We, that’s some thirteen million of us in the UK, have just seen the greatest ever tennis final. That is the almost universal view of commentators. The two best (ever?) players in the world, playing unbelievable tennis, in the longest final ever, with unbearable tension, where only a couple of points separated winner from loser.
By any measure, an amazing contest but the outstanding skill alone does not explain the way it captivated the imagination of sport and non-sport fans alike.
What made this so special, so compelling was the spirit, the body language and the demeanour of both Nadal and Federer. There was no playing to the audience, no exaggerated macho arm pumping, no screamings of “come on!” no lengthy disputes over line calls and yet the intensity never let up.
Here were two people so utterly focussed on themselves, and on each other, that nothing outside was allowed to distract or enter their zones of pure, unadulterated concentration. Watching them, apparently oblivious to us spectators and viewers, compounded the drama.
In the final scene, barely minutes after the final point, each talked to camera. Grace in defeat and grace in victory have never been better expressed. Two remarkable winners.