Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Williams Sisters Look Back on Wimbledon History

josh millarSenior Analyst IJuly 7, 2008

Finals weekend at Wimbledon was set up like an old time wrestling card, with a double main event.


In the first part of this double main event was a “Sister Act,” as the Williams sisters graced centre court of the All England Club.


The Sisters have played before and it wasn't pretty, but this meeting after five years was much improved. It was a clean match with few errors, culminating with Venus’ fifth Wimbledon title. To quote Jim McKay, it was "the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat" for Venus all at once.


Watching that match, I realized how frustrating and disappointing the sisters were. They’d been dominant in spurts, but outside interest distracted them. What could have been we will never know.


Sunday was the second main event, and it didn't lack drama on the court or in the skies.


The five-time defending champion Roger Federer played the challenger Rafael Nadal. Like any good bout, it was a contrast in styles—the calm and poised Federer took on the boisterous and flamboyant Nadal.


The match was not only a Wimbledon classic, but also a classic Wimbledon. 

It was followed with three rain delays and two men taking tennis to new heights, battling not only each other but the setting sun as well.


In the end, the sun would rise and fall in the same breath. Nadal accomplished sports' toughest feat, winning the French and Wimbledon back to back, and Federer became familiar with second best.


What was most telling was Federer’s reaction to the match. NBC’S John McEnroe cut his interview short with the former champion as the tears were slowly falling from his eyes.


But, it was not the cry of a sore loser. It was the cry of a man who gave his best against another man's best. On that day at Wimbledon his best just wasn’t good enough.


Alas, there is a winner and a loser. The true winners are both men who gave their best, the game of tennis for having two great champions, and the spectators around the world who witnessed greatness. The losers are those who didn’t see the match.


This weekend, centre court was a ring, a painted canvas draped in sweat and tears. But it painted a picture of elegance, greatness, love, reverence, and respected rivalry—of unforgettable moments.


It was Wimbledon—where great moments come to be made.