If ever coincidence got caught crossing the elliptical path of circumstance it was at the Australian Open yesterday when Rafael Nadal, the winner of 14 Grand Slam singles titles, went crashing out in the first round.
It is a sad indictment of the tsunami of cynicism which has engulfed global sport that the first of this year’s four Major professional tennis tournaments – already abuzz at the match-fixing allegations echoing around the Melbourne Park courts – should provide the conspiracy theorists with further fuel.
It would be equally sad if Nadal were to be dragged into the controversy of sporting corruption.
Nadal already has an estimated net fortune of $100 million and is a proud, proven winner unlikely to tank a match for a fistful of Aussie dollars.
But with athletics, cricket and soccer knee-deep in sordid scandals, there will doubtless be some finger-pointing in Nadal’s direction.
Sport does not deserve to harbour the corrupt, but neither does it merit a system of tarring and feathering at every turn.