Djokovic lauds American Smyczek's sportsmanship

Thu Jan 22, 2015 2:17am EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Novak Djokovic praised American Tim Smyczek's act of sportsmanship in his second round marathon against Rafa Nadal as "greater than sport itself" at the Australian Open on Thursday.

Qualifier Smyczek lost the five-setter against a sickly Nadal at Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday but won admirers for allowing the Spaniard to repeat a first serve when serving for the match at 30-0 in the fifth set.

Nadal had served up a fault after a spectator had yelled out during his ball toss, but made the most of his second chance with a serve that Smyczek returned into the net, bringing three match-points.

Smyczek's gesture was warmly applauded by Nadal and Djokovic made it clear how impressed he was after destroying Russian Andrey Kuznetsov 6-0 6-1 6-4 to reach the third round on Thursday.

"I've seen actually the great gentleman gesture and sportsmanship from Smyczek in the last game," Djokovic told reporters at Melbourne Park.

"I think that's something that people should talk about.

"This is something that is not very common in the sport today, you know, where media and people generally emphasize on the rivalries, feisty, aggressive kind of approach to matches.

"It's nice to have something that is greater than sport itself, you know, the sportsmanship and fair play."   Continued...

Novak Djokovic of Serbia hits a return to Andrey Kuznetsov of Russia during their men's singles second round match at the Australian Open 2015 tennis tournament in Melbourne January 22, 2015. REUTERS/Issei Kato