Nick Kyrgios announced himself on the world stage over the last 12 months, reaching the quarter finals of Wimbledon in 2014 and the Australian Open in 2015.
Watching the young Aussie play Andy Murray in the first round of the US Open earlier this week was a real treat for tennis fans.
Kyrgios is a precocious talent, making the former US Open & Wimbledon champion look ordinary at times. Combined with his youth – he’s just 20 – and a reckless attitude, the Aussie is a breath of fresh air for spectators and tournament organisers. He puts bums on seats, as they say, like Nastase or McEnroe did, back in the day.
But that same approach that won him some incredible rallies, and the third set, also meant he would inevitably lose the match. If he works out that it is possible to entertain and grind out points, games, sets and matches, I believe he has the ability and potential to become a top 5 player at some stage.
But if he doesn’t learn quickly – and also curb some of his off-court antics – that potential may never be reached.
After the Murray defeat, Kyrgios took a chewing gum wad straight out of his mouth and handed it to a female assistant, when asked to do a court-side interview with a journalist. And recently he abused Stan Wawrinka on court, saying that another professional player had “banged his girlfriend”.
You know he’s creating a stir when Shane Warne, a renowned Aussie larrikin himself, was moved to write an open letter this week to the troubled young tennis player .
If Kyrgios learns to add the endurance and focus of Murray and Djokovich to his undoubted talent, he’ll zoom up the rankings. But if he continues to show a lack of respect to the sport, spectators, female assistants and his fellow players, he’s in danger of exhausting everyone’s patience and diluting his own potential.
And that would be a waste.