It was an unprecedented show of sportsmanship from the 22-year-old Greek Australian from Canberra. “Maybe he’s changed,” news headlines surmised, highlighting the difference in behaviour compared to his typical racket-smashing, temper-tantrum displays.
Kyrgios and 25-year-old Bernard Tomic, and many others who’ve come before, are just as known for their talent with a racket as they are for their antics in-between matches, or off the court entirely.
This bad-boy persona puts them worlds away from the perceived real pros. The likes of Swiss world champion Roger Federer, for example, who is renowned for his calmness, flawlessness even, as a sportsman and professional.
But, in our haste to love-to-hate the Kyrgioses and Tomics of the arena, it appears we are forgetting history.
Now, it’s been reported, Federer, too, was once a “brat” who blasted loud music while his coach was in the car, and had “too much energy” for others to handle.
Former communications manager at the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) David Law, who met Federer when he was 16 and helped him prepare for interviews and press appearances, has shared a side of the 36-year-old 19-grand-slam-title winner that we never saw coming.
"The number of times we would go to tournaments and he would throw in a substandard performance where he’d mentally break down or he’d get emotional and throw his rackets — he was a baby," Law said on his podcast, News Corp reports. "Honestly, he was a crybaby on the court."
Law said Federer was lazy and carried an attitude that came from knowing he was talented. The first time Law practiced with him, he said, he thought 'wow' - not at Federer's skill but because the then 16-year-old didn't seem to care at all.
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Federer's coach at the time, Peter Lundgren, also had a tough time with the budding champion, Law explained.
"I know Peter Lundgren used to take him out in a hire car in Miami and they’d stick on AC/DC and Federer would sing it and shout it at the top of his lungs," Law said. "People don’t realise what an exuberant character Roger Federer is, how loud he likes to be."