Big Things in Store for Nick Kyrgios According to Nadal
Rafael Nadal took some time out from looking dapper and making big endorsement bucks to talk about the future of men’s tennis, and he had kind words to say about one player in particular; Nick Kyrgios.
The King of Clay believes there are big things in store for the controversial Australian, who was suspended for three weeks earlier this year after essentially giving up in a second round match at the Shanghai Masters. To hear Nadal tell it, Kyrgios is one of the brightest stars of the next generation. The Spaniard also believes 2017 will see that next generation start to leave its mark on the game in a big way.
It’s an era of transition where two good generations combine together.
Arguments could certainly be made that the old generation is on the wane. Roger Federer is seemingly on the downward slope to tennis retirement, and if Nadal himself thinks he’s past his best than maybe he is, but I suspect Murray and Djokovic may feel they have a few more years of top level tennis in them yet.
But back to Kyrgios.
The Australian has been less shooting star and more imploding rocket in recent years. His talent is undeniable, and to Nadal’s point, one can’t help but wonder just how good Kyrgios would be if he had anywhere near as much dedication to the sport and his own game as the likes of Murray.
For me, it’s not Kyrgios’ actions themselves that are worrying, but his attitude during the fallout. It’s one thing to lose your cool in the heat of the moment, saying and doing things you might later regret, but Kyrgios doesn’t seem to regret his actions. If anything, he seems to revel in his role as the bad boy of tennis, making jokes about his as-yet-unfulfilled potential as he does this tweet about Nadal’s comments;
I guess Nadal doesn't understand that I'm a waste of talent ?????? https://t.co/NOqIJAfRRz
— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) December 7, 2016
I agree with Nadal that the potential is there, but do I think that potential will be realised for Nick? A major change in attitude will be needed to move on from a talented Top 20 player to fully-fledged Slam-winning contender for the number one spot. The question is, does Nick even care? For now, at least, he seems content where he is.
Let’s be clear, even with his questionable antics and seeming lack of commitment to the game, Kyrgios has reached 13th in the world and, at 21 years old, amassed millions of dollars in prize money. The thing that pushes the Federers and Nadals of the world to greatness is the desire to be best. Kyrgios may well have the talent to be the best, but nobody said he had to have the desire to go with it.
Boris Becker, in a post-break up interview, let slip that Djokovic’s post French Open slump was accompanied by a lack of work behind the scenes. Having achieved the Career Slam it seems Djokovic had more desire to spend time with his family than hit the practice courts, and who can blame him? Being at the top of the game for as long as Djokovic has been must have taken a up a lot of time.
Kyrgios is much younger and his attention is divided between tennis and doing the kinds of things a 21 year old with a big bank balance would do, and who can blame him? The thing is, Djokovic, Federer, Nadal, even Murray; they all devoted their life to tennis first, and (in the case of Federer and Djokovic at least) took some time to for themselves after being the best of the best.
Kyrgios isn’t there yet.
He can be, but he’ll need to put the work in first. It’s one thing to joke about your unfulfilled potential at 21 years old, but before you know it you’re 31, and the joke isn’t funny anymore.
What do you think? Comments below!