If you looked at Roger Federer’s withdrawal from the French Open in isolation you can understand why some people have raised an eyebrow over his decision.
His critics will say he has entered a tournament he knew he couldn’t get to the end of, denied somebody else a shot and then ensured one of the players in the fourth round would get an unfair advantage with a bye.
They would also ask the question: ‘What would the reaction have been if this was Novak Djokovic?’
The answer to that last point is – probably not a very good one!
The truth is though, a tournament with Federer in it for a few rounds is better than one without him.
The world of tennis is going to have to get used to that latter scenario pretty soon as he’s nearly 40.
Compared to say Djokovic, who has had more than a few PR own-goals, the greatest player the sport has ever seen has earned the right to be given the benefit of the doubt. And then some.
You build your reputation over the course of a career – for good or bad.
Federer is a legend who has put his body on the line time and time again and is a phenomenal ambassador for tennis and tennis players.
And if he’s used the French Open as a warm-up for Wimbledon? Well, that’s fine by me.
Others in his circumstances might have come up with a fake injury explanation but Federer didn’t do that and he has always been honest about the fact his main focus is what happens in London and not Paris.
To see him going deep into the biggest tournament in the world on Centre Court would be a great sporting story which everybody in tennis would benefit from.
Andy Murray knows what it’s like to overcome injuries and have to manage your schedule.
And his Tweet during the game said it all.
Im not bothered by the outcome of this match at all. Just seeing Federer at 39 off the back of 2 knee surgeries playing to an empty stadium at 12.30am getting fired up is inspirational to me. Do what you ❤️
— Andy Murray (@andy_murray) June 5, 2021
Federer was playing in front of no fans, after midnight in the knowledge this was a tournament he couldn’t win.
If that’s not an inspirational message for young children, I don’t know what is.
When I first saw that Glasgow City had just won their 14th Scottish women’s football title in a row I did wonder whether this was a good thing for the sport.
But I’ve come to the conclusion that it is.
A fair few of those earlier championships were pretty straightforward but Glasgow City are operating in an environment with Rangers and Celtic both committing serious resources to their women’s teams these days.
Perhaps if the Old Firm dominated in the same way as they did in the men’s game, it would bring more money in.
But the unique selling point of a side that doesn’t have a men’s equivalent keeping Rangers and Celtic at bay outweighs that.
It will get harder and harder, though.
As brands, the Glasgow giants are used to being on top and they’ll want to squeeze City out of the picture.
And if they managed to do that, you could see women’s football in Scotland going down the same route as the men’s.