A man cried in front of a global television audience and somehow, incredibly, about a million years after men showing vulnerability/sadness/normality stopped being a newsworthy thing, it somehow got everybody in a lather.
The crying man in question was Marin Cilic, a likeable 28-year-old Croatian who was outclassed by Roger Federer in the Wimbledon final. Cilic had bad blisters. Really bad blisters. Those, and the fact he was on the wrong side of an increasingly lopsided scoreboard, caused some waterworks during the second set.
Cue an outpouring of comments from the unevolved:
There were others, but they don't really deserve airing.
Thankfully, there were also many comments on social media from those who understand that it's OK for men to be vulnerable.
Describing Cilic's tears as "awkward" & "hard to watch" says so much about sport, competition, masculinity & mental health. #WimbledonFinal— Julie Kelleher (@seoid) 16 de julho de 2017
For the record, Federer won the match 6-3, 6-1, 6-4, thereby becoming the oldest Wimbledon winner (at age 35) and its most successful ever male player (with eight titles).
Cilic had actually beaten Federer in a Grand Slam before. That was at the U.S. Open semi finals in 2014, en route to winning his only major trophy. The Croatian knew he could match the Swiss if he played his best tennis, so blisters aside, it was his utter disappointment at the failure of his own game which made him so upset.
He explained this eloquently in the post-match press conference, when he described the reason for his tears as:
"...Feeling that I cannot give my best game & my best tennis, especially at this stage of my career, at such a big match."
It was very, very difficult to deal with it. That was the only thing.
But, otherwise, it didn't hurt so much that it was putting me in tears. It was just that feeling that I wasn't able to give the best."
The Swiss actually let some tears flow himself after victory, especially after he sighted his four children in the stands.
Unsurprisingly, nobody thought Fed's tears were out of place. Tears of joy are fine for fellas, apparently. Tears of despair? Well, there are some that just can't cope with them.
Tennis fans will well remember how the world wept with Czech player Jana Novotna in 1993 when she famously cried on the Duchess of Kent's shoulder after blowing a huge lead in the Wimbledon final.
Real tennis fans will remember the 2017 men's final for the win of a great champion, and the dignified display of a valiant loser.
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