Zinedine Zidane Tweeted: “Grown men do cry”. Just because you happen to be a professional athlete does not mean you don’t have emotions and feelings.
There was a time when one hardly ever saw athletes breaking down emotionally and that made sport cold, especially when we know all those individuals on a court or a field or a course are human beings just like you and me. There should be nothing embarrassing about breaking down in public, it is definitely not a sign of weakness.
The matter came to light again the other day when Andy Murray broke down and was sobbing after winning his match against Marius Copil 7-6 in the third in Washington D.C. which put him in the quarterfinals. The Zidane Tweet followed pictures of Andy crying.
He had toiled and sweated to get to that stage of the tournament having only played three matches before over the last twelve months. Those previous three matches were on grass – he lost his first match back at The Queen’s Club and then won one and lost the next at Eastbourne.
The Scot has been through a lot over the last year with his hip issue. It resulted in surgery last January in Melbourne while the Australian Open was happening.
Mr. Murray has worked hard to get himself back on court to be able to return to what he cherishes, and that is to play tennis, so when he rallied back to win against Copil finishing at about 3am, it hit home. Especially after also playing three sets against Mackenzie McDonald in the first round and then getting even more charged up to overcome the new British No.1 Kyle Edmund in the next round. Mr. Edmund had beaten Mr. Murray in Eastbourne just before Wimbledon.
The emotion that can be on display shows how much results mean to the individual. In Mr. Murray’s case, he didn’t even know he would make it back after the injury and surgery.
His Washington run left him so mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted that he had to pull out of his quarterfinal match against Alex de Minaur.
Still, there has been criticism about Mr. Murray’s emotion and which has come from people who have no clue whatsoever about what an individual has been through. He was referred to as being pampered and spoilt. That is such rubbish and such an insult.
Why should a male athlete crying be any different to a female athlete crying?
Anyone who slams an athlete for crying after a win or a loss needs to just think about it. Think about where they have been and where they have reached. Think about the physical and mental strength it has taken to be in that position. Just because they are athletes does not make them immune to the emotional tides.
That emotional is a beautiful thing and should never ever be criticised or ridiculed. If it ever stops, then sport will lose so much of its watchability. People, fans, watch sport for the excitement but they equally watch it for the emotion and human element.
The likes of Mr. Murray, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams and anyone else, right down to John Doe playing weekend competition tennis or football, has blood flowing through their veins, they have a heart and they have a head and if they are genuine they have poured their heart and soul into what they are doing.
Making a mockery of an athlete crying, in my view, only serves to make the critic heartless and ignorant.