Tag Archives: wimbledon

My Top Six Underdog Sports Movies

Everyone loves a good underdog story, especially  in the world of sports. Although we celebrate feats of athletic domination (e.g. The Dream Team’s romp towards the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Gold, Manny Pacquiao’s various world titles in eight weight divisions, and Roger Federer’s 17 grand slam singles titles), unexpected triumphs elicit a more endearing emotional response.

Being a movie buff and a sports nut for around half my life, here’s a list of the sports movies I’ve enjoyed the most:

Wimbledon (2004)

Let’s be honest with each other here. I’m quite certain that every sports-minded fellow out there has felt some sort of superhuman boost in performance because of that thing called love. This movie takes the concept even further – much further at that, considering the stakes.


The Karate Kid (1984)

Who would’ve thought that waxing the car, painting the fence, and sanding the floor could instill martial arts fundamentals?


Rocky I (and Rocky III and Rocky IV)

No sports movie list is complete without Rocky. This is the granddaddy of all underdog sport movies, with its iconic training montages, barely-coherent Stallone slurs, and gory fictional fights-to-the-finish.


The Replacements (2000)

This is about getting an unexpected second shot at sporting glory – and making it count. Definitely my favorite Keanu Reeves film.


Miracle (2004)

I haven’t seen a live ice hockey game my entire life, but the sheer impact of one of the greatest upsets in sporting history resonates despite the differences in seasons. This is a classic David and Goliath story… on ice.


Rudy (1993)

This is, without a doubt, my favorite sports film of all-time. Sean Astin was fantastic in his portrayal of the headstrong protagonist. Jerry Goldsmith’s musical score made the movie even more memorable.



An Emotional Embrace

I was gutted for Andy Murray when he lost in the 2012 Wimbledon final. During the customary post-match speeches, one could feel the appreciation of the British crowd for Murray, who was always considered as too dour. Being an athlete myself, I found his emotional display heartwarming.

Perhaps no other moment could better signify the newly-minted Olympic Champion’s ascendance into British hearts than Henry Caplan’s memorable hug.

Read: “You’re my hero and you deserve a hug! Schoolboy’s embrace with Olympic champion Andy Murray captures buoyant mood of the nation”


“If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster, and treat those two impostors just the same.” – Rudyard Kipling

I first encountered Rudyard Kipling’s immortal poem back in college. My track coach had a knack of citing literary classics. Back then, I did not really pay attention to the poem. Even though I’m a man of literature myself, “being a man” – as Kipling’s last line vigorously exhorts – was but a distant thought, in light of my youthful pursuits.

Seeing the Rolex Ad featuring Roger Federer, the Wimbledon Centre Court Players’ Entrance and one of Kipling’s lines necessitated a second look at the inspirational poem.

Additional link:

Full text of Kipling’s “If”

Photo credits:


Isner prevails over Mahut

I stayed up late last night just to finish John Isner and Nicholas Mahut’s ultra-marathon tennis match. Although Mahut seems to be the fresher one, with Isner appearing almost lethargic and obviously exhausted (if you’ve been playing for 11 hours, who won’t be?), the latter finally seized match point after three days of play. It took 11 hours and 5 minutes to determine the winner.

I feel bad for Mahut. Too bad there aren’t any dead heats in tennis.

The match is a certified classic. I’m glad that I’ve watched it live on the boob tube. Too bad we won’t be seeing any replays any time soon.

Some quotes from Isner, Mahut and the Chair Umpire after the epic match (from BBC & Wimbledon.org):

Isner on Mahut (BBC): “What more can you say? The guy’s an absolute warrior. It stinks someone had to lose. To share this with him was an absolute honour. Maybe we’ll meet again somewhere down the road and it won’t be 70-68.”

Mahut (Wimbledon.org): “At this moment, it’s really painful. But it was amazing to play these three days. We played the greatest tennis match ever at the greatest place to play tennis.”

Umpire Momaned Lahyani (BBC): “When you are so focused and every point feels like a match point you just don’t even think about eating or needing the bathroom. I travel Economy so seven hours sitting still on court is nothing.”

Additional Links

BBC Article

Wimbledon article

Blow-by-blow account of the 5th set

Photo Credits




Wimbledon Epic: A 10-hour tennis match

This is crazy. This is EPIC!

After two days and 10-hours play, John Isner and Nicholas Mahut’s 1st round Wimbledon match was stopped as darkness set in. The game was suspended, with the fifth set tied 59-59. It is the longest tennis match to date, beating the Santoro – Clement French Open match (6 hours, 35 minutes) in 2004.

The following quotes from tennis’ top players were funny (from BBC):

Novak Djokovic: “I’m amazed they could both hold their serve that comfortably all day. It’s unbelievable. Maybe they should have agreed to play a tie-break at 50-all!”

Roger Federer: “It’s absolutely amazing. It’s a very special match. This is unheard of in our game. I don’t know if I was crying or laughing, it was too much. I can relate to it to some little degree – but this is beyond anything.”

Read Tom Fordyce’s BBC blog for a more in-depth, entertaining read.



Video Credits:

ESPN Sports Center

Photo Credits:


Page last updated at 23:25 GMT, Wednesday, 23 June 2010 00:25 UK

John Isner and Nicolas Mahut

Federer escapes Falla

The movie Wimbledon (2004) sparked a renewed interest in tennis and, yes, Wimbledon. Back then our cable provider did not show the prestigious grass court tournament (so I settled for the next best thing, the French Open). There’s something regal about the predominantly white outfits and the English ambiance that makes Wimbledon attractive to the spectator.

Last night, I watched the great Roger Federer pull off a Houdini, escaping with a close fought, 5-set victory against the 60th-ranked Alejandro Falla. It was a great duel. To my untrained eyes, the drop shots and the long rallies were a joy to watch.

As Wimbledon unfolds, I’m hoping for a rematch of the Federer – Andy Roddick final last year.  I’m rooting for no one in particular, but I think it’s about time Roddick hits top plum.

Also, I wish the best of luck to the Filipino entries (Treat Huey, Riza Zalameda, Jeson Patrombon and Francis Casey Alcantara).

Additional Links:

Wimbledon Day 1 Photos (BBC)

BBC Article on the Federer-Falla match

Photo Credits:


%d bloggers like this: