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wimbledon

A Good Day for Tennis Gluttony

The day after Wimbledon's Sunday sabbath (a day off in the midst of a Slam? I thought England quit being socialist like 30 years ago?), all of the remaining 32 players are in action on this manic Monday. Think Super Tuesday during presidential-primary season, or Wildcard Weekend in the NFL: that blissful midpoint in the competitive calendar where quality and quantity are in perfect proportion, where the addict can gorge himself on contest after contest without the empty calories that come from absorbing a string of blowouts.

But how to navigate all the options in order to extract maximum enjoyment? At any given point in the day there will be four highly competitive fourth-round matches happening at once; right now, in fact, it's likely you'll have to choose between watching Federer or Nadal. (Or last remaining American Mardy Fish, for the viewer who puts a premium on patriotism.) If you have DirecTV, you can at least act as your own match D.J. and curate your viewing via its Wimbledon Mix, with a different channel for each court. Cable customers are at the mercy of ESPN2's and NBC's roving eyes, which tend to alight upon the big names without regard to match competitiveness and with only a sidelong glance at the lesser courts, no matter how intriguing the matchup. As a sop to completists, ESPN does offer complete coverage of all courts on ESPN3.com, but following the flight of the ball on your laptop is about as much fun as trying to pick out a hockey puck.

This dilemma is unique to the European Slams, Wimbledon and the French Open, both bastions of tradition that have yet to install lights on the courts that would allow for evening play and leave the viewer more legroom between matches. Baffling as this state of affairs may be, today may just be the perfect day to stop begrudging the Europeans their days off and quaint scheduling, to stop worrying whether the frayed grass is greener over on the next court. Be here now.

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Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images