The Brat is Back

To be selected to represent your country playing sport, or to be named one of the top sportsman of that particular sport in my opinion is an honour. It grants a status and a level of sportsmanship that should be met at any level, understanding that at times we are faced with the toughest of circumstances.

Nick Kyrgios.f_180115_kyrgios_15.jpg

An uprising young Australian tennis star, who has been  in the spotlight displaying natural talent and the qualities to become number one. I give credit where credit is needed, and for this it is great to see such natural talent emerging in Australia.

However.

Earning and maintaining this title comes with regulations an athlete must adhere to at all times. As an athlete fairness, integrity, responsibility, and respect, are key factors in maintaining your reputation throughout the world.

As a former tennis player we are taught discipline and integrity. Discipline in how we present ourselves and play, integrity in how we choose to play. I feel as if these are two key components our legendary Nick Kyrgios lacks.

Touching on the most recent of his ‘performances’, the Shanghai Masters. Uncaringly serving and returning to his opposition Misha Zverev, going down 6-3, 6-1. He evidently displayed careless and unprofessional behaviour, and to an extent had reportedly clashed with fans. Due to his behaviour and actions, so far he has been hit with a $16,500 fine which has now increased by an additional $25,000 including his 8-week tournament suspension. However now the ATP has agreed that “The suspension will be reduced to three tournament weeks upon agreement that the player enters a plan of care under the direction of a sports psychologist, or an equivalent plan approved by ATP, meaning Kyrgios could regain eligibility to compete on the ATP World Tour or Challenger Tour from Monday 7 November 2016.”  Tennis Australia said they “support the ATP sanction on Nick Kyrgios following recent events in Shanghai”.

Sportsbet even went to the effort, refunding customers who placed bets on the athlete.

Once the match had concluded the athlete said ““I don’t owe (fans) anything … If you don’t like it, I didn’t ask you to come watch”. And tonight has released the following statement:

Following the ATP’s decision today I would like to take this opportunity to apologise again for the circumstances in Shanghai. The season has been a long one as I battled several injuries and other challenges towards the end of the summer. The Asian circuit was particularly tough after the long week and win in Tokyo and with the travel throughout the continent, my body finally just gave out in Shanghai both physically and mentally. This is no excuse, and I know very well that I need to apologise to the fans – in Shanghai and in other parts of the world – as well as the tournament organisers in Shanghai who do an amazing job. I of course know how important the fans are to the success of our sport and I personally love the interaction with fans in the many different cities throughout the world on the tennis circuit.  I am someone who gives a huge amount of time to my fans because I love and value their support. Their energy is what motivates me to reach for the top of the game. I regret that my year is ending this way and that I will not have a chance to continue chasing the ATP Finals.  This was an important goal for me. I do understand and respect the decision by the ATP and I will use this time off to improve on and off the court. I am truly sorry and look forward to returning in 2017.

NK

However the Shanghai is not the first of Kyrgios’s performances:

And the list continues….

Contradictory is a fine trait of the young superstar, and anger is one of his finest qualities. One of the MAIN fundamentals becoming a tennis player, and something that is consistently drilled into a players head at an early age, is to contain your emotions and focus on the game. By doing so, overcoming the most challenging barriers (yourself) you sport-preview-nick-kyrgiosprove that you have what it takes to become the best. You are at an international level where there are endless streams of young Aussie players aspiring to become like you, and you show them by smashing multiple rackets, back-chatting to officials and conceding a game because of a ‘challenging week’. How can Tennis Australia allow you to continue to hold your ranking and travel the international circuit? It is only now that the ATP has finally acknowledge the unacceptable and most importantly unprofessional behaviour.

As a player your ability is there, however you lack what my coaches call a “mental-toughness”. You are not mentally tough at all, yes you have the ability to come back after a losing by a large margin, or endure long games in the heat. But how can you not handle that things may not go right for you all the time? Or you become injury prone like you have said and may not be able to compete at your full potential? Acting like a brat as you have been and listening to your ego is obviously not the way to go.

John McEnroe, one of the greatest tennis players of all time. However, what comes to mind  thinking of him? For myself it is the multiple bursts of anger he displayed on and off the court. Which is what Kyrgios is beginning to be known for. Articles read “Kyrgios is too good for a coach”, although this may be the one thing he is missing. Constant discipline, not from his family but from an outsider and someone who has extensive knowledge on and off the court. Legendary coach Nick Bollettieri explains that the young professional needs someone that will listen and not to be told to continuously “stop that”. This may just be the stepping stone for Kyrgios, and the turning point in his attitude to become the world number 1.

For someone that has openly expressed that Tennis is not the ideal a
venue they want to pursue, and in actual fact basketball is their true calling. Then kid you’ve truly been blessed, and possess something that I wish I had.

As a tennis player I understand the anger and frustration, the disappointment and the hurt. But how was I was taught, never express your emotions for those around you to see. Never use your emotions to throw off another player, and never allow your emotions to defeat you.

But until you learn to contain yourself and grow out of your brat stage, I hope for the sake of all tennis federations you continue to be penalised for your actions. So aspiring tennis players understand that expressing unprofessional behaviour on and off the court is unacceptable, and not the way tennis is portrayed. Most importantly to be continually let off for your offensive and unprofessional behaviour. Tennis should be driven by motivation, passion and integrity. Not ego and anger.

Rather than having headlines “booted off ATP”, headlines should be reading “yet another effortless”. Or so you would hope…

The world has witnessed McEnroe. We don’t need another.

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