Sarasota News Leader

09/21/12

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Sarasota News Leader September 21, 2012 for the fifth consecutive year that necessi- tated the match be played on a Monday. Novak had been somewhat accustomed to being a finalist and to winning a few ma- jors, but once again, Andy got there and ev- eryone in the UK and many other countries was hoping that he would finally close it out. After all, he had the huge momentum from the Olympic Gold Medal that he won by defeating Roger Federer. The match began about 4 p.m., and each game held me and the live audience com- pletely engrossed. It was competition at the highest level — a chess game on a tennis court between two of the world's master players. The first set went to a tie-breaker, and Andy prevailed. The strong winds were increasing and posing a real challenge to the players. Andy seemed to understand the elements better than Novak, and he also won the second set. Suddenly, about three hours into the match, Novak found his footing and his A-game, and he managed to outplay Andy and win both the third and fourth sets. The fans were going wild. I was hiding under the covers. I desperately wanted Andy to find his way back into the game, to regain his confidence. The exhaustion evident both on the players' faces and in their movements was a reminder of how hard they play and Page 82 also how hard they train to become the best in the world. Eventually, I summoned the courage to look back at the screen. I saw that Andy was winning the fifth set and Novak was faltering. And, when he finally did win the match, at 6-2, I don't think even he believed it himself. It took a few long seconds before he looked up at the sky, looked at his mom and his coach and finally gave way to a tre- mendous and happy smile. The roar of the audience convinced him that he had indeed won his first tennis major tournament. It took almost five hours to complete the match, and both men made watching it worth every second of the time invested. Where is John McEnroe when I need him? I'm already suffering from tennis with- drawal. ABOUT HARRIET CUTHBERT Harriet is a contributing lifestyle writer for The Sarasota News Leader. She is from Boston and remains a committed Red Sox fan. She loves living on Siesta Key, and vol- unteers at the Sarasota Visitors Center to greet newcomers. She enjoys travel, meeting new people, photography, theatre, tennis, reading, writing, "beaching" and fine wines. SarasotaNewsLeader.com

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