Defeat in professional sport is unavoidable and it happens even to the greatest of athletes.
It remains a nemesis that haunts the very best and tests their resolve.
No one wants to lose, but to be graceful in defeat takes courage and character.
Kevin Anderson's comments following his defeat to tennis great Rafael Nadal proves that, not only is he a formidable player, but a gracious one also.
The 6' 6" South African is not only well known for his stature and skill as a tennis player, but also for his humility and service to the game.
Ranked 15 in the world, he is clearly a player of great talent, but outside of his career, he is also recognised for the assistance he provides to budding up young players - he and his wife run a coaching website that provides tips to players who want to improve their game.
Nadal made special mention of this and heaped praise on his opponent, saying: "It has been a very special two weeks for me, but congratulations to Kevin. He’s a great example to a lot of kids (and) had a lot of tough injuries."
High praise indeed.
Anderson was roundly beaten in straight sets by Nadal and will no doubt take a lot from the experience moving forward.
However, his tweet in the aftermath of the defeat may well have endeared himself even more to tennis fans.
The South African was respectful in his comments, and tweeted: "To step on Arthur Ashe with @RafaelNadal for my first Slam final was an honour. I look forward to sharing the court with you again soon"
Gracious to say the least.
Despite the loss, Anderson indicated he was determined as ever to return and continue his quest to claim a Grand Slam crown.
In talking to the Guardian, he was more than candid and explained: “Getting to my first grand slam final, there’s been a lot of emotions for me. I’ll keep working hard. I’ll be back.”
The South African is clearly a formidable opponent. His height was key and his big serve kept Nadal at arm's length for part of the game - it proved to be effective against the Spaniard up until Nadal found a way to defend against it before eventually taking control fo the match.
His booming serve, despite not making the difference on this occasion, will continue to cause issues for opponents in the future and as a result will prove vital as he targets his first Grand Slam title.
This gentle giant is not finished by any means.
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