13 Sep 2019
Leadership Lessons from the 2019 US Open
If you were lucky enough to be at or watch the 2019 Men’s US Open Finals, you got more than a tennis match. You witnessed a test of wills, amazing athleticism, and a master class in grace–both in victory and defeat.
Spaniard Rafael Nadal came out on top, but barely. Russian Daniil Medvedev is a 23-year-old we’ll see for years to come. I had the privilege of being in section 101 for a match that lasted nearly five hours. The audience was on the edge of our seats continually. The main thing I will take from the display, however, wasn’t about any specific shot or set or score.
The awards portion of the night became the most memorable. Medvedev received his trophy first and used the opportunity to show class and not bitterness toward Nadal. He even made the crowd laugh in displaying humility about his relative newcomer-ness. Nadal, for his part, praised the Russian for his ability to turn the rhythm of the match in set three after Nadal had won the first two sets. If you haven’t already seen the awards ceremony, YouTube the video.
In this Spain v Russia exchange, both competitors came out on top. Anyone who believes in leadership and cares about grace, humility, and humor, will surely gain inspiration from these two men. Indeed, I’d like it to become assigned viewing for every member of the United States Congress and for world leaders who call themselves president or prime minister.