Although sport is based on competition, even here there are situations where the advantage is the rejection of benefits resulting from mistakes unnoticed by the referee or player. We call it fair play. If someone asked us who deserves the title of the most beautiful fair-play gesture this year, we would certainly point to Rohan Bopanna in the final of the US Open doubles tennis tournament.
In our opinion, this attitude of the player deserves to be hailed as the most beautiful fair-play gesture of 2023. During the last set of the US Open doubles final, the tennis player admitted to playing unfairly, although the referee did not notice it and insisted on giving the point awarded to his opponents.
An unusual situation occurred during the US Open doubles final between Rajeev Ram-Joe Salisbury and Rohan Bopanna-Matthew Ebden. At a key moment in the last set of the match, when the score was 4-2 for the Ram-Salisbury pair, Bopanna and Ebden scored an important point, which resulted in a draw of 15-15 and a chance to return to the fight for victory, because the score was 1-1 in sets. Unfortunately, it turned out that they gained this point unfairly. Although unnoticed by the referee, Bopanna raised the issue and admitted to the foul play. Bopanna raised his hand and started pointing to his shoulder. Then he started to explain to the referee that the ball touched him, so the point should go to the opponents.
– Do you want to give them a point? – asked the astonished judge. The Indian once again confirmed that he had touched the ball. This way, instead of 15:15, it became 0:30 for the opponents.
Ramen and Salisbury ultimately won the match and the US Open title, but what is most talked about at the moment is the extraordinary act of honesty and fair-play shown by the losing Bopanna and his doubles partner, who immediately supported Bopanna’s decision to confess and also signaled that the ball was touched with the arm.
Such things happen very rarely in sports. In our opinion, this is the most beautiful gesture of fair-play in tennis this season.