How did you act when you were twenty? Were you a bit of a dick too?
Nick Kyrgios has so much swag that if he wasn’t a tennis player, he could open a camping store.
The carved hair. The diamond stud in the ear. The way he can split your eyeballs with the speed of his serve and then be all like ‘Yeah. Eat that shit up’.
He’s also a phenomenally talented tennis player. But if you believed what you read lately, he’s an arrogant dick whose road to victory will be derailed by the general nature of his personality.
All week, the 20-year old’s Wimbledon campaign has been overshadowed by Australian media who lament his on-court antics as childish, volatile and angry. He’s been called “a bit of a tool” and told by older sportsmen to “bring it in” and “tone down the antics.”
Why? Because he talks back to the chair umpire? Because he plays with a bit of fire in the belly? Because he plays with his big Greek-Australian heart on his muscly sleeve and we can’t compute anyone that shows a modicum of personality and passion?
Newsflash: it’s SPORT.
This isn’t politics, where everything is staged, where people with dead eyes and cold hearts speak so many cliches it becomes white noise. It sport – and in the heat of the moment it’s heart, soul and eye-splittingly passionate. It’s for the screamers and the dreamers and by it’s very nature it is beautiful, tragic, frustrating and brilliant.
Nick Kyrgios is a kid playing tennis out of his skin – raw and crazy, with a give-no-shits-attack-dog mentality. And sometimes that comes with a side of backchat, a moment of pressure broken by a swear word or a side glance or a stomp of frustration. He has clocked thousands of hours on court when no one’s watching. And so now when we all are, we choose to come down on him for the moments that he shows what it’s like to play at that level.
We surely can’t bemoan the lack of characters in Australian life and then, when sport presents us one, get mad that they’re not behaving the way we’d like.
Elsewhere in the world, tennis legends are in love with our boy. John McEnroe has singled him out as the man to watch at Wimbledon and said his belief, his intensity is unparalleled. “He walks out there, and there’s something about him.” he said.