Tennis’ latest bad boy, Nick Kyrgios, is at that point in his career where he needs to decide how he wants to hit the headlines – for his prodigious talent or for his deplorable on-court antics. The latest on his list of misdemeanours was the tanking of his 2nd round match against Mischa Zverev at the Shanghai Masters for which he was fined $25000 and given a suspension until the end of the season. His suspension though was reduced to 3 weeks after he agreed to see a psychologist.
Now as he prepares to put that ugly incident behind him and concentrate on not letting his immense talent go to waste, the Australian would hugely benefit by having a coach who could guide him on the path to greatness. Providing more positivity in this regard for the 21-year-old will be the fact that Pete Sampras, one of the all-time greats of the game, has expressed his interest in coaching him. In an interview, Pete was quoted saying, “He would be a challenge and you’d have to try and get through to him, but he’s one of the most talented players on the tour. He’s someone I’d be curious to talk to.”
Notably, 8-time Grand Slam winner Jimmy Connors has also expressed interest in mentoring the talented player. Kyrgios will definitely gain from the inputs of former players who have done it all, for they know the demands of the tour and how to sidestep all the unwanted attractions.
In this backdrop, let’s take a look at 5 former players who can elevate Kyrgios’ game.
#5 Jimmy Connors
The decision to list Jimmy Connors in this list might come as a surprise to many despite the 8-time Grand Slam winner himself throwing his hat into the ring. Their reservations are not misplaced though. Connors was himself a bad boy of tennis in the 70s and was never away from a controversy in his stellar career – just like Kyrgios. Connors was volatile, tempestuous and often went over the edge.
It is only natural that eyebrows will be raised at the thought of Connors coaching Kyrgios who needs to stay away from unpleasant incidents and focus on his game. But Connors is a champion, despite possessing a volatile temperament.
Maybe Connors can guide Kyrgios on how not to let controversies affect his game. The American is not new to coaching either – he mentored Andy Roddick, who was struggling to get out of the shadows cast by Nadal and Federer, for a 19-month period between 2006 and 2008 and also had a brief spell in charge of Maria Sharapova and Eugenie Bouchard.
This pairing will be extremely entertaining, one way or other, if it happens.