It is difficult not to grow tired of the constant shrill criticism that surrounds Nick Kyrgios. Recently, my colleague Ryan Jack suggested that hype around the Australian is unjustified, in part due to his ranking of world #40. But there is a reason why some of the best commentators in the game, including John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Goran Ivanisevic and Marat Safin, have waxed lyrical about his talent.
Kyrgios has been ranked as high as number 13, and has had wins over some of the best players of all time – Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. He has made it to the quarter final stage at a Grand Slam on two occasions and has won two major ATP events last year, beating none other than Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas in the finals. He is a big match player, and loves the crowds and the atmosphere.
On top of all this, he has shown his great character with the way he led the bushfire appeals over the summer and his phenomenal charity work with the Nick Kyrgios Foundation which he runs with his brother.
So what if he criticises other players? He was absolutely right in calling out Boris Becker who slammed him for criticising Zverev for breaking covid restrictions. If other players and commentators criticise Nick (and sometimes rightly so) then why is he any different. And so what if he is controversial? While I have great respect for anyone who makes it to the highest echelons of the game, I’m sorry to say that all of these players are quite monotonous in press conferences and interviews giving cliche filled, text book answers.
Love him or hate him, Nick Kyrgios is pure entertainment. While we should call out bad behaviour when we see it, and it is true that Nick has scored a few own goals there, we should also be celebrating a maverick character who revels in being his own person.