Tennis Take

I say it all the time. They pay me to talk about sports. They pay me to know things—about sports. They pay me to have opinions about sports. And I deviate off that straight line enough—more than I want to, actually—to keep all you Clones happy.

So now you’re going to indulge me. Time for you Clones to take your medicine. I’m going off the board for this one. And not because I need to. But because I actually want to. You’re going to listen to me talk tennis for a minute because it’s still my show. And tennis is sport. Cracking on Jewel for her teeth, isn’t. Tennis is.

I get that the only tennis take you’re interested in sharing is how much you hate arrogant Steve in Aliso Viejo because he owns a tennis court. And a swimming pool. And while you really can’t do any better than that. I can.

Early this morning Rafa Nadal won a 5 set match to punch his ticket to the Australian Open final. And waiting for him in that final is his rival—35 year-old Roger Federer. And if you have no clue why this is such a big story—than that’s exactly the reason I’m bringing it to you. As a public sports service announcement. In fact, you may even thank me for the heads-up when I’m done laying this out. If not, you’ll at least respect my immense range as a sports talk host. I’ll own it. I love tennis.

Literally, three of my favorite athletes ever are: Andre Agassi…Jimmy Connors. John McEnroe: unbelievable players, incredible personalities. Bjorn Borg was one of my idols as a kid. I loved Ilie Nastase. If you had a problem with Vitas Gerulaitis, you had a problem with yourself. We talk so much about Raider Fan. You know who was one of the original Raider fans?? Tennis player Brad Gilbert, who would call this show all the time: trust me: Raider Mike had nothing on Raider brad.

Which brings me back to Roger Federer…a guy who will more than likely go down as the greatest tennis player of all-time. He has 17 majors. He’s second to none. Better than Rod Laver. Better than Pete Sampras. Jimmy Connors, Johnnie Mac, Andre Agassi. Ken Rosewall.

He passed up Pete Sampras’ mark of 14 slams, years ago. But, Fed has hit a four year wall and has been stuck on 17 since 2012. The wall has been made up of three parts: age, injury, and Novak Djokovic.

Fed came into this year’s first slam as the 17 seed. He’s beaten three top 10 guys to get the final and he’s looked downright vintage doing it. And, yeah, it helps that Djokovic and Andy Murray got taken out for him. But that’s not his fault. And it doesn’t take away from the fact that he’s the oldest dude since the 70’s to reach a grand slam final.

Do you know how old 35 is in tennis? For perspective: 35 is the first year players have eligibility for the senior’s tour. 35 is a freaking fossil in tennis.

For Federer to be in a slam final at this age is historic. To have his oldest, and fiercest rival—Rafa Nadal on the other side—who came into the tournament as a 9 seed—is epic.

This is truly time machine tennis. No one could have predicted these guys ever playing on this kind of stage again—but they’ve been good enough to make it happen. Almost as unlikely are Venus and Serena Williams playing each other for the title on the women’s side. And frankly I don’t I know and I don’t care who’s turn it is to win, errrrrrr, you know how difficult it’s been for these two to play each other over the years. But at this stage of their careers, even their lives, it’s something they should cherish.

Fact is, neither one of these matches has any business taking place. And I have no problem pimping that. Because as the pimp in the box, it’s my job to pimp all that is good. And tennis is good.

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