Monday, July 7, 2008
Cell phones, lighters, matches and cameras help to finish Wimbledon
Rafael Nadal halted Roger Federer's Wimbledon winning streak at five and became the first Spaniard to win tennis' most coveted trophy since 1966. Yesterday's final was the longest championship in the history of the tournament lasted 4 hours and 48 minutes and ended at 9:17PM local time due to several rain delays.
Nadal may want to thank the fans of England for assisting in the victory which may not have been possible otherwise. Wimbledon's Center Court is not equipped with lights and daylight was becoming very scarce toward 9PM.
At 8:57PM, sensing that the match could possibly be postponed until Monday because of darkness, Nadal approached the umpire's chair asking if he could make an announcement to the crowd. Thinking he wanted to ask for more silence as the match ended the umpire agreed.
"Please, I'm asking you all to please take out your cell phones, cigarette lighters, matches, cameras and anything that gives off light. Even if you have a glow watch or something. Let's finish tonight," pleaded Nadal to a roaring crowd.
One by one cell phones were turned on, cameras flashed and fingers were burnt as the grass surface slowly became illuminated. The umpire smiled and signaled for play to continue.
A joking Federer went to his chair and pulled out his own cell phone. Nadal applauded and play began.
"I've never seen nothin' like this before here or anywhere. It's something that is quite good," said a fan visiting from West Glasgow.
"If the match was put off until tomorrow there is no telling what may have happened. Roger could have come out and defeated me and I didn't want to take that chance," said a joyous Nadal.