Listen to Jeff’s analysis…
Oh, Nick Kyrgios. What are you doing?
This is Jeff Salzenstein, and today, we are going to talk about Mr. Kyrgios, and before I get into his latest shenanigans, I want to tell you a quick story about the first time I saw Nick and actually met Nick, was at a challenger in Savanna, Georgia in April of 2014.
I was travelling with my good friend James McGee, who is a consummate professional classic, probably one of the most well-liked players on the tour, and he was practicing with Kyrgios when Kyrgios was about 150– 180 in the world. This was 2-3 months before he knocked off Nadal at Wimbledon. So, he was on the rise, he was winning a lot of matches at the challenger level, and he was poised for breakthrough. And little did we know that some 2 and a half years later, this young Australian star would be top 20 in the world and wreaking havoc on the tour: not just with his racket against opponents, but with his behavior, and all I can say is shame on you, Nick Kyrgios.
You know, it’s one thing to give effort and to have a bad attitude. It’s another thing to quit. It’s another thing to not give your effort, to disrespect the sport, and in Shanghai this past week, you certainly did that.
Now, I’ve been doing a fair amount of performance coaching recently, mental performance coaching, and there’s been 1 common trend that I’ve seen with the players and the individuals I’ve been working with, and where they get tied up is they care too much, and they want it too badly, and they’re focusing too much on the outcome. And here, you’ve got Nick Kyrgios who seems to not care, not care enough, not care enough about the sport, and playing with integrity.
And whatever the reasons why he’s acting this way, you know, we’re never going to know unless we’re on the inside. Whether we’re his therapist, or his coach, or a part of his family, we’re just not going to know why he acts the way he does.
We could only speculate as outsiders, but we do know one thing: he is definitely being challenged internally, you know, does he really want to be a champion? He’s made it well-known that he doesn’t like the sport of tennis, and he just happens to be good at it. So, you know, not having that appreciation for the sport that he’s great at is a tough thing to watch.
Listen, I would have done just about anything to be top 15 in the world with how much I love the sport of tennis, how much it’s given me, and you know, let’s just hope that Kyrgios learns early and is able to turn the tide, and make a shift, and be more professional as he gets older. But certainly, there are demons there that have to be addressed, and there are people on his team, family members, friends, the coaches, therapists, physical therapists, missus, girlfriends, they have to make him accountable, because this behavior will only continue until he’s held responsible.
Now, the ATP handed down a $16,000 fine, to 16-5, I believe, and another $25,000 fine, and then they just suspended him for 8 weeks. They say if he sees his sports psychologist, they’ll cut that to 3 weeks. I believe it’s not enough. You know, you’ve got to throw the book at someone like this unless you see that he’s making steps in the right direction. Just going to see a sports psychologist is not enough. I would encourage regular or even mandate regular coaching sessions with a mental performance coach, or with a therapist of some sort, to help him get a grip on all these.
So, I know that many of you out there are going to agree with me on this. I’m not trying to stir the pot. I’m just pointing out the fact that there needs to be more accountability, and there needs to be more appreciation.
We’ll just call it the Double-A today: more accountability from him and his team and the people around him, and more appreciation for this great sport. So, Nick, let’s hope you get it soon. I’m actually pooling for you. I want you to turn it around. I want you to get it right, because it would be a great success story, and a great story that you could share with youngsters when you get older, about how you were able to find that appreciation, and be accountable to yourself and to the others that watch you care about you, and want you to do well.
So, good luck Nick. Let’s get this thing turned around.
Got any questions, comments, and/or suggestions? Leave a comment down below, and I’ll be sure to get back to you with an answer. We’d love to hear from you!