By Matt Hill
As I was watched the outstanding five-set match between Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic pulled out by Murray today, I began to realize something about the great tennis we have seen over the last few years.
This era that began about five or six years ago, is the golden era of men’s tennis.
While a lot of the country was engrossed in Monday night Football’s season opener, us who truly appreciate and love this sport were enjoying yet another classic Grand Slam Final between two of the best players in the world.
Murray, already with Olympic Gold, broke Great Britain’s 76-year drought of major men’s champions with his victory in New York. He also shed the moniker of being the best player, possibly ever, not to win a grand slam.
Getting back to the point, twitter starting lighting up around 9 p.m. with not just tennis writers, but journalists who really aren’t considered tennis experts chiming in on this unbelievable match.
Folks, it’s been this way for several years. Where has everyone been?
The 2008 Wimbledon final (Nadal beats Federer), 2009 Australian Open final (Nadal defeats Federer), 2009 Wimbledon final (Federer defeats Roddick), 2009 U.S. Open final (Del Potro defeats Federer), 2010 U.S. Open final (Nadal defeats Djokovic, 2011 U.S. Open final (Djokovic knocks off Nadal), 2012 Australian Open final (Djokovic defeats Nadal) and now this match could all go down as some of the best tennis ever played.
However, 2012, though the rankings may not show it, has been the year of Andy Murray.
A Wimbledon final, Olympic Gold and a U.S. Open title gives him a strong claim to Player-of-the-Year.
The best thing though is now we have been able to watch these four players for the most part in their prime just take this game to a level never seen before.
All four of these players have been very dominant at some point in their career, with Murray now joining that list with his tremendous summer.
A lot of American tennis fans may disagree with this golden era statement because there were two eras where American players (Connors-McEnroe and (Agassi-Sampras) were in the spotlight, but now tennis has become a worldwide sport.
There are less tournaments now in the United States and more in Europe, and I’m fine with that. People in Europe have embraced tennis. Americans have shunned it.
No matter what country you’re from, you have to appreciate Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray. They are a playing at such a high level and anytime these four play each other, it is definitely worth watching.
This wasn’t the best of the classic finals, but it was another chapter on how great this sport is.
The volley exchange they had on one of the points where they just whacked it back at each other was one of the classic points I have ever seen.
The Djokovic-Murray rivalry is very underrated and they’re styles collide for some great tennis, just like that Wimbledon final in 2008 between Federer and Nadal.
Now the question comes in to play, how long will this golden era continue.
I would enjoy it while it lasts. Djokovic and Murray are going to be around for a few more years, but Nadal’s injuries have possibly taken its toll on him and who knows when Federer is going to retire.
Until, then lets savor moments like the one we savored on Monday when every sports fan if for a moment, was talking about Flushing Meadows.
Matt Hill is the Tennis Columnist for the Elizabethton (TN) Star. You can reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via twitter at MattHillsports.