Australian Nick Kyrgios is the most precious of athletes. He is what tennis fears, loves and despises. The talented and independent twenty-one year old refuses to follow the script the sport has provided. He does not want a coach. He does not want a typical game. He does not want to join the ‘club’. Rebuffing the Australian federation and tennis legends, he has laid his own path.
The vitriol commentators, especially Jim Courier and Justin Gimelstob, spew during his matches is unprofessional and quite telling of the sport’s opinion of this rising star. They resent his talent, object to his style, regret his growing fandom and have contempt for his audacity on the court. With wins against the big four, Murray-Djokovic-Wawrinka-Federer, ultimately they are insulted by his ability to succeed using methods they deem unacceptable. For them success cannot be attained using a playbook they had not conceived or promoted. Unable to classify him easily, like Monfils, Tomic or Ferrer, they pile on any misstep he makes. One must acknowledge the immense strength it takes to hold on to oneself in the face of fame and a sea of naysayers.
Kyrgios- Djokovic H2H 2-0
Indian Wells (3/15/17): Third Round Kyrgios-Djokovic 6-4, 7-6 (3)
Acapulco 3/2/17): Quarterfinal Kyrgios-Djokovic 7-6 (9), 7-5
His success on and off the court is not guaranteed even with his immense talents. Like the Williams, he was not initially embraced by the old tennis guard. Time, shame and many titles forced tennis to begrudgingly accept the Williams and this will be true of Kyrgios as well. Kyrgios is the disruptor tennis needs. His generation of players understand and appreciate him. In time the older generations will also. Hasn’t tennis learned this lesson yet?