Winning or losing is part of any game, in fact we can say that it is part of life for at every stage we encounter situations where we have to compete with the rivals. In any competition there are several participants, who get eliminated in phases leaving only a handful in the final round to compete which ultimately culminates in one winner. It is easy for the champion to receive the award joyously but the runner-up often needs to overcome the emotions and put up a brave front, and say a few words of appreciation for the victor instead of getting buried in the maze of ‘ifs and buts’. It is rightly said that defeat is a greater test of character than victory. Being graceful in defeat is a virtue.
Last Saturday the world was glued to watching the US Open women’s singles final featuring Serena Williams of US, the winner of 23 Grand Slam titles, and Naomi Osaka of Japan who was aspiring for her first Grand Slam victory. Williams was aspiring to win the contest to be tied with the all-time great Margaret Court of Australia who had won 24 such titles before retiring in 1977. But that was not to be!
Williams lost the first set 6-2 and the writing on the wall seemed to be clear to her and as the second set progressed it became difficult for her to digest that she was being outplayed by a novice, who was barely a 2-year-old child when Williams had won her first Grand Slam title in US way back in 1999, and she began losing her cool. She was called for receiving on field advice from her coach and in disgust she broke her racket, and even worse she entered into a verbal duel with chair umpire calling him a thief for stealing a point, making her forfeit the game and eventually she lost the set and handed over straight victory to her rival 6-2, 6-4.
But why was the US crowd booing during the presentation ceremony when Osaka was handed over the winner’s trophy? The historic moment has devalued the Americans. At the same time it has exalted Osaka, who while accepting the trophy with a faint smile thanked the pro-Williams crowd for watching the game and said that she felt sorry that the match had to end that way as the spectators wanted Williams to win and enter the record books. She has taught everyone how to be composed and humble even in victory.
The most disgusting thing after the match was Williams raking the sexism remark that she is targeted for being a woman. Thankfully, she did not play the racism card.