Tennis Prose



Djokovic’s Sportsmanship Lauded By Steve Flink


By Scoop Malinowski

The adoring embrace by the heartbroken Novak Djokovic to his conqueror Stan Wawrinka at the end of the sensation Roland Garros final has had worldwide impact — but perhaps no one was more impressed by the classy gesture of sportsmanship than veteran author and journalist Steve Flink.

Wrote Flink in his column at…

“I have been covering tennis for more than forty years, and have been around the sport for half a century watching the world’s best players in their workplace. I have seen some exemplary sportsmanship from the likes of Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall, Stan Smith and Arthur Ashe, Stefan Edberg and Mats Wilander, Pete Sampras and Rafael Nadal. Among the women, no one was more gracious in defeat than Chrissie Evert. All of these champions understood that it is no difficult task to win honorably. Yet they knew that the larger and much tougher challenge is to move beyond themselves after losses and give the victors their due. Djokovic did that better than anyone I have ever witnessed in tennis the other day in Paris. He did it so naturally and genuinely that his authenticity simply could not be questioned.”

Beautiful to see Djokovic’s impeccable display of gracious sportsmanship, in such an excruciatingly painful moment, so nicely written by such a respected tennis media figure as International Tennis Hall of Fame inductee Steve Flink.

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  • EddietheEagle · June 16, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    Didn’t see much of that lauded sportmanship when Djokovic faked his medical timeout to disrupt Murray and the momentum of the match. It’s easy to act graciously in defeat, less so when you’re losing and desperate. True character shows itself during those moments too.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 16, 2015 at 8:20 pm

    Eddie, I respectfully disagree. Djokovic has shown grace in losing a lot of tough matches, to Fed, Rafa, Murray at US Open, I think he’s the best at being a gracious loser, if it’s all for show, so be it, but he does make the effort and like Flink says, does as nice a job at it as any modern player we’ve seen. It was interesting that Flink omitted Fed’s name on his list of most gracious losers.

  • EddietheEagle · June 18, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    Sportsmanship embraces what you do in the heat of battle, far more so than how you deal with the aftermath.

  • Bryan · June 19, 2015 at 2:16 am

    I think there was more sympathy for Djokovic losing at the FO than before. First, because the mass of Nadal fans weren’t inthe house. Second, it seemed Djokovic’s year was set and Wawrinka came out of nowhere and played above himself. The winners Stan was blasting were so frequent that he can’t replicate the performance.

    Djokovic was indeed classy in defeat, but then again most of these players are quite gracious after losing.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 19, 2015 at 9:25 am

    Yeah but this was the year Djokovic was the big favorite, especially after beating Rafa. He was so close, almost two sets to love up just one set away, then Stan turned into Superman. All these FO losses in the last four years have been heartbreaking for Djokovic, and each one is more painful. Next year and beyond you never know, an injury, a slump, anything can happen. Djokovic endured this loss with class, I’m sure he gained millions of new fans. I think this loss and how he handled it will earn him more respect than any of his victories.

  • EddietheEagle · June 19, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    Djokovic admirers may enjoy a read of this:-

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 19, 2015 at 8:02 pm

    Thanks Eddie, that’s one of the best features I ever read about Djokovic The Great.

  • Gaurang · June 21, 2015 at 3:55 am

    Thanks Eddie for the article.

    Btw, Dan, Scoop — Fratangelo reached a Challenger final and jumped in rankings to 122. I think he will go into the top 100 in a matter of weeks or a few months. He is still 21, and he has some time to improve and see how far he can go. Would be great to have one more guy in the top 100 — I think he will be stable there more or less.

  • Gaurang · June 21, 2015 at 3:57 am

    Ah he actually has reached #116 on the live rankings by gaining a few more points this week. Getting close to top 100.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 21, 2015 at 9:09 am

    Fratangelo can be another Smyczek, grinding it out for years and then suddenly popping into the top hundred or even 50 in his mid 20s. BF obviously has something special about him, to win the FO juniors is a rare achievement. Plus he’s sticking with it and he’s making progress, the self belief is there. BTW Evan King of Chicago and Michigan U just won a Futures in Zimbabwe, after quitting tennis for a while, but then his g/f broke up with him and he decided to try again. I hit with a NJ coach who is friends of the family so he has the inside scoop. Evan King is back in the ATP hunt.



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