PALMA CITY IN MAJORCA .- “The truth is that we spent two and a half hours in which we had a lot of fun, we had a really good time”, said Rafa Nadal. “Ever since I heard of this idea I felt attracted by the experience. It was important for us to go down in history with a unique event. I was very excited and spent an incredible day with the people”, said Roger Federer. The spectators who filled the 7,200 seats of the Palma Arena made the most of the Nº 1 and the Nº 2 players on the tennis world ranking, with the meeting between the “King on grass and the King on clay”. The Government of the Balearic Islands wants to make use of the contract option which includes two more years. “The Battle of Surfaces” was seen by almost 200 million television viewers all over the planet. The ideologist of this match, who broke the mould of this sport through his ingenuity and creativity, Argentine Pablo Del Campo, from the Del Campo Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi agency, watched with satisfaction as that idea, which was not in the least delirious, was executed successfully, opening the doors to new events.
There’s no doubt, at this stage, that the event that took place on May 2nd. 2007 at the Palma Arena, in Majorca, the largest of the Balearic Islands, was a success. On a tennis court which was half clay, half grass, they played an entertaining game; it was competitive and both wanted to win it; Federer and Nadal, who once again displayed their competitiveness, quality and gentlemanliness. It was two and a half hours of tennis the grew in intensity and precision as it drew on, because of the adaptation which the players naturally needed to get used to that strange sensation of having to change sides every two games; changing their foot-wear for whichever surface they had to play on, and changing their tactics as they went along, rarely thinking which was the way it suited them best to hit the ball on grass, having to send the ball on to a surface of different speed and bounce, and with different movements from the opponent.
The court was up to the expected standard, having had to overcome the inconvenience of a last minute change of the grass, as a result of problems caused in its maintenance in a closed area as is the Palma Arena, without air or natural light. But the effort produced the desired effect, and the protagonists approved the condition of the ground. “It has been excellent; we have been able to play without any problem. It was a good experience”, said Federer, who was acclaimed by the Majorcan spectators, who clapped each of his witticisms on the court and his skills.
The victory, in a very dramatic ending, was for Nadal by 7-5, 4-6 and 7-6 (12-10). With an exciting tie-break in which Rafa, “The King on Clay Courts”, was able to wound the “King on Grass Courts” in the fourth match-point he had had, having twice avoided being defeated before that.
The event included a show before the game, with music, entertainers, videos remembering the great moment of each protagonist; the entry of both from the higher stands, descending among the spectators. Two great Spanish champions, Manolo Santana and Carlos Moyá , also from Majorca like Nadal, were there. Jaume Matas, President of the Balearic Islands Government, who made this event possible, together with IMG and Antena 3, and Pablo Del Campo, President of Del Campo, Nazca, Saatchi & Saatchi, Latin America took part in the prize-giving. And both Nadal and Federer, after receiving their trophies with the two-surface court–already a part of the history of tennis–as their framework, ended up good friends as they already are, showering each other with champagne. The best of curtains fell on a day that was not just one more, but a very special day instead. “The Battle of Surfaces” is no longer a brilliant idea: it has turned into an agreeable reality.