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”.
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.
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.