In a rare moment of sportsmanship in a crucial moment at the professional level, American tennis player Jack Sock gave his opponent, Australian Lleyton Hewitt, a free point during their match at the Hopman Cup in Perth, an international competition competed by seven nations.
The moment came late in the first set with Hewitt trailing 5-4 and serving to stay in the match. Up 30-0, his first serve was ruled out. Despite the call going in his favour, and despite Hewitt not seeming fazed by the call at all, it is actually Sock who seems a little stunned that the ball was ruled out.
That’s when something strange happened.
Just as Hewitt is about to attempt his second serve, Sock can be heard saying, “that was in if you want to challenge it.”
The crowd, unsure of what to make of the situation, begins to laugh a little.
Meanwhile, the look on Hewitt’s face is utter confusion. He doesn’t seem to know what to make of this either.
Even the chair umpire seems confused, appearing to ask, “that was in?”
After a moment of confusion, Sock more emphatically told Hewitt to “challenge it!,” and then shrugged his shoulders.
Seemingly not sure what to do, Hewitt and the umpire had a brief exchange and Hewitt finally decided to challenge the call, much to the delight of the crowd.
The umpire relented and went to the challenge.
Sure enough, Sock was right. The ball was in.
The crowd erupted, just as much for their native son winning a point as for the American who helped make it happen.
The point was not without importance. Hewitt went on to win that game and the first set 7-5 and eventually beat Sock in straight sets, 7-5, 6-4.
What makes this moment even cooler is that Hewitt is playing, not only in front of his fellow countrymen, but he is also playing the final month of his professional career. Hewitt has announced that the Australian Open later this month will be his final tournament.
You can see the entire sequence here.
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