Lleyton Hewitt passed the torch to Nick Kyrgios earlier this week, naming the 20-year-old Australia’s best tennis player after hanging up his racquet.
That Kyrgios is talented is undoubted but his hot-headedness means he could fail to realise his potential and the mantle handed to him by his mentor unless he can curb his temper.
All sports need characters to keep things interesting, look at Ronnie O’Sullivan in snooker for instance, but Kyrgios is a long way off dominating his sport in the way the Rocket has and so will find fans less likely to put up with his tantrums.
The Canberra-born star has the athleticism and shot arsenal to go a long way in the men’s game but is on the wrong path if he wants to be remembered as a great.
Here’s a rundown of his rap sheet so far and bear in mind three of these have come in the last week!
- Complaining about music
Kyrgios felt the wrath of not only the umpire but his home crowd when remonstrating about background music during the second round of this year’s Australian Open. It wasn’t so much that he complained – music can be distracting after all – it’s the manner in which he did it. Chucking his racquet on the ground and shouting at the umpire invited a crescendo of boos from the spectators.
- Complaining about ‘terrible refereeing’
We saw the best and worst of Kyrgios in his match against Tomas Berdych. Going down two sets to love before rallying in the third to take it 6-1.
He went on to lose 3-1 and most agreed that the best man won but did he take the defeat in his stride and learn from it? Nope! He blamed the umpire as he left the court, accusing him of ‘terrible refereeing’.
- Swearing again
Being a potty mouth on the court is nothing new but with the world watching and in front of your own fans it’s best to try and curb it. Kyrgios failed earlier this week and had his wallet lightened for his troubles with a $4,370 fine coming his way.
- Telling Stan Wawrinka someone had ‘banged his girlfriend’
The Aussies are famed for their sledging ability but this usually happens on a cricket pitch away from prying microphones. Kyrgios wasn’t so lucky when facing Stan Wawrinka at the Rogers Cup last year.
In an effort to get under the Swiss star’s nose the Aussie exclaimed “Kokkinakis banged your girlfriend. Sorry to tell you that mate” to the shock of those watching at home.
- Allegedly throwing a game Wimbledon
Kyrgios’ tantrums always seem to come when he is losing and it was no different when he crashed out of Wimbledon last year against Richard Gasquet.
After having his own serve broken in the second set the Aussie made little to no attempt to return the Frenchman’s serve in the following game provoking yet more boos from the crowd and BBC commentator Sue Barker to claim she had “never seen anything like it” before at SW19.
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