Props to Rafael Nadal for winning the Wimbledon title in the best tennis match that I've ever seen. Epic was an understatement.

There were a lot of storylines going into this final. Federer, arguably the best of all time, was going for a historic 6th straight Wimbledon title and his humiliating defeat at the hands of Nadal at the French Open summoned questions about his dominance. Even with Novak Djokovic running his mouth about a weakening Federer, I didn't see that French Open loss as signaling a newfound vulnerability - mainly because Nadal is a clay-court god and is nearly unbeatable at Roland Garros (4 straight French Open titles). No, the true signifier would be if someone could beat him at Wimbledon. Only then, could the media start murmuring about a possible "changing of the guard". On the other side, we still wondered if Nadal could breakthrough on a surface other than clay and destroy the "clay-court specialist moniker" that hounds him and other Spaniards who grew up on the red surface. So with all this drama hanging on this one championship match, it was hard to believe that the match exceeded the buildup.

Federer definitely missed opportunites in the first 2 sets and conversely Nadal was efficient in converting on his break chances. Fed's game letdown twice and it led to 2 breaks and a 2 set deficit. NBC puts up a graphic saying it has been 80 some years since anyone has overcome a 2 set deficit in the Wimbledon final. Still, you had the feeling that Federer wouldn't go away so easily.

Not only did he fight back - he nearly completed a comeback and infused it with drama on each point. He exhibited incredible mental toughness in battling through countless situations where his back was against the wall. Saving a 0-40 service game in the 3rd set that would have sealed a straight set win for Nadal. The rain delay helped turn momentum his way through the 3rd set tiebreaker, but he still had to rally down 2-5 and saving 3 championship points in the 4th set tiebreaker. Everytime his service game was in a hole, he produced an ace. Everytime, Nadal inched closer to the title, Fed reached down deeper for another forehand winner. I was beginning to wonder if Houdini laid any seeds in Switzerland.

Similarly, Nadal exhibited a resiliency that was missing the year before. After blowing so many opportunities in the 3rd and 4th sets, I thought he was going to crumble in the 5th. Yet, everytime Fed pressured with a service break, Rafa held strong - saving 12 of 13 break points in the match. While Nadal isn't armed with aces, his running game and repetoire of passing shots kept his service game on point. Eventually his grueling ground game cracked Federer past sunset. I was rooting for Nadal to break through on grass and I was at the edge of my seat for much of the nearly 5 hour match. It took up most of my Sunday but it was worth it!


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