While tennis, along with cricket and golf, purports itself to be a gentleman’s game, past stars — notably Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe — have often belied that label. Last week, American tennis player Jack Sock restored some of the sport’s luster at the Hopman Cup in a match against Australia’s soon-to-be-retired Lleyton Hewitt.
Hewitt was preparing for a second serve after his first was called out, when Sock invited him to challenge the call. A dumbfounded Hewitt looked on, as the umpire went to the replay board and verified Sock’s observation that the serve was an ace.
Hewitt went on to win the match, but Sock won the respect of both his opponent and the crowd. He also got to see a kangaroo on his visit to Perth, which, by his estimation, made his trip Down Under a success.
A year ago, it was American Tim Smyczek who earned Rafael Nadal’s praise for his great sportsmanship in their round two match at the 2015 Australian Open. It must be something in the Aussie water that brings out the best in the Yanks.