By Josh Kramer
Though it is extremely difficult for me to do, the main topic today will not pertain to the Super Bowl on Sunday. Do not worry though. There will be much more to come regarding the big game soon. Today, I am going to give center stage back to tennis.
One for the ages
5 hours and 53 minutes of greatness. I do not think there is a way to adequately explain what the tennis world was able to bear witness to on Sunday. Every cliché in the book for an “unbelievable” event would be relevant in describing this tennis match that will not be forgotten any time in the near future. A “once-in-a-lifetime type of match.” A “I-can’t’believe-what-I-just-saw type of match.” Let the superlatives roar. Because without utilizing a plethora of superlatives, you would be doing an injustice in describing the 2012 Men’s Australian Open final. Now I fully realize that the vast majority of you did not watch the Djokovic/Nadal match live. And I will admit that I was in that vast majority. 3AM wake up calls are tough. But I did DVR it and was able to watch the match in its entirety. The two top players in the world laying it all on the line for nearly six hours. This is why we love sports. This is why people spend hundreds and thousands of dollars to attend sporting events. Sports are life. And on Sunday, tennis was at the forefront of the sporting world.
After watching this match, I do not think anyone can question the fitness level or athleticism of elite professional tennis players. That match was like watching an NBA Finals Game 7. Better yet, it was like watching a great NBA Finals Game 7 played twice. Often in sports, the best teams or the best players do not win the championship. It is even somewhat rare that the two unquestioned best teams or players meet for the championship. Sadly, this is a fact of life that the best team or player does not always win. Well the tennis world has been immune to this problem over the past six months. The two top players in the world have battled it out in the past three Grand Slam Championships. And they most definitely have not disappointed like another recent one versus two matchup
I also am fully aware that many thirst for the good-old Federer/Nadal rivalry. But those days are long gone, though their semifinals matchup was pretty remarkable in its own right. Tennis has now turned into the “Fantastic Four” Show. But more specifically, the top two players without question are Djokovic and Nadal. Oddly enough, Djokovic has dominated the rivalry, defeating Rafa in their last seven meetings. Djokovic has proven time and time again that he can be a “Jokester,” but by no means a “joke.” I seem to remember not too long ago when a young Rafael Nadal was unable to beat the man who was on top of the tennis world. He went by the name of Roger Federer. Maybe the torch has already been passed. Not too long ago Roger Federer, a man often referred to as the “GOAT (Greatest of All Time)” was the end all be all in tennis. Then one fateful day at Wimbledon in July of 2008, Rafael Nadal stole the baton. Now the baton appears to have been passed once more to the Serbian star Novak Djokovic. Really you could make the case that the baton had been passed a year ago in all honesty, when Djokovic took home his first of three majors on the year in Melbourne. How long will the Djokovic reign last? Who will be the next number one player in the world? Nobody knows, but at least we can savor the present. That Australian Open Final was a match for the ages, making up for a horrific Women’s Final. Expect more thrilling matches this year as the other members of the “Fantastic Four” not named Djokovic come for that number on spot.
Problems at the Mecca
This was supposed to be the year. The year that the New York Knicks turned into contenders, or at least a threat to win a first-round matchup in the playoffs. Sadly, it does not appear to be that year. New York has only won one of their last ten, and are currently in the midst of three-game losing streak. There is really not a whole lot of positive things that can be said at this point.
They don’t score at breathtaking D’Antoni rates. They don’t “D” up, which is to be expected. And they don’t win, which is unacceptable at this point. Things have not been good with Knicks basketball since the good old Ewing Days. That was the 90s. There is no larger or harsher sports media market in America than the one that resides in New York. Over ten years of mediocre and poor results is not going to fly. I can only think of one positive out of all this. At least Time Warner and MSG are continuing to quarrel. Fans do not have to watch this painfully disappointing group play every night. Maybe they should hire Eddie (Whoopi Goldberg) as the new coach?
Let the Ocho Shenanigans begin..
Back in August in my NFL Preview, I picked the New England Patriots to reign supreme and capture the Super Bowl in Indianapolis. Even then, I said, “I think the real question is how will Chad Ochocinco celebrate the feat come the night of February 5th in Indianapolis? Despite his much diminished role, Ochocinco has already started out the party with a bang. First he spent $25,000 on “Beats” headphones for his teammates. And then he went out to dinner with a random fan from the Twitter world. What will Ochocinco do if New England wins on Sunday?
If you were wondering, Dwight Howard is now open to playing for the Chicago Bulls. Does anyone really care at this point? It seems like every week a new possible destination comes out that “Superman” would be okay with. Let me know when some real action occurs. Until then, let Howard, chill in a phone booth and handle his business in Orlando.
The Closer no more..
Tiger Woods once was known as the greatest closer in sports. Yes, even better than Mariano Rivera. He once had a run where he won 52 tournaments in which he held the lead heading into Sunday. Those days are long gone.
Just some “Food for Thought.”
Let me hear your thoughts though. Please comment below with any questions or insights that you may have or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.