Editor’s blog: Graceful collapse of a colossus

I’d give anything to be seriously good at tennis. It’s the one game I can play with a small degree of skill, although a half-way decent topspin backhand is always top of my wish-list.

So yesterday afternoon’s Men’s Final at Wimbledon was a treat beyond one’s dreams. Quite apart from the fact that their game was one of the most extraordinary sporting battles any of us has ever witnessed, what struck me was the grace of the pair of them as they slugged it out on Centre Court in the near-darkness, like a pair of punch-drunk middleweights (watched by 13m people on the BBC, apparently).

These days professional sportspeople are often a grim bunch. They frequently display vanity, greed, bad manners, and poor behaviour both on and off the field. Football is the worst culprit – and the ludicrous sums of money that have been pumped into the game have done nothing whatsoever to improve the characters of those who play it at the highest level. If you chuck 90,000-a-week at an ill-prepared and immature 18 year old, what do you expect?

By contrast, Federer and Nadal were a superb example: both utterly determined and possessed of barely credible levels of skill. When two truly great players both reach peaks at the same time, the result is a privilege to behold. As Simon Barnes says in The Times, ‘At this ineffable level of sport, it’s time to pack away the superlatives and just give thanks for bloody sport; for these daft games we watch that produce such extraordinary things and bring us such extraordinary people.’

But what topped it off for me was the fact that, when the fifth set was won, you could see the pain that Nadal felt on toppling the man who has stood at the summit of the game for the last half decade like a Colossus.

It’s a message that shouldn’t be lost on business. Just because you are at the top of your game and have the world at your feet, a bit of humility and a touch of generosity of spirit does not go amiss.

In today’s bulletin:
MT celebrates young women in business
Family battle brewing at Anheuser-Busch
Rose facing thorny reception at M&S AGM
Editor’s blog: Graceful collapse of a colossus
Tax: is simple better than stable?

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    You have said it! 2 great ‘sportsmen’ in every sense that the word implies.

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    Yes I agree was a fantastic match and they both wonderful ambassadors for the sport. However it did make mockery of the fact that women get the same prize money for a much shorter game. It’s about time they played 5 sets too if the same prize money is at stake. Also when will MT start celebrating young men in business?