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Sunday, February 1, 2009

An Instant Classic!

(roger federer and rafael nadal, and nadal consoles federer at net)

The greatest rivalry in sports continued earlier today as Roger Federer met Rafael Nadal in the finals of the Australian Open. Despite Nadal's recent domination of Federer on grass and clay, no one really thought Nadal could defeat Federer in a hard court final. But Nadal proved, once again, that we underestimate his talent, and Federer also proved, once again, that in a tight match, he seems unable to adjust his game and also take charge of his emotions. It was a classic five-set match, with Nadal taking the final set 6-2 while Federer crumbled under the pressure.

But the greatest drama came during the awards presentation. As Federer stepped to the microphone to speak, he broke down and starting crying. Federer is a great champion, unaccustomed to losing, and he has the added pressure of trying to break Pete Sampras' all-time record of 14 Grand Slam Titles. If Federer had won today, it would have been his 14th.

And then, in one of the classiest moves we've ever seen in sport, Nadal went over, put his arm around Federer, nuzzled his face, whispered in his ear, and they smiled. Wow. What a moment. Take a lesson, kids, these two athletes are not only two of the greatest athletes of all time, in any sport, but also embued with a level of class and grace of which most other professional athletes could only dream.

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