Fun in the sun
Gerry Williams reflects on a fortnight of warmth and wealth for Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams.
Last Updated: 05/07/10 11:57am
The year of the first million pound Wimbledon champions was also a fortnight of sunshine. So wealth or warmth were both to be had.
For Rafael Nadal it certainly had everything. He beat the Czech Tomas Berdych 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 and became the first Spaniard to win Wimbledon twice. It is his eighth Grand Slam title and of course he remains the number one ranked player in the world.
At the start of the match Nadal looked anxious. Berdych has a matter of fact game and flat shots on both wings, so in contrast looked like a man with nothing to lose.
Then almost imperceptibly Nadal's exaggerated top spin and slice began to change the pattern and in a jiffy he had the first set 6-3. Before long it was two sets to love as his spin offered him more options on close points. You couldn't visualise a scene change and there wasn't one. It had not been an edge of the seat final.
So what compounds the person Rafael Nadal?
First sporting success is in his blood. One of his uncles played football for Barcelona and for Spain in the 2002 World Cup.
Next comes his unquenchable hunger to succeed. Not just generally, but on every point he plays. He simply blazes and yet this desire never becomes self-destructive as it can in some others.
Typically he is muscled and strong, but yet nimble and perfectly balanced. Technically his shots simply do not breakdown - big top spin (his best weapon) or slice.
As for Berdych, he's a big tall athlete with a big heart and an uncomplicated technique with flat drives off both wings.
And of course here at Wimbledon this year he got lucky. His chance came when he faced the best player ever, Roger Federer who had been hampered by what he called various aches and pains. You could tell there was something wrong with Federer by the way he moved right from the start of the fortnight - with the sort of unhurried stride of the affluence.
That's not how Federer usually moves on a tennis court.
On Saturday Serena Williams played her sixth Wimbledon singles final and won the title for the fourth time.
Her opponent Vera Zvonareva, the third Russian woman to reach the final here, had lost to Serena five times out of six. But she is studying international diplomacy in her spare time and her confident personality wasn't going to be intimidated. Not in the least.
Now (since the Open era began) Serena has moved above Chris Everett into joint fourth place among Wimbledon women's single champions. The list now reads Martina Navratilova nine titles, Steffi Graff seven titles, Venus Williams five titles, Billie Jean King and Serena four each.
Domestically, after a fortnight which began with our annual paranoia over the state of British tennis we emerged feeling, I hope, that at last our tennis recession is coming to an end.
Some of our youngsters have genuine possibilities. Now what they need to do is get on with it.