Matthew Richardson copped it from the Channel 7 footy panel for this effort.
After his long suspension and fine for ‘tanking’ at the Shanghai Masters in October last year, you would have thought Nick Kyrgios would roll out a new and improved version of himself in 2017, but his boorish behaviour and petulant antics show no sign of abating.
Kyrgios has become notorious for allowing his commitment levels during a match to swing like a pendulum, which was never more evident than against Andreas Seppi in the Australian Open.
The Aussie had total control until halfway through the third set, when his concentration started to waver after having a heated discussion with the umpire.
But the defining moment of the match, which summed up Kyrgios’ attitude, was when he played a shot between his legs when down a break point late in the fifth set. That shot, more than anything, showed his nonchalance and lack of desire to win. Who in their right mind would play a shot like that when a match is on the line?
It epitomised who Nick Kyrgios is: a gifted tennis player with sublime skills and untapped potential, but an inability to fully concentrate, control his emotions, instead displaying impetuous behaviour when things go against him.
To top it all off, the lack of respect Kyrgios showed reporters at his press conference after his loss – although not unexpected – was cringeworthy.
Kyrgios’ admittance that he hadn’t trained hard enough in the off season and that he may need a coach were the only positives – he actually took some accountability, so maybe all is not lost.
The list of candidates to coach him is long, with two standouts in his own backyard: Lleyton Hewitt and Pat Rafter. But would they be prepared to handle Kyrgios with kid gloves and feed his ego or would they show him some tough love and instil a strong work ethic and discipline?
I have the greatest sympathy for spectators who pay good money to watch Kyrgios play, only to see him capitulate meekly. But it’s becoming a regular occurrence, for which he only ever gets a slap on the wrist.
If only Kyrgios would take a leaf out of the book of players such as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, who are ornaments to the game, and listen to the words of wisdom that have been offered to him by the greats of tennis. But, more than likely, Kyrgios will continue to do things his own way.
The jury is still out on whether Kyrgios will ever realise his potential and go on to win a grand slam singles title. He has the ability, but does he have the desire? That is the million dollar question.