The mercurial talent that is Nick Kyrgios is, once again, a massive talking point at the 2018 US Open – and it is only Day 5! The Australian has been known to not give his best effort in matches, and this was the case in his second round match against Pierre-Hugues Herbert.
Kyrgios found himself a set and a break down, the match appeared to be running away from him. All that changed when the chair umpire, Mohamed Lahyani, climbed down from his chair and gave the 23-year-old a “pep talk.” It is hard to know whether or not that discussion with the umpire changed the match, but what we do know is that Kyrgios went on to take 19 of the next 25 games to ultimately win the match.
Both Kyrgios and Lahyani have received colossal amounts of criticism, and many are saying that the Australian is bad for the sport. I have to respectfully disagree here as I believe that Nick Kyrgios is overall very good for the game.
He Brings Something Different
One thing is for sure and that is that Nick Kyrgios is unique. He has his own way of going about his business and that ruffles a lot of people’s feathers. You will often see the Australian nonchalantly attempting tweeners, no look shots, and slam dunks under the most intense of pressure. What is there not to love?
Now for the more negatively viewed aspects about his approach to tennis. He has been known to not give best his best efforts at times, and that makes the fans feel short-changed. It is indeed pretty tough to defend those antics, but nobody is perfect. Many also doubt his work ethic in training and although Kyrgios may say he is not the most dedicated, he still works extremely hard. You cannot get to the top twenty and score wins over each of the Big Four on talent alone, you need to put in the hard yards and believe it or not, he does.
The 23-year-old brings something different to tennis, on and off the court. The Kyrgios show is not just found on the court, but also on social media. There you can find him having some entertaining exchanges with his friends like Andy Murray and Thanasi Kokkinakis. You can also see him use his massive following to have digs at fellow players and journalists, which is controversial to say the least.
Are you familiar with the latest disputes between Kyrgios and Stefanos Tsitsipas? It is clear that the pair do not like each other and words have been exchanged online and to the press from both camps. It certainty makes their first meeting all the more captivating and I will definitely be tuning in.
A Controversial Figure Can Make Things Interesting
Sport is a giant form of entertainment and Nick Kyrgios is box office gold. You may not like him or what he does, but you will probably be watching. He draws people in and attracts a new crop a fans to the sport we all love. Sport is full of controversial figures: you have Kevin Durant in basketball; Sergio Ramos in football; Nick Kyrgios in tennis.
Andre Agassi was also quite controversial but is now one of the most beloved figures in the game. Another tennis example you could think of is John McEnroe. He too had massive rows with umpires and tantrums way worst than those of Kyrgios. Despite this, he is viewed as a legend and a positive figure in the sport. I am well aware that McEnroe is a former World #1 and seven-time Grand Slam champion; however, he bought something different to the game and definitely spiced things up a bit.
Moreover, when I say controversy I am talking about arguments with umpires or even fellow players. Of course there are things that Kyrgios has done which I do not agree with, but he has not stepped out of line for a while now. An argument that may get thrown in my direction is that any publicity is good publicity. I do not agree with this and will not condone any form of controversy that is way out of line, or even against the law. Nick Kyrgios is a good human being and we should not forget that.
Contrast is Good
If everyone was the same, tennis would not be as exciting; the more diverse characters there are the better. When you look at some of the best tennis rivalries of the ATP World Tour you look back to ones like Borg-McEnroe and Sampras-Agassi. Why are those rivalries so spectacular? Contrast–not just in styles but in personality and temperament. Is McEnroe the same as Borg; is Agassi the same as Sampras? Different characters make things interesting.
Denis Shapovalov is another player–along with Kyrgios–that springs to mind when you mention the words “young talent.” At the moment, the Canadian is putting every ounce of his energy into making himself a better player and fulfilling his god-given talent. On the other hand, the Australian definitely has the talent, we just do not know if he is putting everything he has into his tennis–which is no crime by any means. However, this creates a very fascinating narrative: will the precocious talent fulfill his potential? Kyrgios creates story lines.
A player who is the polar opposite to Kyrgios in terms of personality is Roger Federer. The Kyrgios-Federer rivalry is one of the most entertaining rivalries on the ATP Tour in recent years and the reason is that they are so different–they are fire and ice. Contrast is good.
Immense Anticipation for Upcoming Federer Battle
The tennis world has been blessed with yet another Federer-Kyrgios match. Whether you love the Australian or hate him, almost everyone will be watching. Kyrgios received a lot of backlash in his second round match and a fair few people were rooting against him, but would the majority of people want to see Herbert take on Federer, or the Australian?
In previous matches between these two, the crowds have been extremely partisan towards the Swiss and although it can be unfair at times, it makes for great viewing and an unbelievable spectacle. The beloved Swiss takes on the unique Australian, now that is good for the sport. When the draw originally came out fans were eagerly anticipating a third round match between these two and if the 23-year-old was so bad for the sport, we would be happy to see him exit in round one.
Despite all that is said about his effort, virtually everyone is confident that we will see the best of Nick Kyrgios because he is such a entertainer and a big match player. The Australian has the talent, he has the talk, and he can generally back it up. Tennis is such an astounding sport and the more different people and styles we can see the better. We have an elite player who brings something different, makes things interesting and can beat the best players in the world.
Nick Kyrgios is good for tennis.