Sunday Serve: Part Two

There’s something fundamentally wrong with the attitude of Australian ‘star’ Nick Kyrgios.

I use the word ’star’ loosely – given yet another outburst this week that put tennis in the news for the wrong reasons.

Now Kyrgios has form – plenty of it – but why, oh why does this brat think he can insult paying fans, and then show so much disrespect to a game that has made him a millionaire?

Nick Kyrgioskeeps cool as he beats Pierre-Hugues Herbert in New York in September. Photo Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd

In Acapulco this week he defeated world No.2 Rafa Nadal – a great result for him – but the manner n which he did so really has me questioning his mental stability.

For the record, he overcame a bout of nausea, a stiff back and saved three match points on the way to stunning Nadal 3-6, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (6).

Nadal is not quite back to his full fitness, and the enigmatic Kyrgios lumbers from one event to the next, not knowing which persona will turn up.

Event organisers don’t either – and that’s a worry.

Kyrgios openly had a go at the crowd in Mexico, he verbally abused others and then sat there smugly, eating a pizza, as if it’s the norm.

Little wonder today’s youth thinks it can act with impunity towards those who give them a life, lifeline and/or a decent job.

I will quote Nadal: ‘He could win Grand Slams and fight the top positions of the ranking, but there is a reason why he is where he is.

‘He lacks respect for the public, the rival and towards himself.’

Now, some have questioned why he should respect anyone. Yes, they have. It’s the world we sadly live in.

Maybe he’s been getting lessons from that other Brat from Down Under – Bernard Tomic – but professional sport demands a certain level of respect – to your opponent, and to the who paid hard-earned cash to turn to and watch you.

Sour grapes is another quote I have heard in relation to Nadal’s comments.

Rafael Nadal. Photo Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd

Why would a man, currently ranked the world’s No.2, arguably one of the best in the world, want to involve himself in cheap shots against his opponent?

No, these were the comments of a frustrated man, sick and tired of the unprofessional antics of one Nicholas Kyrgios.

I could do the usual ‘memo to Nick – behave’ routine, but I doubt he will read it, or even listen.

Yes, tennis needs characters, and it often needs a bit of controversy to lift it above other sports in the fight for coverage – but it doesn’t need the childish stupidity of this man.

John McEnroe thrived where under pressure and getting boos from the crowd. Perhaps this is another psychological slant on the game by Kyrgios.

Or perhaps, he’s just another example of bad manners circa 2019.

  • Bizarrely, in Dubai, the normally reserved Roger Federer copped a code violation for an obscenity on court during his laboured win over Hungarian Marton Fucsovics.
    As a fan tweeted: ‘this performance deserves some obscenities from the Swiss…’

And .. just in case you thought it couldn’t get even more bizarre – wait for it … underarm serves.

Roger Federer has no issue with it after Kyrgios tried the tactic last week.

He may have a point, given it’s not new. Remember Hingis v Graf in 1999? And Michael Chang in 1989 in Paris?

Exhausted, and cramping up, he had the temerity to hit an underhand serve at a critical juncture in his fourth-round clash with Ivan Lendl.

The collective gasp around Roland Garros could be heard across the channel in south west London.

Chang used his underhand serve against Lendl at 3-4, 30-all in the fifth set.

And let’s compare the reaction of this piece of ‘sportsmanship’ with that of Hingis 11 years later at the same venue.

The French crowd cheered at Chang but they positively jeered when Hingis didn’t it to fend off a match point.

Tennis a gentleman and ladies game?

Get real.

Sunday Serve Two: The other big news of the week, off the court, was the Serena Williams cartoon row.

Cartoonist Mark Knight depicted Williams having a tantrum during her US Open final defeat to Naomi Osaka in September.

Knight was criticised for using racist and sexist imagery in depicting the 23-time Grand Slam winner.

But the Australian Press Council ruled “the cartoon uses exaggeration and absurdity to make its point but accepts the publisher’s claim that it does not depict Ms Williams as an ape, rather showing her as ‘spitting the dummy,’ a non-racist caricature familiar to most Australian readers.”

Can we now get back to the tennis, please.

PS: Big congratulations to a ‘real gentleman ‘ of tennis. Roger Federer on his 100th title – a massive achievement. Memo to Kyrgios- Take note!


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