on 17 January 2009
This is a three-disc set which includes a sixty-minute overview of the whole championship, plus two DVDs of entire matches. I recall watching Andy Murray playing Gasquet at the start of the second week of Wimbledon 2008. He played well, but Gasquet was just too good, and the first two sets slipped away. The commentators said how well the young Scot was playing, and were clearly thinking that perhaps he could better next year. Then, sometime during the third set, things began to change. Murray found something deep within himself, and began to strike back. First, he won the third set, then took the lead in the fourth, and it became clear that, whereas he had found his game, Gasquet had nothing left to find, and Murray took control.
For the third year in succession, the men's final was between the Swiss Roger Federer, who had already equalled Borg's modern record of five consecutive men's singles titles, and Spaniard Rafael Nadal. In the previous two years, the Frenchman had proved superior, but this time something changed. Nadal won the first set 6-4, then went 1-4 down in the second before winning five games in a row to take the set by the same score. The third set had no breaks of serve, went to the tie-break, and Federer won. The fourth set, too, had no service breaks and, in the ensuing tie-break, Nadal had match points he was unable to convert; the set also went to the Frenchman, and the fifth set was on.
After several rain delays, and continuing past nine p.m., both men played breath-taking tennis, going for, and making, shots that would have left many another standing. Shot-for-shot, game-for-game, the two men were unable to get any advantage until Nadal finally broke serve and became the first man since Borg to win both the French Open and Wimbledon in the same year. Although Federer has always been a popular champion, it may be that no one in recent years has been more popular than Nadal, a great tennis player and a true sportsman.
These DVDs provide the entire BBC coverage of the matches, every shot, every grimace, and look of triumph. The picture quality is superb, the commentary from the likes of Andrew Castle, Tim Henman and John Mcenroe is excellent. The play in both matches is of the highest quality; it is clear that we can expect more from Andy Murray, as well as much more triumph from both Federer and Nadal. Even knowing the outcome of the matches doesn't distract the viewer from the excitement of the event. The Murray match lasts four hours, the final, five, yet I watched each match in one sitting, just as I did when watching it live in the disappointing summer of 2008. It's hard to praise this release too highly.