Sunday morning, for the first time in my sports loving life, I watched a tennis match. Have I watched bits and pieces of various matches before? Yes, but never an entire match.
It’s not that I don’t like tennis, but like the majority of America, I have spent most of my time and energy following team sports.
The game and its stars are not a complete mystery to me, however. Through watching ESPN and reading the sports pages everyday, I have a grasp on the game’s best players, major tournaments and a basic understanding of the rules.
The last few days, I have casually been checking the outcomes of Wimbledon matches, seeing who was going to play in the final match, like I do every summer.
Then I thought: Why not watch the Wimbledon men’s final on Sunday morning? Or better yet, why don’t I watch the match and record my thoughts and opinions?
What follows are the thoughts and opinions on the Wimbledon men’s final through the eyes of a first time viewer.
Considering I was impartial to both players, I was rooting for the underdog, who in this case was Novak Djokovic. I guess it was a day of firsts. Not only did I enjoy my first tennis match, but Djokovic upset Rafael Nadal to won his first Wimbledon title.
It was a great way to begin my tennis watching career to see an underdog take down the reigning Wimbledon champion.
Novak Djokovic celebrated his Wimbledon victory by throwing the fans his tennis gear. After scoring the match winning point, Djokovic threw rackets, balls and sweatbands to the fans in attendance.
I instantly thought of an athlete in a team sport throwing gear into the stands after a big victory. Somehow, it didn’t seem as endearing.
I loved when the camera would flash to Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal’s family members sitting on the edge of their seats in the stands. I loved it even more that the broadcasters didn’t have any stories or scandal to report surrounding the respective families, which isn’t always the case in team sports.
It was nice to watch a sporting event and not have to hear about dirty money, a misinterpreted quote or a feud between the two families.
The longer I watched the match between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, the more entertained and intrigued I became.
I found myself holding my breath during long volleys throughout the match. It was the equivalent to watching a running back break for a long touchdown run or watching a fast break unfold on the basketball court.
I couldn’t help but be impressed by the patience and graciousness of Rafael Nadal. After painfully losing a major tournament he was favored to win, Nadal graciously stayed on the court for the ceremony to conduct interviews, congratulate his opponent and watch Novak Djokovic relish in victory.
I understand this is standard procedure in tennis, but I thought it made the event seem all the more real.
Before the match began, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic walked out to the court, side by side, to the delight of the screaming fans.
Having the two competitors walk on to the court together before a championship match was electrifying. It sure as heck beat teams and competitors coming out of separate quarters to start a contest.
It made the match feel more like a Wild West duel.
All in all, I was very impressed with my first tennis match.
With the hustle and bustle of everyday life and my loyalties to other sports and teams, I can’t guarantee I will have enough time to watch tennis on a consistent basis.
With that being said, I am going to make it a point to watch a few tennis matches every year.
I will always remember July 3, 2011 as the day I watched my first tennis match.