QUOTE OF THE WEEK - Week #2 May 9, 2005
In the third round of the Masters Series Italian Open, Andy Roddick was playing Spain’s Fernando Verdasco. Roddick was up 7-6, 5-4 with three match points against Verdasco’s serve. Verdasco hit a second serve that the umpire called out, Roddick in a display of good sportsmanship over-ruled it and they replayed the point. Verdasco went on the win the next few points and the match.
Roddick said “It was in, I don’t think what I did was extraordinary. The referee would have called it in. I just saved him a trip (down his chair). Luck just wasn’t on my side today.”
Verdasco replied “I have to thank him, he’s a great sportsman. He probably thought it wouldn’t change the match. But that gave me a chance to win. That’s tennis.”
Source: www.masters-series.com web-site
Last year tennis pro Jennifer Capriatti was in Roddick’s situation when a ball that was clearly an inch inside the line was called out by the linesman and not overruled by the chair umpire. Capriatti was awarded the point, went on to win the match, and was nonplussed when she was asked about it by a sports caster after the match. She said “that’s the game…some calls go your way, some don’t and it all evens out in the end.” Whether this is true or not, what she did was dishonest. She knew the ball was in and she took the point anyway! Unfortunately Capriatti’s stance is far more typical for athletes in sports than Andy Roddick’s. The fact that he over-ruled the linesman’s call himself at a crucial point in the match and refused to take a point that wasn’t his not only shows integrity and honesty, but it also demonstrates something about Roddick’s character. The man is a class act! Furthermore, Roddick understands something about competition that far too many athletes don’t: Winning isn’t the only thing. Winning isn’t everything, it’s HOW you win that really counts! Roddick understands that the outcome of a match should never be so important to you that it compromises your values, ethics and morality. If you have to knowingly or passively cheat to win, then you are lying to yourself about your “victory.” Your “win” is hollow and empty and doesn’t mean much, even if you get to take that first place trophy home with you. Do you have the strength of character and integrity to compete like Roddick? Do you have the ability to do what’s right even if you’re getting pressure from teammates or coaches to do the opposite? Do the right thing! Keep your game in perspective. Remember, it’s just a game!