Williamses, then, this Wimbledon had the air of a girls' getaway to
England—except that, oh, yeah, at the end they had to stand on opposite sides
of the net and play a Grand Slam final before a global audience. A "big
sister first and a tennis player second," Venus tempered her glee after
winning match point, raising her arms but then extending them to hug Serena at
the net. "One of us has to win and one of us has to lose," Venus says.
"Of course the celebration isn't as exciting."
TIED TO Federer,
if not by blood then by the bonds of a rivalry, Nadal was similarly dignified
in victory. The first Spaniard to win Wimbledon in 42 years fell flat on his
back but popped up quickly to embrace his opponent, who may have revealed as
much of himself in defeat as he ever did in victory. Nadal then sought out
Uncle Toni and the rest of his entourage before carrying a Spanish flag into
the Royal Box to greet his country's Crown Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia.
If his first Wimbledon title weren't momentous enough, it's virtually certain
that Nadal will take over the top ranking by year's end.
As for Federer,
he'll try to salvage this season of uncharacteristic mortality first at the
Beijing Olympics and then at the U.S. Open, his last chance to win a Grand Slam
title in 2008. He'll be chasing Nadal now. And he'll keep pursuing history,
too. Moral victories might be hard to come by at this point in his career, but
if he can replicate the courage he showed in the greatest match ever played, he
ought to be just fine.