Nick. Kyrgios. Just mentioning those two words is enough to drum up an opinion on the so-called “future of Australian tennis”.
If that’s the future, then it’s a future I want no part of.
Sure he has all the talent in the world, a fact that seems to be pointed out by everyone from armchair experts to grand slam winners, but there’s something missing.
In his best season to date, the boy from Canberra has claimed three titles and risen to a career-high ranking of 14.
It would seem everyone is ready to look past his previous indiscretions; from racquet throwing to the infamous “Kokkinakis banged your girlfriend” sledge; to support the brash Aussie with a booming serve and basketball swagger.
That is until just four days after winning the biggest title of his career, the ATP 500 event in Tokyo he dishes up perhaps one of his most inept displays ever in a 6-3 6-1 loss to world number 110, Mischa Zverev.
During the match, he could be heard telling the umpire to “just call the match so I can go home”. After the match he took to Twitter to apologise for his performance.
Not good enough today on many levels, I'm better than that. I can go on about excuses but there are none. Sorry #StillAWorkInProgress 🙏🏽😢😞
— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) October 12, 2016
For me, as a tennis fan and a tennis coach – that just stinks.
At 21, he should be pushing himself to the limit, wanting to compete and be the best he can. Instead it seems he picks and chooses his moments.
Well, consider that he had to win only four matches in Tokyo thanks to a second-round walkover. So he spent just under 10 hours on court to claim over $310,000 prize money which equates to $31,000 an hour. Yes… an hour. Why would he want to put in any more effort the week after?
Tell that to the 21-year-old tradie or the checkout assistant at the supermarket who works and juggles university. Ask what $31,000 means to them.
You could fill Rod Laver Arena 20 times over with Australian junior tennis players with more passion and will to succeed than Nick but the reality is they will fall short.
When the umpire needs to remind you mid-match, after you’ve delivered a soft serve and walked off the court, “you can’t play like that”, what message does that send?
The moment a young tennis player turns to their coach on the court after throwing his racquet or giving up on a point and says “Well, that’s what Kyrgios does…” we have a problem.
Right now we do have a problem! Do we back this guy and support him or do we get rid of him and be done with it? – Luke Cullen
Photo of Nick Kyrgios holding ATP Tokyo trophy from TennisTV Twitter feed.