US Open runner-up Azarenka had a memorable end to the tennis season with her results and in itself, hers was a comeback story to cherish. Her sensational comeback to playing brilliant tennis after some lows in her career was a testament to her fighting spirit.
But, as great as all that was, her display of compassion at the Italian Open in Rome during the fourth-round is the one that left an indelible impression on the minds of many tennis fans.
In one of the most touching moments of sporting spirit on the tennis court, Azarenka rushed to help and then console an injured Daria Kasatkina during their match. The videos of their interaction went viral on social media for the class the 31-year-old showed in the aftermath of the incident.
In essence, it was a moment of disappointment for Kasatkina. An injury mid-match to a professional athlete is one of the most despairing things there is in sport. But in that moment of despair, Azarenka’s response and the Russian player’s reaction to it – where she holds out a hand at the end to her opponent — is what makes sport beautiful.
In those moments when tears were shed, one couldn’t help but smile as well, as these acts of kindness help us keep the faith in the camaraderie between sportspersons. Pure and joyful.