By Ken Reed
Too often, big-time college sports and professional sports seem to be driven by nothing more than win-at-all-costs and profit-at-all-costs ethos.
That’s why it’s so refreshing to see examples of great sportsmanship like we did last week at the French Open when Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro consoled his opponent, Spain’s Nicolas Almagro, after a knee injury forced Almagro to retire.
Del Potro walked over to his opponent’s side of the court and hugged Almagro, who was devastated about having to concede the match and depart the French Open. Del Potro called for water for his opponent and then helped Almagro leave the court. He then sat on the sideline bench with Almagro to try and comfort him emotionally. Del Potro then helped Almagro pack his tennis bag and walked off the court to the locker room with him. The crowd gave both men a rousing ovation.
The two men were tied one set each and 1-1 in the third at the time of Almagro’s injury.
“I tried to — I don’t know — tried to find good words for that moment,” said Del Potro.
“I told him to try to be calm. And I told him to think about his family, his baby. And sometimes the heart is first than the tennis match or the tennis life.”
Sport at its best.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of FansPrint
- League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.