Friends, I’m hear to tell you tennis can be an emotional sport, and there’s nothing I like better than having a good cry during a tennis match.
To explain myself a little better, lets rewind to the 1995 Australian Open quarterfinal match between Pete Sampras (my all-time favorite player) and Jim Courier. Earlier that day, Pete’s coach, Tim Gullikson, was flown back to the US after suffering a stroke, which was later diagnosed as brain cancer and would ultimately claim his life. It was a tight match, Courier winning the first two sets 6-7, 6-7. Pete claims the third and fourth sets 6-3, and 6-4. At the beginning of the fifth set, a fan in the stand yells “Do it for your coach, Pete.” At this point, Pete loses his composure and breaks down in tears. Through his tears, he pounds out a couple of aces, and eventually wins the fifth set 6-3 and clinches the match. A classic moment in tennis history. For a quick summary of that match, here’s a nice video:
Fast forward to today…Steve Johnson is playing his second round match against a youngster, 20 year old, Borna Coric. Just weeks before the start of the French Open, Steve’s dad passed away in his sleep. At the urging of his family, Steve agreed to play at the French. His mom, sister and fiance are here as support. He battled to win this five set match, and after the last point, he dropped to his knees and burst into tears. Happy tears, exhausted tears, sad tears. We’ve all been there before…or at least I have. And the loss of a parent can be so raw, right below the surface, and you don’t know when or what will be the trigger that causes you to breakdown. Anyway, he continued to cry, even through the post-match interview. The first thing he said in the interview was “I miss my dad.” When asked how he is doing physically, after playing a long, exhausting five set match, he replied, “Physically, I’m OK. Emotionally, I’m a mess.” And with that, they wrapped up the interview and he left the court.
Meanwhile on the other side of the net, young and immature Borna Coric lost the match, and instead of paying respect to Steve while he eventually makes his way to the net to shake hands, he throws a tantrum and bangs his racquet into the red clay until it breaks. Even as he is walking towards the net to meet Steve, he hits his racquet into the ground and then swirls it over to his chair. Incredibly inappropriate, and just plain stupid. This is one of my biggest pet peeves in sport. Have some class and don’t throw a fit! I hope his coach uses this as a learning opportunity and tells Coric to have a little class on the court…OK?
Here is a nice story from Yahoo Sports on Steve’s win today:
Unfortunately for Steve Johnson, his third round opponent is Dominic Theim who has been unstoppable on the red clay this season. To you Stevie…good luck. My heart will be with you.