Wimbledon began on June 28. After not being contested in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, tennis’s premier tournament is back. This era of tennis has been utterly dominated by three men: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic. If Djokovic were to win the tournament, he would join Federer and Nadal at the very top of the all-time list, in terms of major victories, with 20. Most observers believe that since Djokovic remains at the top of the rankings at this very moment, and is five years younger than Roger Federer, while being more dominant on all surfaces than Nadal, he will be the most decorated major champion in tennis history before long. Roger Federer, the great Swiss legend, still has something to say about that, at age 39.
Roger Federer won three matches at the French Open this year, and withdrew before his fourth-round match with a young Italian star. Roger had to fight to win his third-round match against an opponent he had never played before, and it was quite early in the morning of the next day.
On Sunday, May 23, Phil Mickelson started the insanity, by winning the PGA Championship in South Carolina. It represented his sixth major title, and he surpassed Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods to become the oldest major winner in the history of professional golf. I don’t recall thinking that Phil was too long in the tooth to win anymore, but he’s 50 years old. He’s eligible for the Champions Tour, which in a bygone era was called the “Senior Tour.” Phil had won the PGA Championship before: 16 years ago. That gap represented the largest for anyone winning the same tournament in the history of professional golf.
We sit on the very edge of the beginning of the tournament. Just hours from now, the four teams playing in the play-in games for the 68-team field will tip off for the right to take their places in the main 64-team bracket.
We’re running out of meaningful things to say. I can remember when Tom Brady was derided as a “system quarterback” that benefited from the excellent schemes of the legendary coach Bill Belichick. Now, his place at the top of the NFL mountain is assured. He became the quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who had not even qualified for the playoffs for some half-dozen years, and they are now the champions of the NFL. Brady now has more Super Bowl rings than all NFL franchises. His 10 appearances in the Super Bowl, to go along with the seven victories, is unfathomable.
Associate Editor Jason Kettinger looks back on the career of “the Great One,” Wayne Gretzky, just after his 60th birthday.
Tommy Lasorda died yesterday at the age of 93. It’s almost hard to say anything that matters. I only know that he was the manager of the Dodgers in 1988, when the Dodgers had an improbable victory over the feared Oakland A’s, led by Tony LaRussa. When I looked back over the dates that Lasorda was the manager of the Dodgers – 1976 to 1996 – I realized that it encompassed my entire life, up to the age of 16.