In '04 Federer-Roddick gave me this ball. In '09, they gave me a classic.
Federer's 16-14 survival - and ascension as tennis' all-time king - was one of those spine-tingling images that crow-barred its way into your day, into your eternal memories.
Because Federer passed Pete Sampras with his 15th Grand Slam, because Roddick played the match of his life and because it was riveting drama in one of sports' coolest theaters, I rank it as the second-greatest Wimbledon final behind Rafael Nadal's 9-7 win over Federer in the fifth set last year and just ahead of Bjorn Borg's 1980 triumph over John McEnroe highlighted by the vintage 18-16 tiebreaker.
If you're a tennis dork like me or, thanks to yesterday, new to the sport, now what do we do? Either wait for the U.S. Open come Labor Day or ... head out to Grapevine today.
Federer won't be there and neither will any of these sexy sideshows, but the USTA Grapevine Women's Challenger is a U.S. Open qualifier and the largest women's tennis event in Texas. Among the players at the DFW-Hilton Lakes Tennis and Sports Club are former Wimbeldon semifinals Alexandra Stevenson and 2009 NCAA champ Mallory Cecil. The tournament final is Sunday.
Tickets, from $6-$30, are available at www.eventbrite.com or by calling 817-410-6828.
I can't promise Federer-Roddick instant-classic drama. But there are worse ways to beat the heat than watching fit, glistening women smack around some balls.