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Men's tennis is dying - there's one man who must save the game

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22nd March, 2021
12

Roger Federer. Rafael Nadal. Novak Djokovic.

These three names epitomise and signify dominance in men’s tennis.

Fifty-eight grand slams between them, and a few more should be added to that list when it is all said and done. They have been the pinnacle of men’s tennis since Federer won his first Wimbledon title in 2003.

A number of challengers have tried to step into their kingdom to become the fourth horseman in the game but none have had the staying power. Andy Murray came the closest before his body unfortunately betrayed him.

That is the power of the big three – they keep coming back, time and time again. And that is a big problem for men’s tennis and its future.

Let’s say you’re scrolling through the sports channels and you happen across Wimbledon. Unless you are a diehard tennis fan, if one of the big three isn’t playing, what are the odds that you stay watching?

That is a problem for tennis.

Much of this can be blamed on the game itself, as tennis hasn’t created enough excitement about who comes next. The names thrown out there as ‘the next three’ are Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem and Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Ask any person walking down the street who they are, I guarantee if they aren’t a hardcore tennis fan, they may think you are speaking in tongues. They don’t make headlines and unfortunately don’t win slams – yes, I understand that the Austrian has won one, but did anyone take notice?

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Nick Kyrgios plays a backhand

Nick Kyrgios – the saviour of men’s tennis? (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

There is, however, one man outside the big three who does gain headlines, who rankles the masses and disrupts the status quo.

That man is Nick Kyrgios.

He is the only one who can save the men’s game moving forward.

Yes, he can be a hothead. Yes, he annoys the traditional tennis fan and yes, the matriarch of the Simpson household refers to him as, ‘the nutter who screams a lot’.

However, just like the rest of us casual fans, she’d never heard of the ‘next three’, but she sure as hell knows who Nick Kyrgios is. He is a pariah, the evolution of John McEnroe, Andre Agassi and Jimmy Connors, and he must win and win big to save men’s tennis once the big three retire.

Kyrgios is the only man outside of the big three who can get the world’s eyeballs on tennis. He is a player many love to hate. He regularly plays the game the wrong way and infuriates the tennis aristocrats who sit in their corporate boxes and sneer.

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He plays simply because he can.

As he’s said himself, he’d much rather be on the basketball court than the tennis court. How annoying must that be for the hard-working, but less talented players who populate the male game?

Nevertheless, there is no denying that the man has it, whatever you define ‘it’ to be. He can thunder down a serve, has soft-as-butter hands on the dropshot and a wicked forehand, plus he carries himself as if he is the best in the world.

The Canberra boy is a walking headline, likely to confuse, bedazzle, infuriate and wow all in one game. His calling out of anyone who stepped out of line during the coronavirus pandemic in Australia proves that there is a good heart hiding underneath all that bravado.

Also, his feud with Djokovic proves that he is a player to be reckoned with. The great Djoker wouldn’t waste his breath.

The reign of the three greatest men’s tennis players who have ever lived is coming to an end and Nick Kyrgios is the man who must take over.

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Imagine the scenes if he ever wins a grand slam, imagine the headlines. It would cause global chaos and get tennis back on the front pages of newspapers across the world.

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So please, Nick, I beg of you: give the next grand slam your all. Use your passion to fuel your play and disrupt your opponents, as opposed to the self-destruction we usually see.

Keep your head screwed on straight for two weeks and do what you were born to do, save men’s tennis from the irrelevant future it has created for itself.

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