If not war, then how about its nearest sporting equivalent, boxing? Recalling the 14th round of the 1975 fight in Manila between Muhammad Ali and George Frazier, Ali's doctor, Ferdie Pacheco, said, "That's what gets people killed in boxing, when the fight becomes more important than life and death." It's never that extreme in tennis and this particular game could never become more important than life itself for the simple reason that it was life itself. They were toiling away not for any ultimate meaning or purpose (as John McEnroe said, after a set-to like this, neither of them have a hope in hell of winning their next-round match) but because, within those white lines, a very simple logic holds sway: he hits a ball and you try to hit it back. And so, through some perverse compatibility – those marriages that last for ages because of an insatiable and shared appetite for bickering – they settled into a tranced deadlock. Normally, a player would be under immense pressure when serving to stay in the tournament but there were no nerves because, after a while – after the first two or three hours, I mean – there was no expectation that anything unusual might happen.
Writing in the Guardian.
PS Oh, you want to know who won? Oh, alright then.