How Wimbledon Won Me Over

Pat SullivanCorrespondent IJuly 7, 2008

End-to-end, fast-paced action. A young underdog pitted against the proven superpower. A strong European presence.

We’re talking about this year’s Stanley Cup Final, right?


Although the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Playoffs regularly tops my summer sports highlight list, I must say that my Red Wings’ victory has been usurped by the Wimbledon finals.

Let me begin by saying that I am not a tennis fan by any stretch of the imagination. I have never exhibited any interest in the sport—not even on a casual basis. However, when I sat down with my mom to watch TV yesterday, things changed.

Mother dearest was watching the engagingly brilliant match between favorite Roger Federer and rival Rafael Nadal, who was fresh off a win at the French Open. My first instinct was to snatch the remote control from my unsuspecting mom and change the channel to something a little more entertaining, a little manlier.

My mom resisted, and I was stuck watching Wimbledon. Much to my surprise, I was instantly hooked.

Despite my major tennis ineptitude, I quickly picked up the storyline on both Federer and Nadal. They were pretty much ranked internationally Nos. 1 and 1A, and the Wimbledon match certainly proved as such.

The action, like most tennis matches, had the ball going back and forth, back and forth. Just when I thought either competitor was beat, one came through with a spectacular backhand or forehand.

The rhythm of the match hypnotized while its intensity intoxicated. My Sunday errands were put on hold to watch this masterpiece. I was glued to my couch for hours, stressing over close calls and Nadal’s health.

My knowledge of tennis lacked, but basic concepts temporarily made sense as this war raged on. Rain moved in and it was time for an intermission. I went out, ran my errands, and rushed back home for the final act.

The battle waged on, as Federer came from behind to force a fifth set. The rhythm resumed with increased urgency and intensity. Back and forth. Back and forth.

Finally, Nadal broke through. Once Nadal won the match, he collapsed to the ground, paralyzed with emotion. The same chills I got when the Red Wings won the Cup returned for a midsummer visit. I, too, was paralyzed with emotion.

I never knew tennis could bring such excitement or glory to my home. This match opened my eyes to a sport I once found mundane. I have garnered a new respect for tennis and its competitors.

Rafael Nadal won Wimbledon, and tennis won me.