Federer and Smith show their class as sportsmen
Roger Federer applauds his performance and the fans at Wimbledon (Image: AP)
In a magnificent sporting bonanza on television last night with Origin 3, Wimbledon, and the Tour de France, two stood out – Roger Federer and Cameron Smith.
Switzerland’s favourite son Federer, seeking a record equalling seventh Wimbledon men’s singles crown, and reaching his eighth semi-final at the home of tennis, demolished Mikhail Youzhny 6-1 6-2 6-2 in 92 minutes, crunching 25 winners to just 13 unforced errors.
But in his post-match interview Federer spent most of it praising Youzhny, and thanking the celebrities for watching him play.
Of Youzhny, having beaten the Russian all 14 times they have met – “He hadn’t played on centre court at Wimbledon before so it was a big occasion for him.
“He had a great tournament, and I would like to congratulate him, it was obviously a tough situation out there, he was down in all three sets rather quickly, so it was difficult for him. But I’m extremely happy to be back in the semi-finals at Wimbledon”.
Of the celebrities that included Prince William and his wife Kate, Prince Harry, Rod Laver, Steffi Graf, Andre Agassi, and Sir Michael Parkinson to name a few, Federer said, “It lifts your game when royalty shows up and other legends of the game come and see you play, it’s inspiring, and a thrill for the game of tennis.
“I’m happy they all came and supported me, it was very very special”.
Next up a titanic clash with world number one Novak Djokovic for a place in the final – Federer’s eighth, Djokovic’s second.
Their head-to-head: Federer 14-12.
Like Federer, Queensland Origin captain Cameron Smith is a class act on and off the rugby league field. His leadership and general play on it, his sportsmanship off it.
Last night at Suncorp with a chockers 52,437 in the stands, he was every bit the General.
When the Maroons were under the pump in the first 15 minutes with NSW leading 8-nil, it was Smith who rallied his troops so effectively the Maroons led 16-8 at the 46th minute.
In the 55th minute, with NSW back in game at 18-14, Smith made a 40 metre bust, selling three dummies, that almost led to a Greg Inglis try. But the bust had the Maroons on the attack.
At 20-20 and five minutes to go, it was Smith’s pin-point pass to Cooper Cronk to kick his monster 40 metre drop goal that landed over the dead-ball line for the nail-biting 21-20 victory and a record seventh successive series.
Smith had three times proved Napoleon Bonaparte’s famous quote – “Leaders are dealers in hope”.
At the presentation, Smith’s first words were to NSW – “I’d like to thank Ricky Stuart, Paul Gallen, and the NSW side for a great series boys.
“You played some tremendous football, you are a great football team, and I want to thank you very much”.
But there are always two sides to the coin.
Boos from the Maroon faithful that had earlier given NSW begrudging, almost mute, applause when asked by Channel Nine MC Ken Sutcliffe and player-of-the series, Queenslander Nate Myles, to salute NSW for a great series.
Let’s have more Roger Federer’s and Cameron Smith’s – and stuff the Suncorp faithful. Being faithful and fair usually go together, if you are a genuine supporter, especially as there were only five points the difference over three games – Queensland 51, NSW 46.
Suncorp is the obvious exception. They don’t realise what they are missing for full enjoyment from a simply magnificent series.
It takes two to tango.
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Video produced by Riordan Lee.