Dear Nick Kyrgios, please don't waste your talent.

Nick Kyrgios is ranked number 30 in the tennis world. He’s 20 and a gifted player. He is talented and has obviously put in years of hard work to get where he is. He’s passionate, focused and single-minded.

He’s also a pork chop.

Kyrgios’ on-court behaviour has been labelled “ugly”and “disrespectful”. He’s thrown rackets and abused umpires. He’s threatened to walk off court due to a “bad call”. He’s yelled at the crowd, answered his mobile during a game, abused more umpires, thrown more tantrums, and at last year’s Wimbledon he sledged his opponent Stan Warwinka at the end of a set by telling Warwinka that his girlfriend (professional tennis player, Donna Vekic) had slept with another “Special K” (Thanasi Kokkinakis).

His critics have told him to grow up. His defenders say he’s only 20. He’s emotional and young and he’s doing his job – a high pressure one at that – in front of the world. “Just remember what you were like at 2o”.

Nick Kyrgios. Image: Instagram/@k1ngkyrg1os.

It doesn’t matter what any of us were like at 20. It matters that the same behaviour continues despite repeated requests that it doesn’t. It matters that Kyrgios is at work, being paid handsomely to be at work, and he threatens, explodes, and taunts co-workers.

Yes, Kyrgios has a public and pressurised work environment, but Kyrgios no doubt also has sports psychologists, coaches, managers, physios, dietitians – a huge support network dedicated to making him play tennis as best as he can.

Imagine you’re 19 and at work and you throw a tantrum about the type of tea in the tea room and you are warned about your behaviour. You don’t like the wording in an email. You are SO ANGRY they CC’d in Beth from accounts. You explode. You are warned again. You abuse people when decisions don’t go your way. You are warned about it. Deadlines get on top you so you throw your mobile against a wall. There are more tantrums, more warnings. The general consensus around the office is that it’s okay. The behaviour will change when you grow up.

This is King. #kingin

A video posted by Nicholas Kyrgios (@k1ngkyrg1os) on

Now you are 20. You have tantrums over the same tea choices in the same tea room even though you know that’s the tea rule in the office kitchen. You are warned about your behaviour. You don’t like the wording an email: Jen said you wouldn’t mind if I handed this over to you now AND the photocopier is STUPID because it takes so long to print in colour AND this is all happening in one day, so you yell at people. Deadline pressure makes you throw your coffee cup on the ground and you answer your phone in the middle of your yearly one-on-one with your boss. You make sexual slurs to your co-worker about his girlfriend (who also works in the same office). The general consensus around the office is that it’s okay. The behaviour will change when you grow up.


Now you are 21. And … well… you get the picture.

Are we still going to be saying that Kyrgios’ behaviour is a product of his age? What is the magical age where you become responsible for your actions? What is the magical occupation where responsibility for your actions can stop? Actor, sportsperson, Instagram sensation with over 1.6million followers, accountant?

Tennis legend, Roger Federer, has just given Kyrgios the old hamburger treatment. Say something lovely (the bun), say what you mean (the meat) and finish off with another nice bun.

The bun: “He’s got sick power, and it’s going to take him a long way,” Federer told SBS media. “I was already unbelievably impressed at his sheer power, his talent, his potential. It goes way back. He’s enjoyable to watch. I know some people might not like it. I like it. He’s got a lot of personality.”

The meat: Federer said Kyrgios (who is set to drop out of the top 40 rankings after his Australian Open third round exit) needs to understand how “crucial” the next couple of years are. “Otherwise the train leaves the station and you’re maybe not on it.”

Roger Federer. Image: Instagram/@rogerfederer.

“It would be a pity to waste talent and all that, even more so in this day and age because I feel talent brought you further back in the day. Too many guys have talent. Too many guys are working hard. I don’t believe in that very much anymore.”

Finish off with the sweet bun: Federer admitted that he was a bit of a hot-head in his early tennis years and that he felt very “misunderstood”.

“I felt like I had to put in a lot of work with the press so they first knew who I was so they could relay the messages to the public, the broader public, the right way.”

Another tennis legend Rod Laver told Fox Sports: “If I had a game like that, you wouldn’t have seen me for dust.” And when asked what he would say to Kyrgios about his on-court behaviour he replied: “It’s pretty simple: don’t do it.”

Kyrgios has his critics and he has his defenders. He’s got sports writers and social media warriors demanding better on-court behaviour. He’s got sports writers and social media warriors excusing his behaviour. He has Federer and Laver both acknowledging his immense talent but telling him his emotions are getting in the way of the game – both for the fans and for Kyrgios.

He has kids and adults in the stands and at home watching him at work. Watching how he plays and how he treats people when he plays.

Kyrgios turns 21 in April. Is that the magic age when you become responsible for you actions?

Is that the magic day when Kyrgios will step on court, play great and be even greater?

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