Roger and Rafa, Legacy and Kitsch

NEWS FLASH! Rafael Nadal, a short-ish lefthander from Spain, of all places, just won the United States Open tennis championship! It was a stunning, unforeseen victory that left him flat on his back, overwhelmed by exhausted emotion, utterly shocked by this incredible result in one of tennis’s greatest venues, and one of its most important tournaments of the year.

Well, no. Not really. Although he did lie prone on the court, absorbing the admiring roars of 22,000 at the Arthur Ashe court, attracting millions of viewers and hundreds of millions of GIFs and dramatic stills, it was hardly a shock. Nadal is the king of contemporary tennis. This was his 13th major championship, and a 2ndvictory in New York. Pardon me for probing the sincerity of his reaction – from all I’ve read and seen, Rafa is an astonishingly fierce competitor on court, a dedicated trainer and a fine gentleman off it – but haven’t these amazed post-match collapses become a little clichéd?

This was’s photo of Nadal in victorious distress. Way in the background, Djokovic waits to be acknowledged.

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