• Sumo

By Ken Reed

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal delivered a classic this weekend.

I’m speaking about the post-match interviews, not the match itself (although the match itself might qualify as a “classic” as well).

The interviews after the five-set match were sportsmanship at its finest. Two great champions and long-time rivals (Federer now has 18 Grand Slam titles and Nadal 14) provided outstanding examples of how to win and lose with grace.

First up, Rafa:

“Congratulations to Roger and all his team. It is amazing how he is playing after all this time away from the tour. Congrats, I am very happy for you.”

Then Roger:

“Tennis is a tough sport. There’s no draws but if there was I’d be happy to share it with Rafa tonight.”

There were many more gracious comments from both of them after the nearly four-hour duel Down Under. The two tennis kings sincerely respect and like each other. Federer attended the opening of Nadal’s tennis academy late last year and they help each other out with each other’s charitable events.

The outstanding sportsmanship was visible during the match as well, as each player quietly applauded great shots by the other.

Both Nadal and Federer unexpectedly made the final (Nadal was seeded #9 and Federer #17) due to injury-filled campaigns last year. But on this day, they both played vintage tennis and displayed mental toughness, outstanding shotmaking, tremendous physical conditioning and a strong will to win.

It was an unforgettable match, especially because of the sportsmanship displayed at the end.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans

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