Problem child and Wimbledon finalist: ‘Kyrgios thinks he can make anything’ | NOW

With a place in the Wimbledon final, Nick Kyrgios finally shakes off the image of eternal talent, but his behavior remains a headache file. The Australian misbehaves on the track and was charged this week for allegedly assaulting his ex-girlfriend. A profile of an enfant terrible that just can’t seem to grow up. “Kyrgios should have been disqualified by now.”

A great storage, tweeners, underhand serve and spectacular points, but also: provoke, swear, throw rackets into destruction and spit. The 27-year-old Kyrgios can bring out his best and worst sides in one match like no other. Some fans enjoy the controversial show they are presented with, others express their disgust.

Stéfanos Tsitsipás is without a doubt in that second camp. “Kyrgios likes to bully his opponents. He was probably also a bully at school,” the Greek bellowed after his defeat to the flamboyant Australian in the third round, by far the ugliest Wimbledon match due to its unsportsmanlike nature.

Kyrgios – hats backwards and with his characteristic laconic playing style – with provocations removed the blood from under his opponent’s nails. Several times the also unsportsmanlike Tsitsipás tried to hit the ball on Kyrgios’ body out of frustration, often without success. Kyrgios also mainly argued with the umpire, whom he could not convince that Tsitsipás had to be disqualified when the number five in the world hit a ball into the audience.

“Because of his rebellious way of playing, I think Kyrgios is an asset to tennis on the one hand,” says former professional John van Lottum, who comments on Wimbledon for Ziggo Sport. “He kicks against the sacred houses. But if it gets too exciting, his head short circuits and he no longer knows where the limit is. Then he becomes disrespectful. Then I am no longer in camp Kyrgios.”

Route Kyrgios to Wimbledon final

  • 1st round: Paul Jubb (3-6, 6-1, 7-5, 6-7 (3) and 7-5)
  • 2nd round: Filip Krajinovic (6-2, 6-3 and 6-1)
  • 3rd round: Stefanos Tsitsipas (6-7 (2), 6-4, 6-3 and 7-6 (7))
  • 4th round: Brandon Nakashima (4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (2), 3-6 and 6-2)
  • Quarterfinals: Cristian Garin (6-4, 6-3 and 7-6 (5))
  • Semi-final: walkover by Rafael Nadal abandonment

The former number 62 in the world knows what he is talking about, as he used to be called the enfant terrible of Dutch tennis. In the company of types such as Jan Siemerink, Jacco Eltingh and Paul Haarhuis, Van Lottum was a strange duck in the bite. “They were neat men with a polo shirt on. I had my cap backwards and did not arrive in a Volvo Station, but in a Porsche.”

“I mostly made fun of myself at the time. My own children have never seen me play, but they do say: ‘Daddy, I hear you used to smash a lot of rackets’. I have a lot of regrets, especially my behavior towards ball boys and girls. But what I did is in stark contrast to Kyrgios’ behavior.”

Not a rare sight with Nick Kyrgios: his racket flying through the air, like here at this year’s Australian Open.


Not a rare sight with Nick Kyrgios: his racket flying through the air, like here at this year's Australian Open.

Not a rare sight with Nick Kyrgios: his racket flying through the air, like here at this year’s Australian Open.

Photo: Getty Images

Kyrgios from super talent to entertainer without discipline

Kyrgios’ excesses mask his true qualities and stain a career that could have been much more successful. The son of a Greek father and a Malaysian mother used to be known as a super talent; he was the number one in the juniors and had already played a quarter-final at Wimbledon and the Australian Open by the age of 19.

Kyrgios also regularly stood his ground against the absolute top players and showed glimpses of his potential. Kyrgios and compatriot Lleyton Hewitt are still the only players to win their first encounter with Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. A great career with great successes beckoned, but injuries and a lack of discipline broke up Kyrgios.

Entertaining is sometimes a greater good than winning for the Australian Open winner in doubles. He can do that like no other, with sometimes brilliant balls at the craziest moments. But in the event of adversity, a tirade is never far away. Because of its arsenal of funny actions and misbehaviour, YouTube is full of videos like 10 minutes of Nick Kyrgios MADNESS† His honors list, on the other hand, now counts ‘only’ six ATP singles titles and until this edition little uplifting results in the majors.

