In the cutthroat world of professional sport with so much at stake, there is still room for tremendous sportsmanship – as Tim Smyczek taught us at the Australian Open during his epic five-setter against superstar Rafael Nadal.
The American qualifier had put himself in a position for a major boilover, winning the second and third sets, before Nadal sent the match into a decider by prevailing in the fourth set.
Nadal was up 6-5 in the fifth set and serving for the match at 30-0 when a muppet in the crowd shouted during his ball toss, putting the Spaniard off and forcing a fault.
Smyczek then earned the admiration of the sporting world by calling for Nadal to replay his first serve. Nadal duly won the point and finished off the 6-2, 3-6, 6-7 (7-2), 6-3, 7-5 victory over the gallant Smyczek.
Nadal was full of praise for his vanquished opponent’s show of sportsmanship.
Smyczek’s class move was one of the many highlights.