Monday, September 7, 2009

Losing the Point Winningly

One of the commentators on the live PSA feed from the Chicago US Open described Ramy Ashour as a guy who “plays with a smile on his face.” When you watch him play there is the feeling that he is having a good time out there and also that he understands he is privileged to be someone who inhabits the topmost rung of the game.

I’ve never met the man, but I’ve always liked him, and his reputation was cemented over the weekend in his finals match with his rival, Amr Shabana. The match was knotted at 2 apiece, but with the score 9-7 in the fifth game, Shabana ahead, a backhand drop shot was called up, which if true would have put Ashour just one point away. The truth was the shot was down, which Ashour told the referee. By so doing he was giving match ball to his opponent. He went on to lose the game and the match.

Ask yourself honestly if you would have given match ball to your opponent at your club--just a friendly match, not the club championship but just a friendly. A lot of people out there would probably hesitate, though I’m confident many would ultimately admit the truth. But for Ashour to fess up under such circumstances is a testament to him, and also the game.

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