Football can learn from sportsmanship of Wimbledon finalists – Willstrop

Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.
Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.
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Fortunately some of the poisonous elements of football were somewhat cancelled out last week by the world’s best tennis players who not only produced high quality sport but did so without the slightest intimation of foul play.

Over the two weeks of Wimbledon I can remember few false moves – the screeching of certain players mid ball-strike aside – whereas in football, fouls are played for, absurd diving is regularly substantiated by brainwashed commentators, referees are insulted, and players are bitten as a matter of course. Still it’s difficult to fathom why we were all so surprised about the Suarez incident. Did it justify worldwide outcry, and is it really that much worse than the filth which pollutes the game on a daily basis?

As a timely and far-contrasting statement Novak Djokovic made a gesture of sportsmanship in his match against Radek Stepanek, by conceding a point. His final against Roger Federer could not have been a better example of a high-class sporting contest played with aggression, respect and flair.

Maybe I’m old fashioned, but this is the sort of sporting contest kids would do well to watch, even if it barely offsets the impact of Suarez’s misdemeanours.

Also worthy of a mention was Eugenie Bouchard’s attitude in defeat to Petra Kvitova in the women’s final. Just imagine for a moment these athletes biting anyone during a competition. Unthinkable is the word.

Thomas Christiansen.

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