About four months back I was in Bangalore for an important official assignment. Over the weekend, I was watching the finals of first Grand Slam event of 2012, the Australian open. What a match it was.
Definitely, greatest that I had ever watched, 7 hr marathon, longest ever grand slam final
It was not the sublime tennis, long rallies, mental toughness but the depth of the human soul, respect for a fellow champion that touched me.
For the record, Nadal lost a classic to Djokovic, the match went the complete five set distance and will, undoubtedly, be a manual for aspiring tennis players the world over.
But that is that. While I enjoyed the marathon 7 hr epic with fortunes tilting either ways during the course, it was the behavior of the two champions at the presentation ceremony that was most defining.
As Nadal, carrying his runner up shield, tried to control his tears, the pain on the face of Djokovic was there for all to see. Djokovic while accepting the champion’s trophy said, “I am playing against one of the greatest player ever ….. I think it’s just a matter of luck in some moments…..” It seemed that he was almost apologetic on his win, was more in pain because of opponent’s loss.
That to me was the greatness of the human spirit. Mutual recognition of the effort, the hours of training that make their routine, day after day. Nadal and Djokovic are two champions who on that stage showed their essential connectedness.
Their rivalry is already being hailed as one of the greatest ever in the game, but that did not stop Nadal from weeping openly at his loss. He was not afraid to show his wound to his rival, to tell him that all his sacrifices in preparing for the tournament had come to naught. He did not keep a brave face. And Djokovic not only saw the wound, he felt it.
A Sanskrit shloka says, “Just as the fruit laden tree bows low, so does the accomplished person in humility.” Before this, I had never heard of a champion apologizing to the defeated rival for his win. Djokvic did just that. He said sorry to Nadal at the post-match press conference and immediately after collecting the championship trophy. Nadal had done that two years back when he won against Federer.
Nadal & Djokovic both are in their mid 20’s. But they have the humility of the truly wise.
At such a tender age, how can one be so humble, so touched with other’s defeat instead of being overjoyed with his own success? May be, and at the risk of repeating myself I say, “Just as the fruit laden tree bows low, so does the accomplished person in humility”
What a lesson!! Only if I can practice it, only if I can mould my personality basis this