As the timer struck four hours and forty-eight minutes, Rafael Nadal fell to the ground in euphoric victory as the ball from Roger Federer's court swivelled into the net. "Game, set and match" were the words, as the Spainard joined Rod Laver and Bjorn Borg to be only the third to achieve the rare Roland Garos -Wimbledon double in the Open Era. The 2008 Wimbledon Men's Championship Final is often considered by analysts as one of the greatest matches in modern history. This is testament to the overall development of the sport in general in the past few decades.
The beginning of the evolution towards racquets can be traced right back to the time when players began using a glove on the account of plain hands being too painful, until eventually these were upgraded to a glove with webbing sewn between the fingers. Long gone are the days when tennis was considered as an elite sport, only to be played by the rich in exclusive clubs for leisure. Post the Great Depression, the scale of public works projects in the US included building more tennis courts across the country, and as a result, more people than ever were learning the sport.
Does the 4hrs 48mins of the Wimbledon final scare you? This is still, only about half of the longest match played in history! The previous rules dictated that if the score reaches 6-6, then the match should continue till one player creates a difference of two games. This resulted in a marathon match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut where the former won the match at 70 games to 68, at a record 11 hours 5 mins, where the last set itself went on for 8hours 11 mins! This resulted in the introduction of the 'tiebreaker' rule and according to current rules, if the "decider" goes to 6-6 then the first person to 7 points in the next game wins.
On the gloomier side, the pandemic has seriously cut the LTA's pockets. Income is down by 40%, a drop of approximately 30 million euros. To make up for the loss, in addition to cancelling events and using the furlough scheme, the LTA has cut as far as 10 million euros of their spending in other areas. We hope that you enjoyed reading this trivia about a game so demanding, physically exhausting and strenuous, while simultaneously being a treat to the eyes. Do head over to Aavhan's Instagram page to know more such statistics, and do keep following the ATP tour as the players gear up for the Roland Garos soon!