Serena Williams was forced to retire from a match after sustaining a back injury during the Rogers Cup Final but her opponent, Bianca Andreescu, embraced her after the match in a glorious display of respect and sportsmanship.
Williams looked distraught as she sat on the sidelines in tears, the injury effectively handing the title to the 19-year-old Canadian.
Andreescu, with a wisdom well beyond her years, approached her hero and offered a hug before sitting at her feet like a disciple.
In the video footage, it is possible to make out the young Canadian sympathising with the sporting icon about the injustice of injuries before concluding, “I know everything about you.” She said:
Serena, you made me cry. I know how it is to pull out of tournaments, it’s not easy.
This wasn’t the way I expected to win. You are truly a champion.
I’ve watched you win so many times, you are truly a champion on and off the court.
A devastated Williams commented,
I’m sorry I couldn’t do it today. I tried. It’s been a tough year, but we’ll keep going.
The embrace had all the pathos of the one that closes The Shawshank Redemption and for that we should be grateful.