On July 7 2012, Frederik L. Nielsen wrote history for Denmark. He was the first Danish tennis player not only to reach the finals, but also to win the finals of Wimbledon mens double tennis. You may have heard about it in the news, otherwise you will hear a bit about it here.
Usually I don’t watch that much tennis, but I do know a little about the game. When I was younger I played a little, but never got more into it and stopped. This win, this young man at age 28, was his first game that he was supposed to play with Caroline Wozniacki. She left and that left an opening to Jonathan Marray, a British tennis player, whom Frederik had met and played against a few times. They had not actually played together. Not only that, but they got into Wimbledon on a wild card as they did not qualify in time for the games. One would think they wouldn’t make it past the first few games – Frederik is ranking 311 on the tennis list. Well the more they won, the more people started to pay attention to this pair. What had just happened here? Where did they come from? Who were they? A Dane and a Brit playing together and rather good at it. Of cause I started to pay attention, especially when I read they had won the semifinals and were going to play the finals. Yes, my Sunday evening plans with editing photos went AWOL the moment the game started. Sure I tried to multitask, but boy did both pairs of players put up a game that is most defiantly going into the history books. I mean look at it. Close to 3 hours!! Yes 3 hours back and forth, almost there with tie breaks only to be broken, starting all up again. It is worth mention that the pair they played against had actually been in the finals 3 times before and never won. So they were not about to back down just because a pair of wildcards tennis player had made it to the finals. Not a chance. Even a tiny drop of rain could not stop the excitements of the game – they had to stop for about an hour I think, before they could continue the game. The closer Nielsen and Marray got to finishing off the game, the more you could hear the crowd cheering for them as well. I’ve been told, that when the open roof where spread over the stadium – it is a sort of open roof-, the cheering got more loud and intense. By then I had stopped working on my photos and was looking on the game on my television. When Frederik smashed that last ball and looks for a second unsure on what is going on – whole Wimbledon were cheering loudly already – and finally realize the game is over and they have won, I had my arms in the air and shouted a big YES with a deep breath.
Monday, I didn’t mind to watch a reply of the game at all. I wanted to see it again and have rewatched that last ball a few times. Hey it is the first time in Danish history a Danish tennis player wins the Wimbledon finals. You have to enjoy the moment. Tuesday it was no surprise to see the front cover with Frederik on the local newspaper, sort of. Till I learned that e actually has played tennis in the town I live in and was going to stop by the local city hall on Thursday at 11am. Sometimes been out of work is not that too bad, so I prepared my camera and went to the local city hall Thursday morning. I thought it was going to be full of so many people in there; I was happy and surprised to see there was not that full of people at the 5th floor, where the mayor would salute Frederik for his win. There were both local town folks but also sponsors, former tennis player and such were there to greet Frederik.
Now Monday I had learned via an interview Frederik had given, he had said he was not used to all this new found attention given to him. Sure he was ok, but that was not what was important to him. The most important part for him at all, was to play tennis. No Wimbledon win would change that. Sure it does makes his tennis options better now he is a name. So that is why I was sort of happy there wasn’t that many more people to greet and congratulate him on his win. The mayor said a few words about the win and how happy he was for the win, not just for Frederik but also for the town to have fostered a winner (this part I call the political speech and not going to go into details about that) and another politician from the sport department at the local city hall also said a few very typical political words. Frederik looked ok, happy but also like it was still a bit too much even though it had been 4 days since the win – heard he hadn’t gotten that much sleep the past few days then, taking it all it I take.. – he surprised by saying a few words himself afterwards, where he thanked everyone for stopping by to congratulate him as well as thanks to the sponsors.
With that a reporter asked him to follow outside to the balcony with the mayor and the political for a photo to the local newspaper. I followed suit and took some photos myself. And a “few” more photos afterwards. I stood to the side watching Frederik talking with all those people, who had come and gave their well wishes for the win out there on the balcony/porch. Now one thing I had been nervous about the whole morning was that it was going to rain and it was going to be heavy rain. Not only had I left home without my rain coat, but we were all standing out there and it was not that warm. Believe it or not, not only did Frederik have a yellow t-shirt on, even the sun peaked through the heavy clouds and shinned on him – ok it sounds better when putting it that way, but trust me, sometimes it would shine just around him. It stayed dry for about 2 hours and I got home dry, before the heaven unleashed the rain in spades.
I gave him my congratulations, when asking if he wanted something to drink as he had been talking for a while with the people around him – I think I interrupted gently on a conversation he had with some people. He gently refused with a smile – but a former co-worker gave him some orange juice anyway – and shaked my hand in thanks for the quick congratulations. I left with a smile. Not only did he win quite few more supporters that day I am sure, but as I drove home on my bicycle I couldn’t help think about what he had said and how he was in general from that brief moment. One thing that sure will make me root for him next time as well wishing for more great adventure out there on the tennis lanes, he is way down to earth and he keeps replying it is the game that matters the most to him. Everything else, in close order I’m sure, comes 2nd. And as I am a movie geek I just couldn’t help, but come to think about two movie titles spring to my eyes: “Wimbledon” with Paul Bettany, actually about a single tennis player who enters the Wimbledon game on a wild card and wins too – yea I’m sure someone out there is thinking, will there be a movie about this double team wild card winners? (I’m one of them) and the 2nd one which so much fulfill Fredrik’s love for tennis: “For love of the game”
If you want to see the last ball in the tennis game, you can see it here (hope the link works): http://tv2sport.dk/partner/tv2/player/102511 (just press on the "play" button and it starts....) or try this one http://www.wimbledon.com/en_GB/interactive/multimedia.html and look for the clip I think you have to move like 2 times and it is there in the bottom.... hope you can find it...)
The Quiet Photographer