Monday, June 25, 2012

Ladies and gentleman, get your whites on

The Championships at Wimbledon have begun once more, ushering in my favorite fortnight of the year.  There's nothing like watching tennis players in their clean whites running across the green court and wearing it down to the brown soil.

Before I was ever a tennis fan in general, and long before I actually watched ESPN year-round with pleasure, I was an annual Wimbledon watcher.  It tended to fall during the part of the summer that I would be in the UK visiting my grandparents, and I was just a train stop or two away from the hallowed grounds of the All England Lawn Tennis Club.  Lately I've been just a few extra thousand miles removed geographically, but in spirit I'm right there with the strawberries and cream.

And this year, once again, my heart belongs to Andy Roddick.  He was an upstart with a rocket serve just as I was transitioning from a summertime fan to a true tennis lover.  And like your first favorite pop star, you always hold a soft spot in your heart for the first player you root for.  Andy's made it to the finals three times, losing each time to Roger Federer.  The last time was the hardest, with five long sets and several moments when he was just inches away from the title.  I can barely think about that match without getting a little teary, I can't imagine how Andy feels.

Even so, Wimbledon has always been a favorite for him, as it is for many players.  Here's a video of him talking about the tournament for SAP:
I don't want to get my hopes up too much.  After all, Andy is nearing 30, that desperate age for players when even someone like Federer starts to hear about how they're past it.  But he did just win a warm-up tournament in Eastbourne, so he's going in on a higher note than he left Roland Garros with.

And never underestimate the magic of the Wimbledon grass...

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