Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

Roger Federer of Switzerland took 4 hours, 26 minutes to beat Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina. It's the longest three-set men's singles match of the modern era.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina hits a forehand during a marathon match against Switzerland's Roger Federer.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Team USA basketball player Kobe Bryant, back left, reacts as he watches the match between Roger Federer and Juan Martin Del Potro. Seated to his left are his wife Vanessa and daughters Natalia and Gianna.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Roger Federer shadows the worn baseline of Wimbledon's grass center court as he battles Argentina's Juan Martin Del Potro in the men's semifinal.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina lays down on Wimbledon's center court as he deals with a cramp midway through the marathon tennis match.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Juan Martin Del Potro is in pain after losing a point to Roger Federer.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Juan Martin Del Potro grimaces in exhaustion and pain after falling near the net.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Roger Federer of Switzerland screams out in joy as the ball drops out, giving him a point in a lengthy third set against Argentina's Juan Martin Del Potro. After nearly five hours, Federer finally put Del Potro away at 19-17 in the third set at the London Olympics.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Roger Federer of Switzerland clenches his fist in victory after beating Argentina's Juan Martin Del Potro.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Roger Federer waves to the Wimbledon crowd after defeating Argentina's Juan Martin Del Potro.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Roger Federer, left, consoles Argentina's Juan Martin Del Potro after defeating him 2-1 in a semifinal match lasting nearly five hours.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Juan Martin Del Potro hangs his head in exhaustion and defeat after losing in the men's tennis semifinal at Wimbledon to Switzerland's Roger Federer in three sets.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

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A lens on the Olympics: Shooting the Federer/Del Potro tennis match

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A lens on the Olympics: Shooting the Federer/Del Potro tennis match

Robert Gauthier, Los Angeles Times

Wimbledon: We’re deep into the third set and Roger Federer is on the ropes. Down a break and facing defeat, he rushes the net as his opponent, Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina, powerful and tenacious, lines up a passing shot and fires it down the line, out of Federer’s reach. Olympic defeat is sure to come to one of the greatest tennis players in history.  I’m in the front row at the most hallowed of tennis grounds.  Bright sun and dark clouds pass over us like sightseers in double-decker buses hoping to get a glimpse of history. Nearly four hours have passed since the first point and, in a split second, I’m deep in the middle of a truly magic moment.  Del Potro’s rocket ticks off the top of the net and lands inches out of bounds. Only a few feet from me, Federer unleashes a primal yell, drowned out by thousands of screaming, satisfied spectators.  He went on to win the third set, 19-17, and advance to the final against Great Britain’s Andy Murray.

This is why I love covering the Olympics. Every day, I am witness to someone’s great moment of victory or defeat.  For most, it’s the apex of their sporting lives, for other’s like Federer, it’s just another peak in the roller-coaster ride of greatness.

I try to remain unaffected by what’s happening in front of me.  It’s a requirement.  If I’m distracted for a split second, I might miss capturing an image that could live on for decades.  They’re quite rare, but that’s what I’m truly searching for with my camera.  Today, it’s all I can do not to let the moment fill me up.  As a young boy who admired Arthur Ashe and Rod Laver, I taught myself how to play tennis by hitting balls off our garage door in Oceanside, Calif.  I never reached any level of proficiency that I could call myself a tennis player.  Just J.V. doubles with my friend Mike Bagg at San Dieguito High.  I had a rocket serve, but feet of stone.  The serve is gone, the feet are even heavier now.  But I’ve loved the sport forever and finally, I’m here. It’ll be a while until the goosebumps are gone.

This is the second in a series of dispatches from our photographers covering the Olympic Games.

Read the first “A lens on the Olympics: First, find a good spot

More Photo Galleries

Complete Olympic coverage

1 Comment

  1. December 8, 2012, 1:37 am

    Bryan Chan thanks for your great post as well! You know I'm a big fan of Tennis and my favorite in the Tennis is Federer. And it is the post what I was in the hunt for a long time. Just a quick note to tell you that i have a passion for the topic "Tennis Issue and news" at hand. Thanks the head up and keep posting like this…………………

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