By Steve Czaban Special to Published Jul 16, 2008 at 5:22 AM

On this, we can all agree: Nadal-Federer III was scintillating tennis.

The rest, we'll just have to argue about.

Let's begin by tackling the McEnroe question. Was this, in fact, the "greatest match of all time?"

Begin by discounting the fact that McEnroe blurted it out in the gloaming darkness of Centre Court, and with the warm glow of the five-set masterpiece still fresh in his tennis loins.

The logical next question when confronted with a "(blank) is the best (blank) in sports history" statement is this: "OK, what then is now No. 2, 3, 4 and 5?"

To which most sports fans draw a blank. Even those with gut-string Donnay racquets still in their garages.

(For the record, I never had a gut-string Donnay. I had a blue nylon strung Wilson Advantage racquet. It was bitchin'; a classy black and tan color scheme, with a faux-leather-skin head cover. Thing was a freakin' work of art, man!

Anyhow, this was for two reasons only: 1. My parents thought gut-strings were a stupid waste of money, and that I would leave it out in the rain and ruin them. (Definitely, and probably). 2. I hated -- HATED -- Bjorn Borg, who used Donnay.

Truth is, we don't have any strong opinions on what might be matches two through five on the McEnroe Tennis Orgasm List because tennis is mostly repetitive, long, and often boring.

Even the most scintillating of passing shots look very much like others, and what sometimes seems like a match-changing point or rally turns out to be merely a temporary reprieve as the guy serving escapes an ad-out.

Sample conversation:

Tennis Psycho 1: "Man, did you see Nadal return that overhead smash by Federer at 4-3 in the fourth set?"

Tennis Psycho 2: "Yeah, then Federer uncorked two aces to hold serve. So.. um.. yeah. That was cool, I suppose. But, um... Didn't really matter, did it?"

I have heard many guys my age lament that those old McEnroe-Borg matches were somehow "so much better." They wonder, "What killed tennis?" as a riveting thing to watch over the last 20 years.

The answer isn't big racquet, too many Russians or the rise of golf and Tiger Woods.

The answer isn't even an answer, really. The question is stupid. Tennis was never as "big" as we thought it was.

Tennis, like a lot of sports, was the ONLY thing on TV back in 1981. Nobody (except the super-rich and test market households) had cable TV. You sat and watched Roscoe Tanner because it was either...

A) Roscoe
B) cut the lawn

Easy choice.

I'm as nostalgic about "old school" things in sports as the next guy. I love seeing stuff on ESPN Classic and wondering: "How in the hell did we even put up with crappy TV coverage like that?"

But, I'm also a bit weary of the over-romanticizing of it all. Just because we remember something, shouldn't mean we remember it as being particularly good.

Sure, I watched every minute of NBA Finals games between the Lakers and Celtics in the '80s. Why? Simple: A) I was in high school, and not very cool What else did I have to do on Sunday? B) You didn't get the Lakers 37 times during the year on TNT.

I'm not advocating a rollback of the available sports on television, Web or anywhere. I'm just trying to stop people from wailing about how "great" everything once was in sports.

When just about everything is on TV these days, it also means that nothing looks or feels especially "big." In fact, only two entities do such a good job of limiting their exposure in the sports marketplace, that we are always left clamoring for more.

Tiger Woods and the NFL.

Other that that, games and games drift by our couch-bound faces in a steady, numbing stream. When a classic like Nadal-Federer comes across, we note it briefly but then quickly resume our sports gorging.

Steve Czaban Special to

Steve is a native Washingtonian and has worked in sports talk radio for the last 11 years. He worked at WTEM in 1993 anchoring Team Tickers before he took a full time job with national radio network One-on-One Sports.

A graduate of UC Santa Barbara, Steve has worked for WFNZ in Charlotte where his afternoon show was named "Best Radio Show." Steve continues to serve as a sports personality for WLZR in Milwaukee and does fill-in hosting for Fox Sports Radio.