Everyone seems to want to have a go at Nick Kyrgios. For the past year any indiscretion on or off the court is greeted with howls of dismay and calls for bans or, as how now happened, recommendations that he take up some form of therapy before being allowed back on court.
His troubles began with some well documented outbursts on court. His mood was not enhanced by the run in with Kitty Chiller, the controversial chef de mission at the Rio Olympics. Australia is so desperate for another tennis champion that his every move is critically examined. Sometimes I could forgive him; however as a tennis player I cannot condone his behaviour when he tanks during a match and doesn’t seem to try or care – very unprofessional.
It is interesting that those making some of the comments were not models of perfect behaviour in their prime; John McEnroe comes to mind. Even the revered Roger Federer was wont to vent his spleen in his early career before he won the first of his many grand slams. Top two players Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams have taken out their frustration when a match is not going as expected by throwing ‘tantrums’.
Professional tennis is a brutal sport. It is probably the only top level sport where the singles player is totally ‘alone’ on the court. Even golfers have caddies who can assist during a round when frustrations get the better of the player.
In addition the surfaces played on, especially the hardcourts, are incredibly tough on the player’s body. The number of players who retire during matches due to some injury is remarkable. Personally, I think the tennis season is too long as more and more tournaments are added to the schedule. Is it just greed like the current scheduling of Australian cricket.
Watching the recent Senate estimates hearings in Canberra I wondered whether Kyrgios’s behaviour is so bad after all. The performances of Senators Ian MacDonald and Barry O’Sullivan were boorish and offensive as they grilled a senior public servant – and this came after their antics against Gillian Triggs. Together with what goes on in both houses of parliament under the guise of ‘debate’ it is no wonder many Australians are turned off the political scene.
Perhaps it should be remembered Kyrgios is only 21.