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Rafael Nadal’s reaction to his epic Wimbledon defeat proves what a true sportsman he is

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We have a new contender for match of the tournament at this year’s Wimbledon Championships, after Gilles Müller got the better of Rafael Nadal in a five-set epic.

The final set alone lasted more than two hours, with the Luxembourger eventually triumphing 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 15-13.

It was the second time 34-year-old Müller has beaten Nadal in three Wimbledon meetings – the last coming when Nadal was fresh off his first ever Grand Slam title in 2005 – and has set up a quarter-final meeting with Marin Čilić.

And the result was particularly harsh on the Spaniard, who couldn’t have given much more in defeat.

After what must have been a draining five hours – FIVE HOURS! – you wouldn’t have begrudged Nadal any response to the defeat. Hell, if he’d flown into a hulk rage and ripped off his shirt in anger then few would have been able to argue

However, after all of that, for him to graciously wait for Müller before walking off-court with the veteran shows why he remains so popular with the SW19 crowd.

Fans at Wimbledon will often find themselves swept up by an underdog story, so for so many to cheer for Nadal even during his meeting with 16th-seeded Müller speaks volumes for his popularity after more than a decade at the top.

And after the 31-year-old showed his class in defeat, those watching couldn’t help but stand and applaud.

(Main image: Rex Features)

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