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Is Nick Kyrgios the most polarising yet compelling figure in Australian sport?

Tim Gavel 10 July 2019 85
Nick Kyrgios - Brisbane International 2019

Nick Kyrgios seems to take pleasure in rocking the boat. File photo.

Everybody, it seems, has an opinion about Nick Kyrgios. He is either the most entertaining figure in a sport struggling for personalities, or he is a renegade with little respect for the traditions of tennis.

For good measure, the anti-Kyrgios brigade will also add a ‘wasted talent’, rivalling Mark Philippoussis and Bernard Tomic.

What isn’t up for debate is his attraction at the box office. Just ask Channel 7 who came under fire last week for showing Kyrgios ahead of women’s world number one, Australia’s Ash Barty. And what a star she is!

The large audience wanting to watch Krygios though indicates that he is a ratings magnet. So for everybody who says they will never watch him again, there are just as many attracted to watch his, at times, brilliant vaudeville-come-tragedy style of play.

But we can’t forget that his attraction is backed up by his success in majors with two quarterfinal appearances, which is the highest he has achieved, with the last being at the Australian Open in 2015.

There is a generation that perhaps see his personality as a reflection of their own rebellion towards conformity, while there are others of an older demographic who see his behaviour as a reflection of their concerns about the next generation.

At 24 years of age, Kyrgios seems to have settled on a persona that is part anti-hero, part entertainer, with tennis secondary to the former. In many respects, despite his antics on and off the court, there appears to be a certain amount of pleasure in rocking the boat, which at times is usually stationary.

His comments after the loss to Nadal at Wimbledon were telling; “I know what I am capable of; just depends. I’m a great tennis player, but I don’t do the other stuff. I’m not the most professional guy. I won’t train day-in-day-out. I won’t show up every day.”

The match, it has to be said, was one of the more outstanding I’ve viewed for a long time, as Kyrgios showed more than a glimpse of capabilities.

What followed in the press conference though, while highly entertaining, was troubling.

The concern I have with his comments is that it can be perceived as belittling those who are trying to do their best and put in maximum effort at all times. A little humility and empathy wouldn’t go astray.

In the eyes of some, he is perhaps the most honest tennis player on the circuit. Perhaps he is even considered the most honest sportsperson in professional sport. Hard to imagine too many in a professional team sport saying they may not show up every day. That’s not to say they don’t have off-days because they didn’t put in the effort.

So where to from here? Does he continue with the renegade approach, which shows no sign of affecting his marketing capabilities, or will he come to the realisation that he can be both an entertainer, and a Grand Slam winner?

Personally, I think Kyrgios needs a coach that he believes in, a coach who understands what Kyrgios wants out of life and can organise tennis to be a part of that.

Not that my opinion or anyone else’s has any bearing on what he is likely to do next. Perhaps that’s what’s so interesting about Kyrgios, we never quite know what’s in store!

Having beaten the likes of Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and Murray he has shown his enormous talent but in the end, talent will only get you part of the way.

In the meantime, Kyrgios remains an enigma, likely to keep dividing the opinions of sports fans throughout the world.


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85 Responses to
Is Nick Kyrgios the most polarising yet compelling figure in Australian sport?
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Jordania 8:48 am 12 Jul 19

Said it before and I’ll say it again of both Kyrgios and Tomic: can they even play decent tennis? Have they won any majors? Seems to me that they both know that they are second raters and try to deflect attention from their deficiencies with displays of bad behaviour.

BlowMeDown 10:40 pm 11 Jul 19

Tim, regardless of who’s playing, you don’t get into two hours of something and then whip it away at the climax. That would be courtus interruptus.

10:07 pm 11 Jul 19

Huh? He carries on like a petulant child.

6:46 pm 11 Jul 19

When he comes on the TV I change the channel

3:36 pm 11 Jul 19

Every time he has a tantrum, fine him. Whether he wins or looses. The media shouldn’t give him air time. When he realises he isn’t getting the attention he wants, he MAY change. Make him own his behaviour, other sports codes have time out or match suspension, tennis Australia should do the same thing. Send him home and make him start again from base tennis and earn the respect of the public again. Another idea is to put him in the boxing ring with the hornet.

    7:09 pm 11 Jul 19

    He doesn't care about fines. He DOES care about court time. When he embarrasses the country, suspend him. Either way our international reputation will improve. When he's acting like a mature adult he can be great. But when he's acting like rude spoilt brat, he's an international disgrace.

9:47 am 11 Jul 19

Needs to wake up and grow up...

    5:24 pm 11 Jul 19

    needs to be banned from representing Australia not to mention the smack up the side of the head he needs

9:15 am 11 Jul 19

It would appear from the majority of the comments under this article that most people are of the view that young Nick has worn out all of his welcomes and needs to modify his publicly displayed persona in order to win back support from an extremely disappointed public.

9:14 am 11 Jul 19

Please keep FB free of this guy

8:36 am 11 Jul 19

Don’t read the article, don’t watch him play don’t give him any reason to deserve any plaudits

8:09 am 11 Jul 19

He could learn a lot from Ash Barty who was so respectful during her matches and then in her defeat.....he is just an embarrassment to Australia.

6:22 am 11 Jul 19

Not compelling at all. He is a disgrace.

5:19 am 11 Jul 19

No. He is a childish git.

3:38 am 11 Jul 19

I agree Matilda Sanchez spoilt brat

9:43 pm 10 Jul 19

...snooze

9:30 pm 10 Jul 19

He hides behind the 'I don't care' 'I don't have a coach' 'I don't train' because he doesn't have the courage to test himself - what if he isn't talented enough to reach the top? I think it's all about fear. Sad really.

9:01 pm 10 Jul 19

It's spelt 'enema'.

8:44 pm 10 Jul 19

Let me make my position clear,

Nick who?

7:44 pm 10 Jul 19

You spelt douchebag wrong

7:41 pm 10 Jul 19

Please give him his dream and give him a basketball contract so tennis can get rid of him.

    8:23 am 11 Jul 19

    Jason Cox yeah let him try a team sport and watch him fail even more. He's no team player, everything in his world is Nick

7:00 pm 10 Jul 19

Al Munro your mate! 😊

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