For everyone who has been caught up in World Cup hysteria the last few weeks I hope you didn’t forget about a little tennis going on across the pond yesterday. If you did you missed one of the truly classic battles ever seen on the grass at Centre Court as Novak Djokovic outlasted Roger Federer in five sets 6-7 (7), 6-4, 7-6 (4), 5-7, 6-4 to claim his 2nd Wimbledon title and 7th Grand Slam.
If it was the recent international sizzle of soccer you were craving, how about a Serb (Djokovic) and a Swiss (Federer), coached by a German (Boris Becker) and a Swede (Stefan Edberg) respectively, battling in front of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. And if its action you wanted you certainly weren’t disappointed. This match had a little bit of everything, including falls, replay overturns and exceptional play throughout by both men.
Federer, who was looking for his 18th Grand Slam and 8th Wimbledon championship threw everything he had at Djokovic including staying off elimination in the 4th set. Trailing 5-4, Federer double-faulted to make it 30-30. He then put a backhand into the net to set up a championship point for Djokovic. Federer then hit a serve that was ruled out, but he challenged it and the Hawk-Eye replay (more on this later) showed that it hit the line for an ace — one of his 29 in the match. Federer went on to break Djokovic’s serve in the next game forcing a fifth set.
The 27-year-old Djokovic, besides battling a “never say die” 32-year-old determined Federer who was looking to become the oldest singles champion at Wimbledon in the open era, also had to contend with the boisterous chants of “Roger, Roger!” throughout. Every Federer point was met with a wave of cheers. There was no animosity towards Djokovic, just a shared enthusiasm (including David and Victoria Beckham) to see Federer keep his mission on track and to be part of history.
“This victory meant so much to me because it was against a great rival in terrific form on his court,” said Djokovic. “Also considering the fact I have lost three out of four Grand Slam finals. It was a huge test and a mental challenge. We were pushing each other to the limits. This one was extra special.” Regaining the number 1 ranked spot in the world over Rafael Nadal is an extra bonus for Djokovic that came with his victory.
Player Challenges –
I have to admit I loved watching the player challenges and the subsequent video replays at Wimbledon. They show the results to the attending crowd, the players and the television audience all at the same time – right there on a big screen. I’m not going to dive into the technical aspects of the Hawk-Eye system they use and how it works other than to say its a complex system of cameras and computers that visually track the trajectory of the ball and displays a record of its statistically most likely path as a moving image. The system works via six (sometimes seven) high-performance cameras, normally positioned on the underside of the stadium roof, which track the ball from different angles. The video from the cameras is then triangulated and combined to create a three-dimensional representation of the trajectory of the ball (supposedly accurate to within 5 millimeters (0.19 inch).
OK so I lied I did dive in, but suffice it to say it would be advantageous for other sports to consider the technology – or should I say specifically other U.S. based sports. But mostly I’d like to see other sports follow the tennis lead and take the call out to public viewing (not under the hood as in the NFL or in a room in Toronto for the NHL) and put it on display for all to see. How great it would be watching a replay decision being made in real time on the Megatron at AT&T Stadium, or at American Airlines Center above center ice or mid court? I can dream…..
As far as tennis challenges go, players have unlimited opportunity to challenge, but once three incorrect challenges are made in a set, they cannot challenge again until the next set. If the set goes to a tie break, players are given additional opportunities to challenge. F0r more detailed info one the rules you can click here http://www.wimbledon.com/en_GB/scores/challenge/