The Kyrgios Suspension
Nick finally went too far. In the Shanghai Rolex Masters, one of the most prestigious late-season events, Kyrgios showcased his worst episode of match tanking yet, dropping his level to that of a disinterested high-school freshman, dinking serves in and refusing to move for balls, getting into a shouting match with the umpire and heckling a fan. For all this he was fined thousands of dollars and given an eight-week ban from the ATP tour, shortened to three weeks if he sees a sports psychologist. The Kyrgios suspension quickly made news around the tennis world.
This blog has defended Kyrgios on multiple occasions. Like others, I believe tennis needs young players with a little energy and edge, but it’s increasingly hard to defend his actions.
Sports psychology is unlikely to help Kyrgios. His problems clearly go beyond just on-court motivation. And anyway, he’s unlikely to take the ATP up on their offer, responding to a Twitter question of whether he will see a psychologist with “probs not.”
His plan as of now includes playing fewer tournaments next year to avoid fatigue. Part of that plan includes skipping the Rotterdam 500-level tournament to play in the NBA Celebrity All-Star Game.
What Happens Next
The Kyrgios suspension was intended to teach a lesson and give the young player time to assess his priorities. Playing fewer tournaments will certainly reduce stress if the problem truly is the exhaustion of playing a full year of international tennis, but again, the problem clearly goes deeper than that: Nick Kyrgios clearly does not like playing tennis. Not only does he not like playing, he clearly loathes the idea of spending his 20s chasing tournaments in far-flung locales and monotonous hotel rooms.
As much of a shame it would be to see a world-class talent go to waste, it’s harder to see someone struggle with inner demons on so public a stage. Maybe Nick should take longer than 8 weeks off.