In less than 24 hours, Rafael Nadal and David Haye gave us great examples on the right and wrong way to lose on the highest stages of sport. One, a tennis player from Spain, lost with class and humility. The other, a boxer from England, lost with excuses and boorishness.
Just a few minutes after relinquishing his Wimbledon title to Serbia’s Novak Djokovic, Nadal was interviewed on Centre Court at the All-England club. He began with these remarks: “First of all, congratulations to Novak and his team for the victory of today and for his amazing season. Well done.”
Haye lost his World Boxing Association heavyweight title to Wladimir Klitschko, giving up the belt to the big Ukrainian after being beaten in a lopsided, 12-round unanimous decision in Hamburg, Germany. At the post-fight news conference, Haye opened with these comments:
“A majority of the reason (I lost), and I hate when boxers make excuses after fights – it makes me sick – but I broke my toe three weeks ago and there was no way I was going to pull out of this fight.”
Haye did not mention the injury in the build-up to the fight, saying he was in the best shape of his life. Veteran boxing promoter Frank Warren described Haye as “a crybaby,” Klitschko called him “a sore loser” and fans and experts alike said Haye should have either shut up about the injury or withdrawn from the bout.