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Thursday, December 09, 2021

Are serial-winners sore losers?

Roger Federer,the one with elegant moves and the unflappable demeanour,was breaking down in tears.

Written by Aabha Rathee | New Delhi |
April 20, 2009 11:37:07 am

For everyone who sat up mesmerised as Rafael Nadal announced his hold over another new surface at this year’s Australian Open,the post-match moments stood out. Roger Federer,the one with the elegant moves and the unflappable demeanour,was breaking down in tears that just wouldn’t stop flowing. He cried again as he tried to speak,needing time off before he could face up to the world that had seen him go down in another Grand Slam final.

More recently,the angst-ridden,racket-breaking self of Federer’s teenage years came back to haunt the former world No 1 as he was humbled by Novak Djokovic in the semi-final in Miami earlier this month. He was clearly frustrated,with another loss,with the growing competition,with the fact that his unbeatable persona was flimsier with each passing day as the world No 2.

About a week later,at the Masters,the august golf tournament for purists,bad blood simmered as the world’s two best golfers played not against each other,not even for the title realistically. Neither Tiger Woods,nor Phil Mickelson was ever closer than two shots to the lead,but the Sunday afternoon that ended with Argentine Angel Cabrera smiling away in the green jersey,also saw the iconic Woods anything but gracious in defeat.

He reportedly stormed off the course,saying the day had been “terrible”. Later,speaking to journalists,Woods definitely did not rank his fellow competitors very highly when he said he’d “almost won” the tournament with a “Band-Aid swing”. When asked how it was like to play with Mickelson,Woods said he had just gone about his business”.

Not too long ago in Formula One,Michael Schumacher,great winner,didn’t leave a lot of scope for friendships as he went around collecting GP wins and racing records.

So here’s my question: Is it a pre-requisite for a runaway world champion to be a sore loser?

Is it part of the ‘Essential Requirements’ list? How badly would it hurt for a serial-winner to behave more gracefully in a loss?

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