Last night until the clock moved just past 2 a.m. Eastern Time, I watched, arguably, the finest tennis match I have ever seen. It has been 50 years in which I have followed this sport. What a tribute to the 50th U.S. Open and the fine players who have competed in the event. John McEnroe said that seeing a match like that made him proud that he had once been a professional tennis player. The outcome was in doubt until the very last shot, an overhead at the net that Dominic Thiem ever so barely missed.
What distinguished this match from others? It was quite unpredictable, i.e. Rafa only made seven points in the first set that seemed to last for about ten minutes. The pace of shot from either wing of the competitors was unequaled in my experience. Finally there were a host of amazing shots.
This is why we watch the game, for those in the East, even through the wee hours of the morning on a Tuesday night. The term that Hemingway used, “grace under pressure” was characteristic of the entire match. Dominic Thiem didn’t lose this match. Rafa beat him. The sportsman that Rafa is, he apologized to his friend Dominic in his on court post- match comments. This is also why we watch the game.
H. Robert Rubin, M. D., memoirist and author of two books available on Amazon, Look Backward Angel and How Did I Get Through This?