The Tennis With An Accent holiday history series continues.
On Christmas Day, we presented a lot of the under-the-radar names and faces from the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s. This week, our New Year’s Day tennis history podcast focuses on the classics.
Host Saqib Ali welcomes TWAA contributor Andrew Burton for a look at the matches many people view as the two greatest Open Era men’s tennis matches ever played at major tournaments. Andrew explores the 1980 Wimbledon final between Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe, and compares it to the 2008 Wimbledon final between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Andrew offers details on the similarities, parallels, and differences between the two matches, enabling listeners to consider the enormity of the matches in comparison to each other, but also on their own terms. Andrew’s discussion of the details in each match unearth revelations about how the style of tennis has changed over the years. Andrew includes a note on the 2002 Wimbledon final between Lleyton Hewitt and David Nalbandian.
Back to these two matches from Wimbledon history: How were Federer and McEnroe similar and different? What about Borg and Nadal within the context of Wimbledon and not clay? How did Borg and Federer travel a similar path in their evolution as players? Andrew explains what these matches meant at the time they were played, but then pivots to assess their significance in the longer run of history.
How did the results of these matches resonate through the sport of tennis in the 10 years since they were played? How did each of the four men respond to these highly emotional moments in their careers? Saqib and Andrew develop these conversations and then carry them into other matches Roger Federer was part of.
Two other Wimbledon matches featuring Federer were the 2014 final against Novak Djokovic and the 2009 final against Andy Roddick. Andrew explains what the 2014 final meant to Djokovic and Federer, and how that contest reshaped the trajectory of this decade in men’s tennis. Andrew captures the urgency of the 2009 final for Roddick and recalls the backdrop to that encounter with Federer.
In the course of these conversations, Saqib and Andrew tackle other topics such as the durability of leads in different eras of tennis, the impact of string technology on the product, and on the way great players viewed each other at the time of their epic clashes.
It’s a classic edition of the Tennis With An Accent podcast, as our tennis history series carries the show into 2019. Happy New Year from the team at TWAA!
Thanks for listening!
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Music provided by Teknoaxe and used under the terms of CC (Creative Commons) 4.0 license.