In a show of sportsmanship rarely seen at the professional level, especially at a crucial moment in one of sports' biggest events, Novak Djokovic gave his opponent a critical point during his second-round match at Wimbledon.
The moment came late in the fourth set with Djokovic and Radek Stepanek tied 5-5 and Djokovic leading 2-1 in sets. Djokovic was one point from going up 6-5 in the set when a ball hit deep by Stepanek was ruled out just before Djoker hit the ball into the net.
Stepanek, who had been playing shots deep near the line all match, was immediately in disbelief.
He emphatically challenged the call.
The replay system showed that the ball was indeed in, much to the delight of the crowd looking for a fifth set.
But here is where things get tricky. Since the call was made in a spot where Djokovic could have played the ball, the umpire called for a replay of the point. The thinking is that the call could have affected Djokovic's ability to make a play.
Stepanek appeared to question the decision but didn't put up much of an argument seemingly accepting of the decision.
But at this point, Djokovic grabbed the attention of the umpire and conceded the point, basically admitting that he would not have been able to return the shot. The umpire accepted this and changed his own call, giving the point to Stepanek and returning the game to deuce.
Stepanek, along with the crowd, cheered the display of sportsmanship. Djokovic did go on to win the game, the set, and the match. But Stepanek had a big hug for Djokovic after the match.
Here is the entire sequence.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Novak Djokovic
- Radek Stepanek