From my column on AOL Fanhouse
We love winners. They are perfect. They are heroic. They are beautiful. They are special. By now, a couple of days have passed since Rafael Nadal, winner, crushed his first-round opponent at the Australian Open, whoever that was.
The other guy, the loser, didn’t win one game, but that doesn’t explain how bad it was. He couldn’t even keep the ball in play for more than two shots, and the analysts on ESPN2 were openly questioning his motives.
So this is in defense of the biggest loser of the tournament, Marcos Daniel of Brazil, the only guy who couldn’t manage to win even one game. No, that’s wrong. It’s not just in his defense. It’s a tribute to Daniel.
He served as the prime example of what tennis is all about, just as much as Nadal did.
It’s not in our culture to find a blowout loss to be heroic, but that’s what I saw.
“Marcos Daniel of Brazil … being treated by the trainer,” said Chris Fowler, ESPN analyst, after Nadal won the first set, 6-0, in 19 minutes. “They’re wrapping tape around his knee, but he may just be biding time or making an excuse.”
A few minutes later, Patrick McEnroe, in the booth with Fowler, said this: “If this guy was injured coming in, then he’s obviously just out there to get a paycheck, which is not what you like to see.”
Obviously? Continue reading