer's abundance of unforced errors.
In the '08 Final, Federer made 52 unforced errors, Nadal made 27.
In the '09 Final, Federer made 38, while Roddick made 33.
Considering the point played, the '09 Final was one of the most error-free finals in recent memory.
Federer was also 1-for-13 on break point chances in '08, compared to 1-for-7 in '09.
The '09 Final was a stiff brawl of ace heads.
Federer ended up with a career-high 50 aces in a match.
And although Roddick had "only" 27 aces, don't let the number fool you, it's the fact that Federer was able to get a racket on more of Andy's serves, however, many went long or didn't make the net.
The service game for both was amazing, arguably the best in a Slam Final ever, and it was the reason the match went on and on and on, in a good way.
Also of note was the serve speed. Federer's fastest was 135 and Roddick's at 143, as opposed to last year's match of Federer's 129 to Nadal's 120.
Four close sets to three.
In the 2008 Final, what many may want to forget, or choose to, is that Nadal won the first two sets 6-4, and even though Federer was up 4-1 in the second set, he still lost it 6-4, making for clear-set victories for Nadal.
In the 2009 Final, the first set went to 5-5 with a close finish. The second-set tiebreaker saw Roddick go up 6-2 and Federer win six straight. The third set also went to tiebreak, and then we got the epic fifth set.
A closer match, and even though seeing a player try to come back down two sets to none, it makes for a tighter match when a player isn't in that kind of hole.
A greater fifth set, the greatest there ever was.
16-14—think about that for a moment.
Now, back in 1958, Ashley Cooper took the title winning 13-11 in the fourth set, but that was a four-set match, and it was 13-11, not 16-14.
The back-and-forth swing in the fifth set of stoic service games will go down in history, and I believe the match will too, as the greatest Wimbledon Final when all is said and done.
What makes it even better is how the two warriors of Federer and Roddick continued to play at a high-risk, high-reward level, almost ignoring the magnitude of, "you lose two games, you're done."
It would be hard to witness 16-14 again, and it never happened, ever, at any Slam, so that's something to think about when thinking of history and what you witnessed as a fan.
Of course, seeing Nadal become the first man in over 20 years to win a French Open and Wimbledon title in the same year was nice, but that outcome was much less historic than if Federer had won his sixth in a row.
Now, Federer won his 15th Slam, the most ever, period, and at Wimbledon, when it seemed unlikely considering his loss at the Australian Open and his initial chances at the French Open crown.
It also gave him his total sixth title, one behind Sampras.
I can only wonder, what's a greater accomplishment, what Federer did on Sunday, or what he could have done last year?
Six in a row seems great, but winning 15 Slams is also unprecedented, and it's Federer on his favorite and most beloved surface.
Overall, what I'm getting at is a Federer win seems like historic and groundbreaking. While Nadal may also have this come up in his future, Federer's wins rewrite the history books.
The glaring argument in favor of Nadal vs. Federer of last year is the quality of tennis.
Not so much an error-free game, because it wasn't on Federer's side, but the belief that Federer a year younger and without dropping a set, and Nadal in his physical prime made a better clash of greats than an older Federer and a comeback Roddick, and a tournament without Nadal period.
While that is a fair argument, a match can be judged as great on many levels, and in terms of closeness and points played, the 2009 Wimbledon Men's Final is unquestionably at the top.
Now, whether to asses that Nadal of 2008 was better than Federer and Roddick of '09 as players is a matter of opinion, as again, Federer did make a lot more unforced errors against Nadal in the '08 final, and there could be an argument made that it is a mental struggle for Federer and that against Nadal he does not play his best tennis.
Against Roddick, he can and did, and Roddick has improved by every analytical perspective, it seems.
However, I admit, this might be a "what have you done for me lately" thought process. Although I did see the Federer vs. Nadal from last year on Saturday, so it was like watching back to back great games, and 16-14 still sounds better.