Monday, February 2, 2009

Nadal and Federer - two great champions

I saw something beautiful yesterday. In the most unlikely of places and moments.

The Australian Open Tennis Finals between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

It was an exciting match, even for someone not too accustomed to tennis. Here were two great proponents of the game, perhaps two of the greatest, slugging away at each other for 4 hours and 23 minutes. And in the end someone had to lose.

There was no doubting the passions that each brought to the tournament, and their commitment to win. And in the end, tragically, one had to lose. And there was that incredible scene of the past champion bawling away like a baby on the podium in full view of a globalized television audience of perhaps millions. It wasn't easy for him to lose. And there was that incredible scene of these two grown, beefy men, sweaty from their herculean effort, with their arms around each other, almost snuggling up like lovers. No hint of homophobia there.

And most beautifully, in that vital moment, when one had to give way to the other, ....when a champion had to step aside for a successor, there was grace and sportsmanship like never seen before in any other sporting occasion.

We have been treated of late to so much childish, petulant and temperamental behaviour by sporting stars. Me first, and damn the rest! But here was sport at her best.

Two real champions.

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