Nick Kyrgios breaks racquets, makes racquets and runs a racquet

Nick Kyrgios at Wimbledon, red cap, red shoes.Credit:Getty Images

And then came Kyrgios and Wimbledon. The problem with tennis is that it relies on its hands. In 1990, John McEnroe was kicked out of the Australian Open for assaulting officials. In 30 years, no one else has been deported this way. Like McEnroe, Kyrgios thrives on the uproar he creates. It is mental disintegration. It’s strategic. And everything is transmitted to the guardian.

Kyrgios usually doesn’t hold us back long enough for it to matter. In truth, his exquisite ball-striking aside, most of his schtick on and off the court is chatter. Some are childish, like spitting. Some are blatantly hypocritical, like demanding Stefanos Tsitsipas be faulted for hitting a ball into the crowd, neglecting to mention he notoriously did the same in a doubles match in Melbourne this year.

Like McEnroe, Kyrgios thrives on the uproar he creates. It is mental disintegration. It’s strategic. And everything is transmitted to the guardian.

The weather is changing. Tennis can be suffocating. The red shoe thing is a trifle, though it exposes Kyrgios’ rebellious illusion: he’s actually the tool and plaything of big business. Kyrgios’ attention to racism is important, but can be drowned out by the dross.

Ajla Tomljanovic celebrates.

Ajla Tomljanovic celebrates.Credit:Getty Images

The whole package is called entertainment, so everyone has their own. Eternal adolescence is obviously playing well in 2022. The conundrum is that when Kyrgios is fully focused, his racket work would be a spectacle all on its own.

But tennis is a sport of lines, and Kyrgios crosses one repeatedly, blatantly and unforgivable. It is the way he so publicly humiliates the referees and linesmen, who have no recourse against him and get no relief or fortification from the tournament officials, although it may not be long before the we jump and smash Kyrgios’ racket over his head. It has spare parts.

It’s not about what passes and doesn’t pass for entertainment. It’s not about sports. It is about basic human dignity. Think about this: if a visiting player were to behave this way at the Australian Open, would we accept it? Daniil Medvedev can give you the answer.

It is difficult to prove or disprove the reasons for Kyrgios’ disgust. Hewitt in his time was criticized just as vehemently, if not more. Generally, Kyrgios receives a warm welcome from crowds everywhere. He’s good for the game. Just ask him.

There is another fourth-round Australian at Wimbledon who could play an equally powerful card, and no one could blame Ajla Tomljanovic if she did.

The highest ranked woman in Australia, she is having the tournament of her life. Plus, she has a good backstory and an engaging, idiosyncratic way of telling it, and yet in the tournament narrative to date, she’s an asterisk. Sex anyone?

So, Kyrgios for Wimbledon? If you want. But go Ajla, go ahead.

Sports weekend expert news, results and analysis sent every Monday. Subscribe to our Sports newsletter.

Watch all the action from Wimbledon ad-free, live and on demand on Stan Sport, with center court matches streamed in 4K UHD. Coverage of select matches begins on 9GEM from 9:30 p.m. AEST each evening.

Leave a Comment