OPINION

Celebrating a loss really isn't weird, honest

This is one motherhood statement you're never likely to hear from politicians, but to coin a Scotty from Marketing phrase: How good are losses?

No, really. You need to engage a different part of your sporting brain than the part that houses the usual "win-win-win" ethos, but with a touch of mindfulness it works.

First of all, let's head to the tennis court that's been front and centre for the last couple of weeks.

Say with me: How good was Nick Kyrgios' loss at the Australian Open?

Taking the emotion out of the equation (be that positive or negative energy), it was one serious fourth-round match. Over the course of more than three-and-a-half hours, Nadal - a 19-time Grand Slam winner - won 22 points more than the kid from Canberra.

But it was about so much more than the points.

Rafa was Rafa - a human backboard.

For his part, Kyrgios swashed and then he buckled. But then, as unlikely as it seemed, he swashed again. And that was the joy.

That he managed to take that fourth set to a tie-break was simply remarkable.

It should give the year-round tennis lover more than a sliver of optimism.

Was this the purest form of Kyrgios' talent that we've seen?

Who knows, but just as that single sweetly hit drive off the tee is enough to get me tromping around a golf course in the hope of repeating it again this decade, so was that Kyrgios performance.

Ash Barty's semi-final loss, well, there was good in it, too. Just for the record, Sofia Kenin won just three more points in total.

No, she didn't play to the standard she set herself, but Barty advanced an extra round on her 2019 performance and did lose to the eventual winner. (I know that's not a consolation either, really).

But the loss that could well mean more than both of those put together was the Australian women's cricket team's T20 loss to England on Saturday. It was a fantastic loss. It was drama-plus. Chasing an achievable target, the Aussies' generally reliable batting wasn't reliable and it was left to Annabel Sutherland, who, on debut no less, smacked Australia to cricket's equivalent of a tiebreak, the super over.

In a twisted way, coach Matthew Mott must have been delighted. Instead of clapping his champion team on the metaphorical back, he must have been invisibly rubbing his hands together in delight at the prospect of learning opportunities as the Women's T20 World Cup looms large on cricket's horizon.

Janine Graham is an ACM journalist