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I awoke on Sunday morning to the pitter patter of rain on my bedroom window. Having drunk just two glasses of some middle-of-the-road chardonnay the night prior, my head was clear as I rolled out of bed and threw my robe on for the walk from bedroom to bathroom to start the shower.
From there, I filled my Cuisinart with four hearty scoops of Cafe Bustelo before I hopped in the shower. I like to exit said shower with the smell of fresh coffee wafting through the air, something which reminds me (especially on Sunday mornings) that life isn’t all bad.
Rafael Nadal hadn’t even taken the court yet, but I was jacked up watching pregame coverage from Paris via NBC. John McEnroe was on the call (as he usually is for the championship of major tennis tournaments) and the crowd at the 2018 French Open final was electric in a way that only a tennis match could be.
Subdued clapping from both famous rich people and not so famous rich people packed center court, all of them waiting for the king of clay to leave the locker room and start warming up against the challenger Dominic Thiem.
Thiem had beaten Nadal a few weeks prior in Madrid, and while there was some loose talk amongst reporters and NBC announcers about whether Thiem could realistically win this French Open final, in the back of everyone’s head I don’t think there was really any doubt. Nadal would roll, the only question would be whether he did it in straight sets or not. He has won this tournament 11 times now, holding an 86-2 record at Roland Garros. It’s a truly unbelievable statistic.
And while I could go on and on about Nadal’s greatness I won’t because the truth is I don’t really care all that much about who is playing in these final matches of major tennis tournaments.
The reason I like them so much is that there is something very soothing about these things coming on early in the morning on Sunday. The grunting I could do without, but the mesmerizing back and forth volleying, whether it’s on grass, clay, or hard court, is incredibly comforting.
I’d love it if other more mainstream sports started taking a cue from tennis and broadcasting their championship games on Sunday mornings. Imagine the free time you would have if the Super Bowl or the final of the NCAA basketball tournament started being held early on Sunday morning. There’d be no worries about getting too drunk for work the next day because if you’re drinking that early, you can just nap it off at 10:30 or 11:00 a.m. when the match ends.
You have the whole day in front of you when the championship starts at 8:00 a.m. Now I understand that major networks would never dream of doing this for a championship in football or basketball as there is way too much money to be made broadcasting during prime time on Sunday night. I also realize that the French Open and Wimbledon final are both played around 3:00 p.m. local time overseas, but even that would be a welcome change to the ridiculous start times for American sports finales.
The Europeans have it figured out when it comes to tennis finals. They get them out of the way during the afternoon and leave everyone free at night to freak out about Monday morning from the comfort of their bedrooms.
After Nadal finished waxing Thiem yesterday at Roland Garros, I think it was around 10:45 in the morning. I walked to the bagel shop down the street and got myself a snack. I did laundry. And then I took a nap because I had a beer and a half while watching the second set of the match. I’ll never claim to have a cure for the Sunday Scaries, but watching quality tennis on a Sunday morning eases them considerably. .
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