On Sunday Andy Murray won the men’s singles final at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships. It was a thrilling final which our family watched together. At the end of the match, the losing player Novak Djokovic was interviewed live on TV and in front of 20,000 or so spectators.
What he said was quite incredible and made even more impressive because it was being watched by millions of TV viewers. You can see the interview here.
This is what he said . . .
Congratulations to Andy. He absolutely deserved this win. You played incredible tennis.
Congratulations to his team and to all of you across the country. Well done.
I’m aware of the pressure Andy is under and there is a lot of expectation on him. I gave it my all. It was an absolute pleasure and honour to be a part of this final. Thankyou.
That is magnanimity in action. To be generous in his praise having just lost the match. That takes some doing and it is something you don’t tend to see much of. However, I was delighted to see such a response – and being given such a big, public platform. I was also delighted the children got to see it too as it led to a conversation about being graceful in defeat.
Being magnanimous is a great skill and one we should all strive to put into action. It serves us all well. As English poet and polemicist John Milton said of its role in education:
I call a complete and generous education that which fits a man to perform justly, skilfully and magnanimously all the offices, public and private, of peace and war.