Monday, August 24, 2009

The Last Time Roger Didn't Win

I'm not saying it can't happen. I'm just saying it's been a while since anyone not named Roger Federer won the men's title at the U.S. Open. It was September 7, 2003. My wife and I watched Andy Roddick beat Juan Carlos Ferrero from the maternity ward. Next week, our daughter turns 6.

Six years is a long time in the life of a family and it's a long time in a tennis career as well:
  • At that point, Federer had only won one Slam on his way to a record-breaking 15.
  • Rafael Nadal was ranked #45 in the world and had not yet even made it to the final of an ATP tournament. He has since collected 36 titles, including 6 Slams and an Olympic gold medal.
  • Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray were both 16 years old and not even on the radar. Neither was ranked in the Top 600.
  • Andre Agassi was World #1, with Ferrero set to take over the top ranking the next day. Agassi has since retired and Ferrero is 25th in the world, not having had a taste of the Top 10 since 2004.
  • Justine Henin, also since retired, was the women's champion.
For a broader historical perspecitve:
  • George W. Bush's approval ratings were on the decline but he was still on his way to reelection in 2004.
  • Barack Obama was an Illinois state senator - talk about not even on the radar.
  • Saddam Hussein had not yet been captured.
  • In California, Republicans were campaigning for the recall of Governor Gray Davis, a process which would lead to the ascent of Arnold Schwarzenegger the following month.
  • The Concorde was still making commercial flights.
  • On the same day, Warren Zevon died.
  • John Ritter and Johnny Cash were still alive.
  • facebook did not exist.
For a broader sports perspective:
  • The Boston Red Sox still hadn't won a World Series in 85 years.
  • Michael Phelps had not yet won even one of his 14 Olympic golds.
  • Usain Bolt was 17 years old and was the reigning World Youth Champion at 200 meters.
  • David Beckham had just begun his stint at Real Madrid.
  • Brett Favre still had five more seasons to go with Green Bay.
  • LeBron James had just been drafted #1 by the Cleveland Cavaliers and was preparing to begin his NBA career.
  • Alexander Ovechkin was still playing for Dynamo Moscow.

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