Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Netjets Showdown Pete Sampras vs Roger Federer|
Actors: John McEnroe, Pete Sampras, Roger Federer
Studio: Arts Alliance America Release Date: 04/22/2008 Run time: 180 minutes
Great for the lighter moments
Emily B. | Connecticut, USA | 04/22/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Okay, I'm a big tennis nut, plus I used to be a big fan of Sampras and I'm now a big fan of Roger--that would make me the ideal target audience for this dvd, but I hesitated over it. I'm not too keen on exhibitions ("exos") in general, since they lack the intensity of real matches. Then I saw part of this Madison Square Garden match on cable and I was delighted with the lighter moments it displayed, and wanted to see the rest of the interviews and other features on the dvd.
We can only wonder how Sampras and Federer would have played each other when each was at his peak, say, when they were both 25-26 years old. The one contest between them, the 2001 Wimbledon 4th round match--was played when Pete's career was on the wane and Roger's was on the rise (and when Roger still served-and-volleyed a lot). This MSG exo offers a few hints of what might have been. While Roger was clearly not in top form at the time (still suffering from mono), this match was entertaining. From the way Pete gave Roger surprised looks after some of Roger's dazzling shots, and the way Roger grinned back at him in response, I think Roger's creativity would have edged out Pete's power in a "top Roger" vs. "top Pete" contest. Also, though I've long admired Pete's fluid game, it was never beautiful, like Roger's game. But whatever you think, it's fun to watch these great champions and speculate.
Both players seemed to enjoy the match and smiled a lot. At 4-4 in the 2nd set, Roger smiled through his entire service motion after Pete missed a return, and kept smiling after the point ended on a close line call. He then gave the point to Pete, saying "the ball was out" and Pete applauded him. Pete does a McEnroe impression at one point, and later offers his racquet to Tiger Woods in the front row, so Tiger can play for him. Then Pete wins the next point and does a Tiger-style fist pump to celebrate, and Tiger laughs back at him.
--at a press conference, Pete refers to the 2001 Wimbledon match saying, " . . . 8-6 in the fifth" and Roger interrupts to pipe in "it was 7-5", with a grin. Hmm, wonder if Roger has watched that match more often than Pete?
--also at the presser, reporters are asking questions all at once and Pete looks annoyed. Roger shushes them and when they fall silent, grins and says "what do you know, it works".
Negatives: Some of the on-court interviews by Justin Gimelstob are annoying. His comment to Roger that "I didn't think you got nervous; I didn't think you were human" annoys me to no end, like all comments that assume "to be human" means "to be weak", since I have long regarded Roger's ability as an example of human ability at its best. Gimelstob's attempt to pump up the crowd by saying "this isn't England" was also lame, since he seems to have forgotten that both these gentlemen have every reason to like England, with a total of 12 Wimbledon titles between them (so far). But this is a minor drawback.
It's interesting that both men were nervous about playing an exo. Also, despite the smiles, both competitors clearly wanted to win. When Pete seemed poised to win the 3rd set, Roger cranked it up with an acing display that had them smiling. Both men clearly like and respect each other, which is nice to see. Pete seems to regard Roger more as an heir than as a rival, and really doesn't seem to mind seeing Roger break all his records, since it enriches tennis as a whole.
After he won the 2008 US Open, Roger credited this MSG exo in March as a reason why the NY crowds supported him in August and September. Well I'm sure the exo didn't hurt and we'd love to see more tennis at the Garden, but there are a lot of people who cheered Roger in NY anyway, even before this exo (and even when playing Americans!). On the whole, I greatly enjoyed this dvd and I'm glad I bought it. As a fan of fast-court tennis, it will help me slog through the clay court season."