The match had it all: context, gravitas, swings in momentum, injury, recovery, sportsmanship, acts of God. And some of the highest quality tennis ever played. In the end, it was a five-hour infomercial for everything right and virtuous about the sport. Nadal ended up prevailing 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-7 (8), 9-7, but those prone to cliché had it right: Tennis was the real winner that day.
Text: Jon Wertheim/SI.com
Photo: Simon Bruty/SI