Rafael Nadal Shows Proper Sportsmanship, Gives Andy Murray Point on Serve

Our culture is one where there is a win-at-all-costs focus, regardless if it’s in the business arena, education field, or in athletics. It’s unfortunate that honesty and sportsmanship aren’t valued more heavily, but that’s a moral debate for another time. The point is that very few athletes will point out a bad call when they should, if it means losing.

Rafael Nadal is different from most athletes.

As Busted Racquet pointed out, Nadal overruled a line judge during his semifinal match against Andy Murray at the French Open.

Murray was serving to start the second set and he had the advantage. His first serve was called long, but Nadal went up to check the spot, saw that it was good and walked to the side of the court to take a rest before the next game. The concession that the serve was in gave Murray the game and the 1-0 lead in the second set. Nadal ended up winning the match, so it’s not as if being honest hurt him. It’s too bad more players don’t feel the same way; what honor is there in winning if you know you didn’t earn it?

Busted Racquet also points out that Novak Djokovic did the same thing in his semifinal match against Roger Federer. Novak lost his match, but he did the right thing. If all players called things honestly, there wouldn’t be as much of a need for judges. Someone like Justine Hennin should take note.

Around The Web

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3RMYJPM3ZNF3J2XUNLUCBGFINM Anonymous

    how about del potro when he won the us open. hawkeye showed that the ball was long but del potro insisted on a replay of the point. he lost my support after that

  • Gene

    This is hardly worthy of an article.  The advantage of playing on clay is that it leaves a clear mark.  If you watched more tennis, you would see the Nadal incident repeated ten times a day in the early rounds of a tournament, by both men and women.  It is the rule, not the exception. 

    However, the best example of good sportsmanship under this scenario occurred in the 1982 French Open when Joe Clerc hit a ball which was was called long by the linesman and umpire on Mats Wilander’s match point. Clerc begged the umpire to look at the mark, but he refused.  Wilander gave the point to Clerc and remarked that the shot was a clean winner and he did not want to win a match like that.

    While Henin’s incident occurred more recently, the most famous incident on this issue involving bad sportsmanship took place years ago, in the 1977 US Open, which was then played on Har Tru, a type of clay, when that paragon of good sportsmanship, Jimmy Connors, ran to the other side of the court and erased a mark with his foot so that the umpire could not overturn the call which had gone against his opponent, Corrado Barazzuti.

  • http://larrybrownsports.com Larry Brown

    I said it happened with Djokovic too. Not all players do that though. What about Schiavone in the finals? The ball was clearly in and she disagreed. Not everyone is honest about it, and like you pointed out with Connors, some try to cover it up.

  • Gene

     In your article, you said that Nadal was different than most athletes.  The point is that he is the rule and not the exception.  That is the reason I wrote that his action was decent and right, but not noteworthy.  I did not comment on Schiavone, but, as you pointed out,  her behavior obviously hurt her more than Li.

  • http://larrybrownsports.com Larry Brown

    I’ve seen a lot of cheating players before, I’m not sure so many would just walk off the court without even needing the umpire to come out.

  • Gene

    You haven’t watched that much clay court tennis.