Rafael Nadal’s five-set win over Juan Martin del Porto in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon on Wednesday may have been the stuff of legends, but the Spaniard’s immediate reaction to his victory may just have transcended his reputation.
Former Wimbledon champion Andy Murray called the clash between the second and fifth seeds the match of the tournament and after four hours and 47 minutes of sensational tennis, we would have to agree with the Scot.
The big-serving Argentine pushed the double Wimbledon champion to the very limit on Centre Court and the tie had a rather anti-climatic ending.
Serving for the match, Nadal was 40-30 up and while his serve was returned by the towering del Potro, the Argentine lost his footing and as a result, the second seed was easily able to volley home the winner.
Seeing his opponent down and out, however, made Nadal put his celebrations on hold and he clambered across the net and went to help get the Argentine to his feet.
They shared a heartwarming embrace, even as Centre Court rose to its feet to applaud two of the finest players in the modern era.
Sounds too fantastical to be true? Here’s the proof on video:
Nadal hasn’t been great on grass of late, and this was only his first last-eight appearance since finishing runner-up in 2011.
And the man to whom he lost that final, Novak Djokovic, awaits in the semi-final on Friday.
The Serbian, a three-time winner, beat Japanese Kei Nishikori in a four-set match earlier on Wednesday at Centre Court.
Currently, Djokovic has the edge against Nadal, leading the Spaniard 26-25 in their head-to-head record.
Meanwhile, Roger Federer was stunned in five sets by Kevin Anderson and the South African’s reward is a last-four clash with American John Isner, who beat Canadian big server Milos Raonic.