Sorry Nick Kyrgios, but a grand slam win is light years away
Date: January 19, 2017 / Posted by Glenn Mitchell
Sadly, it was not the first time and doubtless it will not be the last.
His second-round loss to Italian world number 89, Andreas Seppi was yet another lost opportunity.
Pre-tournament Kyrgios was talking up his chances. What he threw up against Seppi was not the stuff of a man entrenched in the world’s top-20.
His unravelling last night was bizarre as Hisense Arena was transformed into Nonsense Arena. Two sets to love up and seemingly cruising towards a third-round clash with Belgian world number 71, Steve Darcis, a berth in the round of 16 was looking like a formality.
But from that point on it all went pear-shaped for the world number 13. He went from being energised and businesslike to someone who seemed totally disinterested.
In the space of eight minutes in the third set he copped two code violations for verbal and racquet abuse and, as a result, was docked a point. He also spent time yelling at his own support crew in the box. The theme seemed to be issues with the way he had been prepared for the tournament.
Suddenly, the pep in his step was gone as he moped around the court.
Everything seemed to have become a drudgery as his body language became akin to a man being led to the gallows. His shoulders slumped, he dragged his feet between points and before he knew it Seppi had levelled at two sets apiece.
Towards the pointy end of the final set things entered the realm of the seemingly unbelievable. With scores locked at five-all, staring at a break point, Kyrgios chose not to play a backhand to a ball that landed on the line.
The first point of the next game, with Seppi serving for the match, produced the most bizarre moment of the match. On what should have been a regulation groundstroke, Kyrgios chose to play the ball back between his legs.
A ‘tweener’ at that point wreaked of a man who could not care less.
Remarkably, he won the game to level at six-all before holding a match point at 7-8 on Seppi’s serve. He could not convert it and the Italian went on the claim the match 10-8 in the last.
Despite his lack of application for much of the last three sets the crowd did its best to will him on with each point won being met with raucous applause.
There were even boos when twice the Seppi kissed the net and the ball dropped over for a winner. But, when Kyrgios left the arena the boos were directed at him.
Take nothing away from Seppi, he hung tough and deserved the win but he was greatly aided in his endeavours by a man who appeared to have given up.
John McEnroe has spoken often of Kyrgios’ talent, but equally, he has called into question his attitude. He did so again after this defeat, saying, “What I don’t understand, what I can’t accept, is when he stops trying. It’s a black eye on the sport”.
McEnroe was never a role model for on-court behaviour but one thing he never did was tank.
One could only imagine what was truly going through the mind of Kyrgios’ Davis Cup captain.
Lleyton Hewitt was doing his best to comment on what he was witnessing but I doubt he really expressed his full thoughts. For a man who fought for every point in every match he played he must have been gutted to see such a limp performance from a fellow Australian.
The fans deserved better. They deserved to see a full commitment towards winning.
Some will say that they should know what to expect when they part with their hard earned to watch Kyrgios play. The problem is, fans pay for tickets to a grand slam well before the schedule is released.
Last night they were ‘treated’ to a man who cared little for the result.
Kyrgios’ media conference contained little remorse, with his opening answer being, “I am not going to beat myself up about it.” He did however allude to one area of his game when he said, “I don’t think there is anyone else in the top-100 without a coach except me. I think the mental thing is big to me. That’s when a coach would be good.”
Time will tell as to whether he will engage a full-time mentor.
Regardless, the current world number 13 appears a long way away from seriously threatening for a major, let alone winning one.
Yes, he may have the talent, but as he freely admitted last night his mentality is not at the level that is required.
First published on The Roar – theroar.com.au – on 19 January 2017