Robin Haase knows how good Kyrgios can be. De Hagenaar played against the Australian twice, most recently in the second round of Wimbledon in 2018. “My plan at Wimbledon was to serve underhand once in the first set, to entice Kyrgios to do the same. Unfortunately, he was. very focused against me,” 35-year-old Haase looks back on his lost three-setter in London in conversation with NU.nl.

“Kyrgios has one of the best services in the world and plays with a lot of feeling. He is a great tennis player, but also a man of extremes. Certain emotions are fine in tennis because we are not computers. But Kyrgios is too often about beyond the borders and I am strongly against that. You are an example as a tennis player and you should not want certain behavior.”

Nick Kyrgios was too strong for Rafael Nadal in the fourth round of Wimbledon in four sets in 2014. He later defeated the Spaniard twice more.


Nick Kyrgios was too strong for Rafael Nadal in the fourth round of Wimbledon in four sets in 2014.  He later defeated the Spaniard twice more.

Nick Kyrgios was too strong for Rafael Nadal in the fourth round of Wimbledon in four sets in 2014. He later defeated the Spaniard twice more.

Photo: Getty Images

‘Kyrgios’ behavior is a flight of tension’

Several times there was hope that Kyrgios would improve his life. After being suspended by the ATP at the end of 2016 for missing a game in Shanghai, the controversial Australian (mandatory) went to a psychologist, but it didn’t seem to help much. In August 2019 — three years and many incidents later — Kyrgios was fined a record-breaking rage in Cincinnati and called tennis association ATP a corrupt organization.

With a suspended suspension and a paltry fine of 25,000 dollars, he got away with it for the latter offence. It was several months after Kyrgios was arrested for misconduct at the Masters tournament in Rome game penalty and was subsequently disqualified for throwing a chair on the track during his tirade. This year, Kyrgios also showed his vulnerable side: he announced that he suffered from depression and loneliness in 2019.

The mental problems have been resolved, but the incidents continue this year as well. After his defeat to Nadal at Indian Wells, a bat boy had to duck from Kyrgios’ racket, which bounced at him at high speed. After securing his first round win at Wimbledon, Kyrgios spat at a spectator who annoyed him during the match.

“He should have been disqualified for that,” says Van Lottum. “Kyrgios thinks he is in a position where he can make anything and in doing so he harms tennis. People accept actions from him that are unacceptable. Kyrgios misbehaves because he cannot handle the emotional confrontation in a match. becomes too exciting for him, things go wrong. His behavior is a flight.”

Like Van Lottum, Haase believes that Kyrgios’ behavior is partly encouraged by the people who can impose sanctions on him. “The problem is not only that Kyrgios crosses the border, but that he can look for the boundaries. Referees do not always intervene and have to act harder. I think that in general, not only with Kyrgios.”

Report of assault as a veil over Wimbledon success

In addition to his misconduct on the track, Kyrgios was confronted this week with a complaint from his ex-girlfriend, who claims she was assaulted by him in December 2021. The Australian is due to appear in court in Canberra next month to answer to his question. Details about the case are not yet known. Kyrgios was questioned about it in London, but remained silent on the advice of his lawyers.

Kyrgios says about his behavior on and around the track that he has only matured. He cites the 2019 Wimbledon edition as proof. “My manager had to pull me out of the pub at 4 a.m. Later that day I played against Nadal on the center court. I’m coming from far, that’s for sure.”

In his last two games at Wimbledon, Kyrgios behaved – for his part – exemplary. The question is whether he can also keep his cool against Novak Djokovic in a potentially flammable final from 3 p.m. on Sunday. Kyrgios razed the Serb to the ground in 2019 in one of his high-profile interviews, in which he said, among other things, that Djokovic “has a sick obsession with being liked”.

Kyrgios, who won both encounters with Djokovic in the past without losing a set, subtly added that he simply cannot stand the Serb. Haase expects a heated final. “Anything can happen, but one thing is certain: it will be a spectacle anyway.”