Friday, July 3, 2009

Apparently tennis and radio do go together

There was a first for me today.

I listened to a tennis match. On the radio.

I grew up playing tennis, played in high school and still pick up my racket on occasion, although I wish I stepped foot on a court more often.

I love it when the Grand Slams come around, especially Wimbledon. It was the tournament that first made me fall in love with the game - watching Andre Agassi win his first Grand Slam title in 1992.

But since I don't have cable, getting a chance to watch Wimbledon was difficult. During the week I'd time my lunch break at work and park myself in front of the big screen TV in the break room. Or I'd be following the live results on the Wimbledon Web site when I was back at work. I'm lucky this weekend, NBC does decide to broadcast the men's semis and the men's and women's finals.

And since I was off work today, I was ready. Ready to park myself in front of my TV this morning and watch Andy Roddick take on Great Britain's Andy Murray - and the heavily pro-Murray crowd - for a chance to play in the Wimbledon final on Sunday.

One problem. NBC wasn't airing the match live. ESPN was, but let's not forget that no cable thing, and NBC's coverage would start at noon. But I didn't want to wait. I knew Roddick was playing right then. At 10:30 a.m. I didn't want to wait another hour and a half.

I jumped on my computer, did some looking and realized that Wimbledon's Web site had a free radio feed of the match, but no video feed. Hmm. A tennis match? On radio? Kind of reminds me of listening to a NASCAR race on radio. Hard to imagine.

Listening to the commentary was better than nothing, so I hit play. The commentators weren't bad. Real British accents and you could tell they were a bit pro-Murray. But still. Listening to them? You could hear the excitement in their voices. Got a feeling for how great this match was.

In the end the match was determined with a fourth set tiebreak. Big serves from Roddick, well placed shots by both guys. But Roddick ended up pulling out the win, earning his place in the final.

Sigh. I missed it. Yes, I could have watched the tape delay NBC was showing. But at this point I knew how the match ended, thanks to the radio guys, and it was too nice out to stay cooped up indoors. So I didn't watch it.

I'm happy to see Roddick back in the final. After a couple of rough years, it looks like his game is back to the level it was in 2003 when he won his only Grand Slam title - the U.S. Open - and 2004 and 2005 when he faced Federer in the Wimbledon finals. Actually his game looks better. It's not just about his big serve anymore. He's got the ground strokes, the volleys, the serve, the patience and shot making skills. A more complete game.

So you can bet I'll be up early Sunday morning, waiting for Roddick to take on Roger Federer in the final. Because getting a chance witness history - with Federer going for a record breaking 15th Grand Slam title - and to watch Roddick - live - is something I can't pass up. The early wake up call is worth it.

"I can play some tennis sometimes and not many people were giving me much of a chance at all. I knew I could stay the course, that I had a shot."
Andy Roddick in a post-match interview

1 comment:

Runner Leana said...

I was trying to catch the match on TV before leaving for Edmonton, but they were showing last year's men's final so I just kept refreshing the scores on the Wimbledon home page. I have to admit, I was hoping Andy Murray would win though..!