The All England Club Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club hosts the Wimbledon Championships, the only Grass Grand Slam Tennis event and the one with the most rules and yet it is the one championship that all Tennis professionals want to win.
I have always enjoyed Wimbledon both as I enjoy tennis and I like the very British event that it is. It conjures images of Tennis Whites, Strawberries and Cream, exceptionally smart dressed lines judges and well drilled ballboys and ballgirls. I think of Sportsmanship.
It is a great Gentlemen’s (and Ladies’) game. It is one of skill, sportsmanship and history. It is generally full of sportsmen of great character, such as Roger Federer (9 times winner of the Stefan Edberg ATP Sportsmanship Award), Novak Djokovic and more. These men are examples of good behaviour and grace with fans and competitors alike, which can be taken across the whole of sport. Yes, there are other sports that display exemplary sportsmanship across the whole spectrum, though few of such high profile and with such consistency over both time and levels of the sport. There are always bad apples and ‘characters’ through the sport, but these are few and far between.
We are always talking here at PGHQ about how there are few examples for Young Men to aspire to in the world of sport, and then Wimbledon comes along and you watch a whole host of examples but Novac Djokovic, at it again, gives a point to Redak Stephanek in his 2nd round match.
There is another big sporting event going on at the moment and they could learn thing or two from Wimbledon and the players there. In this era of media scrutiny and professionalism in sport, there should be high standards and the people who play sport should live these standards, if not exceed them. They should be examples to young players of the sport, not only in skill and dedication but in sportsmanship and behaviour. It is not just about winning, but doing so as person who can hold their head up high and say “I played with respect for my opponent(s) and the game itself”.
I hope the second week of Wimbledon we see some fantastic tennis and great sportsmanship. I am sure we will and maybe one of these chaps will make this year’s Perfect Gentleman of the Year 2014.
As a footnote, Wimbledon and Tennis has played a strange part of my life, it has involved me with girlfriends, got me involved with Charity, had some crazy experiences and all because of a game that I can’t even play. Those tales are for another piece, in the meantime enjoy Wimbledon.