Nick Kyrgios, That Was A Disgrace
Nick Kyrgios spats are often pretty funny.
For example, at the Miami Open in March, the Aussie got into a verbal stoush with a bloke who called him a "d**khead" and memorably taunted the Sunday night solo spectator with "Where's your fam, bro?"
But there was nothing even remotely amusing about the overnight spat in the second round of the Italian Open.
The sweary outburst, racquet slam, chair throw and eventual walk-off from Nick Kyrgios against Norwegian Casper Ruud was indeed extremely rude.
This was the 22-year-old manchild at his toy-throwing, dummy-spitting worst. And his senseless barrage of belligerence was all the worse because it played out to a chorus of "no, no" from the crowd.
As his angry antics intensified, onlookers literally called for Kyrgios to stop. Then, as he packed his bag to walk-off after his mid-match sook, they called out "no, no" again -- because despite everything, they actually wanted to watch him play.
This was such a bad moment. It was the sort of behaviour which would see most people expelled from any school or workplace, and which could yet see Kyrgios suspended from the tour.
But above all else, it was the worst kind of hypocrisy, and here's why.
Nick Kyrgios sat down for a much-awaited podcast chat with leading American tennis writer Ben Rothenberg this week.
The most-reported bits of that poddie were what Kyrgios had to say about fellow tour players like Nadal, Djokovic and others, and there was indeed some juicy scuttlebutt there.
But the most interesting bits were what Kyrgios revealed about himself.
"I just want to, like, not take it so seriously. At the end of day it's just tennis, you know what I mean?" Kyrgios said right on the 15-minute mark of the poddie.
So tell us this, Nick.
If you don't want to take tennis so seriously, why did you call a spectator a "f**ckin retard" for moving in the stands while you served? It was hardly the world's worst crowd crime. Yet your reaction was anything but chilled. In fact it sounded like you're taking tennis much TOO seriously...
At another point in the podcast, Kyrgios talked about how "the world's not going to stop spinning just because I lost a tennis match".
Which is true. Tennis is just tennis. So again, why kick up the world's biggest stink just because a tennis thing doesn't go your way?
None of this makes sense.
Nick Kyrgios tells us he doesn't care, then acts like he cares about the minutiae of tennis etiquette more than anything in the world.
Kyrgios offers thoughtful, genuinely human self-analysis in interviews -- opening up and revealing his soul in ways that the vast majority of cookie-cutter players never do -- then reacts like a brainless bogan on court.
He tells us he's "a normal human" (again on the podcast), then breaks behavioural codes that all normal humans have to live by.
Whatever you make of this, one thing is clear: Kyrgios is at his best when he's being funny, not angry. This really is the key take-out here. Funny Nick Kyrgios is charming and likeable. Angry Nick Kyrgios is a wanker and an embarrassment to all Australians.
A lot of people are still waiting for THAT Nick Kyrgios transitional moment where he forever casts aside the chrisyalis of bad guy, and emerges as shiny winged good guy.
Truth is, it's never going to happen all conveniently packaged-up like that.
Andre Agassi was the bad boy of tennis who wouldn't wear white, but who famously wore the whitest of white, white, white outfits at Wimbledon in 1991 -- and was embraced by the crowd as he went deep in the tournament, then won it the next year.
Last month, Nick Kyrgios wore all-black to an all-white party at the Mexican Open in Acapulco. That's him in a nutshell. Cheeky. Provocative. Not Andre Agassi in the making.
And guess what? Kyrgios won the Mexican Open title, and after partying all week till 4 am too.
Nick Kyrgios will always be a bit of this and a bit of that. But as mentioned, he has to be cheeky "that", not angry "that". Angry Nick Kyrgios is one of the most unlikeable blokes in the world, and sadly we got a gobful of that last night.