Well, it's T-minus 2 hours and 28 minutes as I write this here in the Roland Garros press room. I wrote an preview of the men's final for ESPN, you can read that post here. Beyond that, I think you can throw discussions about the X's and O's out the window on this one, even though they will ultimately constitute the "official" history of the 2009 Roland Garros final.
What we have here is something that only the most passionate of Federer fans might have expected as few as two weeks ago: a potential career-defining match. For just as a win here over Rafael Nadal in the final would have been the sweetest thing imaginable for the Federer faithful, a loss to Robin Soderling today will be a buzz-kill of remarkable proportions, making any defense of Federer's record sound hollow - even if that defense is utterly legitimate.
BTW, I hope all of you will remain civil and compassionate toward each other, no matter how things turn out. No amount of fanlove justifies the kind of chest-thumping or gloating that a huge match like this will invite- whoever wins.
On another front, a number of the Twibe's lovely chicas have assembled here at the last minute, despite scalper tickets running around $600 per seat in Chatrier. Given the historic nature of this match, that's a bargain, at least if you compare it to trying to get a ticket to, say, the seventh game of the World Series in a major market city. Anyway, Viv and her mum flew in from Cork, Ireland, and Alex and Susan K. from New York, who spent the first week here on vacation, extended their stay, hoping to see Federer make history today (And JB - Susan, Viv and I were going to call you a few minutes ago, but wiser heads prevailed. . .)
When I walked into the press center this morning, Dick Norman was standing at the desk, talking with one of the press assistants. It occurred to me that he may be trying to reach one of my Belgian colleagues, who sit near me in the work room upstairs. As I passed I said, "Dick, are you looking for somebody?"
"No," he said, "I'm just trying to get a video of a match."
When I was halfway up the stairs, he called after me, "Thanks for that article, I thought it was really great. . ."
We don't often get that kind of feedback from the players, so it's welcome when we do. But I bring this up just to let you know that many players read TennisWorld, and we can all be proud about that, right?
Enjoy the men's final, everyone, it's going to be one helluva day no matter what happens.
As at 10:35 TW time, TypePad is freezing, so an overflow is up. Andrew
And at 1:10pm TW time, Overflow 2..... Andrew