In the recent times if anyone has been deemed ‘BAD FOR TENNIS’ it has to be Nick Kyrgios. This opinion of him stems from his on court rants and his underhand serve that attracted a lot of ire and talks of unsportsmanlike spirit from within the corridors of the game and fans alike. There is however more to him as he is one of the most talented players on the ATP TOUR.
In his debut season at Wimbledon in 2014 he stunned Nadal in the Round of 16 and announced his arrival on the big stage. But ever since his performances have been inconsistent and has failed to live up to the expectations of winning Grand Slams. Every now and then he pulls out a terrific victory here and there but doesn’t really go the distance. He has a knack of bringing out his best game against the greats of the game. Yesterday’s match at Wimbledon against Rafael Nadal again showcased his brilliance and the level of tennis that he comes up with against the top players. Prior to the match he was tied at 3-3 in head to head clashes against Nadal and leads 2-0 against Djokovic.
This year’s second round match against Nadal was a much anticipated contest not only for what happened in 2014 when he got the better of Nadal but also for what happened in Acapulco earlier this year. It was here that he added to his repertoire of being ‘Bad’ and ‘unsportsmanlike’ when he dished out the underhand serve and eventually went onto beat Nadal. This opened up a tirade against him and Nadal’s camp was furious for what he did and Uncle Toni went onto say that he lacked “education and smartness” . So for obvious reasons everyone was looking forward to this match and Kyrgios didn’t disappoint when he called Nadal “Super Salty” prior to the match to add to the drama. The match itself was worth all the hype. It was entertaining right from the word go. The animosity was quite palpable and one could feel it by merely watching it from their homes on TV.
From the first set itself Kyrgios was uncomfortable with the chair umpire and through the match was involved in animated conversations with him. He kept on complaining regarding the amount of time Nadal took between serves. He was all over the place and lost the first set 3-6. At this stage it seemed he would fade away but somehow he gained momentum and picked up the second set 6-3. All this while he kept on whining but the quality of tennis he put forth was nothing short of magical. Nadal by his standards was quite subdued and the Aussie was playing some outrageous shots much to the delight of the centre court. It was in the third set when Kyrgios tried to hit Nadal with his shot that he struck so viciously (after the match he admitted that he tried to hit Nadal square in the chest with his shot) that Nadal looked back and stared at him as to say bring it on. From that moment on Nadal was at his usual best of fist bumping and getting the crowd involved. In between all the action that unfolded on Centre Court the fans were treated to some enthralling game of Tennis which Nadal eventually won 6-3,3-6,7-6(5),7-6(3). The chair umpire however was at the receiving end of Kyrgios but still it was box office stuff.
Nadal spoke highly of Kyrgios prior to the match when he said : “I am playing against a top talented player, very dangerous player when he wants to play tennis“. This epitomizes Kyrgios’ position that he has so much to offer to the game but only when he is willing to play. Even in yesterday’s match he could have done away with needless distractions and all that ranting and spitting on court and maybe the result would have been entirely different. Someone needs to sit down with him and tell him the kind of talent that he is and what he really is capable of. One would assume that people around him must have told him this obvious fact umpteen number of times. It will only make a difference however only when he is willing to listen and act accordingly. His demons lie within, the sooner he tackles his own demons the better it’ll be for him, the fans and the beautiful game of Tennis for this ‘Bad Boy’ has so much to offer and surely is ‘Good’ for the game.