He burst on to the mainstream tennis scene in 2015 when the young Australian took to the court to face World Number 1 and one of the greatest players of all time, Rafael Nadal. No one gave him a chance in this last 16 tie, it was supposed to be a formality, Rafa would come out and dismantle the 19-year-old before moving on to the quarter-finals and those who are more worthy of his time. However, this young man had evidently not read the script, defeating the Spaniard in just four sets, even playing some showboating shots to add insult to injury. Nick Kyrgios announced himself to the world that day and ever since, has been living by his own rules.
Being a Kyrgios fan is hard work. The young Australian possesses such immense talent, even John McEnroe labelled him as the most talented player he had seen in the past 10 years in June 2018. However, despite all that natural ability, Kyrgios’ mentality has let him down.
Yet, at the Mexican open, Kyrgios turned it on once again, defeating a whole host of names that included Rafael Nadal, Stan Wawrinka, John Isner and Alexander Zverev. Three of those names are in the top ten and two in the top three.
Furthermore, Nick has a 50% head to head record against Nadal, winning three times, a 100% win record against Novak Djokovic, beating the current world number one twice, while also having defeated Roger Federer. Therefore, you can see it is impossible to doubt his ability.
Which makes the Australian all the more frustrating, however at the Mexican Open, the fire that drives Kyrgios seemed to return.
Hate poured from the stands in Mexico, as he even got the crowd to support John Isner, an open Trump supporter, tell me that is not impressive. Yet, the fury from the audience just seemed to spur him on as it had done when he toyed with Nadal and the crowd a few days prior.
Tennis is seen as an upper-class sport played with class and steeped in rich tradition, which I do appreciate. The friendly and fierce rivalry between Rodger Federer and Rafa Nadal is one which all sportsman can look to in terms of how to hype events without having to resort to disrespecting one another.
Yet, in a sport which, on the whole, lacks controversy, Nick Kyrgios is a breath of fresh air. He is fun and frustrating, entertaining both on and off the court not bound to anyone’s rules but his, which can be his undoing but also his strength.
Once in a while comes along a rogue character that the game cannot control. In a game dominated by wealth and making sure you constantly say the right thing and act with class, Nick Kyrgios provides a refreshing, f*ck you and f*ck your tradition that tennis desperately needs.
Look, I do not like appreciate wasted talent, which Nick Kyrgios is really running the risk of becoming. However, if he plays with the fire that we saw in Mexico, a major may not be that far away, and wouldn’t that be an incredible sight to behold. Nick Kyrgios, centre court, holding aloft a major title and revelling in the hate.
I cannot wait…
*Nick Kyrgios succumbs to a round one exit from Wimbledon… f*ck sake.