Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios has been suspended from the sport after not showing enough effort in a match at the Shanghai Masters. Kyrgios will not be able to participate in the ATP tour for eight weeks and will also be fined $25,000.
The uproar currently surrounding Kyrgios stems from a match against German Mischa Zverev. Kyrgios shamelessly threw the game away, tapping his serve over the net on a number of occasions and allowing his opponent an easy putaway to win the point without contest. Kyrgios also walked off of the court towards his chair whilst Zverev’s serve was still approaching. Despite warnings from the chair umpire on court, Kyrgios, currently world number 14, remained disgruntled. He was defeated by a player currently ranked 102 places below him in the world rankings in a rapid 48 minutes. Fans made their frustration known, with someone audibly shouting, “Respect the game.” In response, Kyrgios hurled abuse back , much to the shock of the remaining crowd. The whole episode was stressful to watch and left spectators with an angry, bitter taste in their mouths.
To make matters worse, Kyrgios showed no signs of repenting in his press conference. Immediately after the game, he stated adamantly that he “did not owe anything’’ to the fans who had paid money to watch him play. When asked about his thoughts on tennis, he answered insolently with a simple “LOL.” Furthermore, when questioned if he had given 110 percent on the court, Kyrgios responded, “Nah, man.” His infuriatingly dismissive manner when things haven’t gone his way is something we have all grown accustomed to. The Australian has subsequently apologised for his behaviour. He said: “Of course I know how important the fans are to the success of our sport, and I personally love the interaction with fans in many different cities throughout the world on the tennis circuit. I am truly sorry and look forward to returning in 2017.”
I wish I could believe this apology was sincere. However, this is not the first time Kyrgios has caused such issues. He was also accused of not trying at a 2015 Wimbledon match against Richard Gasquet. His arrogance and sense of self-centered entitlement have alienated tennis fans, and he will struggle to rebuild this bond. For too long, the media has labelled the youngster as a “character.” Comparisons with John McEnroe, who was also suspended for bad behaviour during his time as a professional, are common. However, despite McEnroe’s outbursts, one thing he could never be accused of was lacking effort.
Despite this attempt at repentance, Kyrgios has announced he will not be playing at the Rotterdam Open in February, instead choosing to play in an NBA All-Star game. Kyrgios has made no secret of his lack of love for tennis, and quite frankly, fans will not miss his presence. In sport, natural talent only gets you so far, and if Kyrgios is to have a lasting legacy in the game other than for being a spoilt brat, he needs to grow up fast.