Blake powered a forehand toward Gonzalez, who was standing close to the net. The ball flew long but Blake immediately claimed it had brushed his opponent’s racket.This was an important point in a match that would decide who would advance into the Gold Medal match (and be assured an Olympic medal since the loser would get the Silver). The loser would have to play for the Bronze Medal.
Television replays backed up his assertion.
But umpire Yan Kuszak saw nothing, and Gonzalez remained mute at the back of the court instead of calling a point against himself.
This was Blake's chance to get an Olympic medal, and he lost his opportunity because of unfair play by his opponent. Gonzalez should have admitted that the ball hit his racket (anyone who's played tennis understands that it's impossible not to know when the ball his your racket). But he didn't. He remained silent, and took the point (and eventually the match) away from Blake.
It is during important moments like this that a person's true characteristics come through. Gonzalez's integrity took a major hit because of this incident. He wanted to get into the gold medal match so badly that he did something dishonest. Blake did an excellent job explaining why Gonzalez should be ashamed:
“Playing in the Olympics, in what’s supposed to be considered a gentleman’s sport, that’s a time to call it on yourself,” said a fuming Blake in his post-match news conference. “Fernando looked me square in the eye and didn’t call it.We need more people in this world to be raised with the standards and integrity that Blake's parents instilled in him. It's a shame that he has lost out on this opportunity because of Gonzalez's dishonesty.
“If that happened the other way, I never would have finished the match because my father would have pulled me off the court if I had acted that way.”
This is also a horrible situation because James Blake is considered one of the nicest players in professional tennis, who constantly exhibits excellent sportsmanship. Now, I wonder if he'll be a bit scarred by this. As he said in his post-match conference:
“We know when it (the ball) touches us,” said Blake. “So that’s where it comes into calling it on yourself because it’s the right thing to do.Blake, who is so highly respected, now leaves the Beijing Olympics without a medal. He ended up losing in the Bronze Medal match. I am deeply heartbroken for him. I used to like Fernando Gonzalez, but his lack of integrity in this situation will forever mar him in my eyes.
“Should I expect him to do that? Maybe not. Maybe I shouldn’t expect people to hold themselves to high standards of sportsmanship. But yes, I did expect it a little more so in the Olympics when we’re all competing under the banner of this event being to promote sportsmanship and goodwill among countries.