They say a man without discipline is like a ship without a rudder.
Despite the lack of discipline, Nick Kyrgios, one of the brightest prospects in men’s tennis today, has managed to stay afloat with the backing of his immense talent. Although he has strayed on numerous occasions that have cost him matches and earned him deserved brickbats from the media and tennis fraternity, he slowly seems to be finding his foothold in the race of the gen-next of tennis.
Kyrgios has come a long way since he shot to the limelight in 2014, when he beat Rafael Nadal in four sets at Wimbledon. As a 19-year-old wild card, he displayed some exceptional shot making and fearless tennis in his annihilation of Nadal. He gatecrashed the elite of the Tennis World and announced his arrival as the ‘next big thing’.
Kyrgios’ career has only gone north since that memorable match, but not without its fair share of glitches.
The young Australian has always admired the great Roger Federer and has claimed that he is the greatest role model one could ever have on and off court. Kyrgios prevailed over Federer in the Madrid Masters last year, their only showdown till date, in a tough three-set battle. In the post-match conference, the Swiss Maestro heaped praises on the young Australian’s repertoire.
Federer complimented Kyrgios for his phenomenal serve and potential. He said,” I hope he keeps working hard and that he can compete for the best spots in tennis. He likes the big stage. He’s got nothing to lose, no fear, and he’s got a great game. He can rely on his serve so much. It keeps him in the match regardless of how he plays from the baseline.”
The Swiss also added a very important observation in his assessment of Kyrgios. “All he needs to do is to string a few good shots, a few good points together when it really matters," he had then said.
Hopefully, Kyrgios took note of those words of wisdom from the 17 time Grand Slam Champion. Or hasn’t he yet?
Kyrgios’ trysts with controversy
Neon pink headphones, funky hair and his flashy tennis set him apart from the rest of the rising stars of men’s tennis, who are all more subdued.
Kyrgios, a former Junior World No.1, seemed to make the transition to the senior circuit quite well. However, the young gun has a penchant for controversy. At the 2015 Rogers Cup, the Australian was caught sledging Swiss No. 4 Stan Wawrinka. The microphones picked up the distasteful words uttered by Kyrgios and sent twitterati into overdrive.
While his fellow players expressed anger and anguish over his unprofessional behavior, the ATP handed him a 28-day suspension from the tour. His role model, Federer, did not mince any words in admonishing Kyrgios and said that ‘he had crossed the line by a long shot’.
The Wawrinka sledging episode remains his biggest controversy till date; his behaviour on court still is far from palatable and affects his focus on the game.
It also makes him reminiscent of some notorious, but immensely successful names in the history of the sport....