First, live coverage on CCTV of the Nadal-Federer French Open finals. Then, last night, on Macau TV, a full replay of Arthur Ashe’s sublime victory over Jimmy Connors in the 1975 Wimbledon finals. Despite the many passing decades, both of them look surprisingly contemporary. Partly testimony to Connors’ having aged well; partly, that this must have been one of the very first finals in which both players used non-wooden rackets.
Not like the riveting final between the same two the previous year, with the 18-16 tiebreaker in the fourth set. The one I’m seeing now was the beginning of McEnroe’s run as a Wimbledon champion, and the end of Borg’s. And even though it came six years after Ashe-Connors, it looks much more retro. Wooden rackets for both players! The big, 70’s- holdover ginger Afro of McEnroe’s hair! (Plus, the Jesus-look hair and beard of Borg’s.) Roger Federer is indeed very graceful, but all four of the players from a generation ago are still pleasures to watch.
Is this festival a warmup to Wimbledon 2007? Just a way to distract me? I don’t know. Perhaps tomorrow night they’ll have Big Bill Tilden’s victory from 1921.