It was the first time the French Open bled into Monday in over forty years, but what turned out to be the final set of the match was worth the wait. Rafael Nadal won his record seventh French Open with a four set win over Novak Djokovic. The win pushed him past Bjorn Borg for the most French Open championships ever.
The American sports scene currently does not include men’s tennis because James Blake and Andy Roddick are like the Kendrick Perkins in a sport of Kevin Durants, but this is a golden age of tennis. The top four players in tennis, which include Nadal, Djokovic, Andy Murray and Roger Federer, may be the greatest four players of all time. They may lack the familiarity of Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi or the tirades of John McEnroe, but they have all the skill.
The French Open was a replay of the last three grand slam tournament finals, with Djokovic beating Nadal in the Australian Open, the U.S. Open and Wimbledon. Nadal got his redemption by denying Djokovic the chance to hold all four grand slam titles at the same time, potentially the first player to do so in 43 years.
The weather aided Nadal a little bit. After losing the first two sets, Djokovic won the third and was on a roll in the fourth yesterday before rain postponed the end of the match until today. Nadal came out to take the lead in the fourth set and won his third set and the championship 7 to 5 in the final set. Djokovic’s inability to find his rhythm and the challenge of playing perhaps the best player to ever take the clay court led to his defeat.
Wimbledon will set up an interesting storyline. Djokovic will look to redeem himself after the loss, with Nadal trying to carry the momentum. Lurking in the background, the aging Roger Federer, who may have been the best player of all time in his prime. The fourth man in the group will be Andy Murray, who once again looks to be the first Englishman to win the big tournament on his home soil since Fred Perry in 1936.
With the fast courts at Wimbledon and the looming Olympics taking place several weeks later, tennis is back and better than ever. While the semifinals and finals may be the only compelling part of the tournament, it’s definitely worth watching. Tennis is in a golden age and no one is throwing their racket about it. Attention America, this is the time to watch tennis.