If there has been any moment in the Rio Olympics so far that epitomizes the level of sportsman spirit the Olympics stands for, it was the moment after Novak Djokovic lost to Juan Martin el Potro in the first round of Tennis today.
It was a big upset and the Argentine really played a brilliant match to outlast the World No 1. Both men were reduced to tears after the game and shared an emotional embrace, receiving a standing ovation from the entire crowd.
The emotion on display showed how much the tournament and representing one’s country meant to both players. It is indeed a rare sight, but a beautiful one nonetheless, to see such passion being displayed on the court. After the winning point both players approached the net for the traditional handshake and congratulations.
Del Potro spoke after his win, revealing what Novak had told him at the net.
“It's an amazing night for me, I didn't expect to win against Novak tonight ... but I played an amazing match. My forehand was great, my serve was OK and the atmosphere was great too. Amazing night for me. He's a friend on tour, he's a great champion on court and he's a great player. He told me some really kind words at the end. I appreciate it a lot.”
Djokovic might not have emerged victorious but his actions have earned him the status of a hero not only amongst his fans but the entire sporting world, to go down with such grace.
Novak is usually very tough to beat on hard court and has a stellar record, which makes Del Porto’s feat all the more incredible. After going out to Sam Querrey in the second round of Wimbledon, this comes as probably an even bigger upset.
The Serb still has an opportunity to win gold for his country in the men’s doubles, when he partners Nesta Zimonjic later in the tournament. Del Potro will be full of confidence after this game and might now be feared by the others as he progresses into the next round.