When Nick Kyrgios stunned the tennis world at Wimbledon in 2014, Australia had seemingly unearthed something special that would take over the mantle from Lleyton Hewitt as the nation’s great white hope.
Bernard Tomic had been acting up and Hewitt was nearing the end of his glittering career, so the new talent making his breakthrough was such an exciting prospect.
Fast forward eight years, and Kyrgios only has one additional singles Grand Slam quarterfinal at the 2015 Australian Open with a plethora of controversies plaguing his career.
Even at a time of great triumph throughout this year’s Australian Open where he and Thanasi Kokkinakis saluted in an unlikely championship run, he made enemies left, right and centre with opponents Michael Venus, Max Purcell, Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic all irritated with his on court antics during the doubles event.
Daniil Medvedev was even critical of Kyrgios’ behaviour throughout the Australian Open, with others labelling the crowd atmosphere a zoo at John Cain Arena.
The carry on and the disrespect of opponents, officials and the sport is honestly becoming all too much.
It has all reared its head again at Wimbledon after his five-set win over Brit Paul Jubb, where he has argued with a lines judge, belittled her in front of the crowd and spat at a spectator for ‘disrespecting’ him.
His press conference following his victory was eye opening to say the least, as he unleashed on a range of topics from spectators to officials.
“A lot of disrespect was being thrown today from the crowds,” he said.
“I’m just starting to think that it’s normal when it’s really not.
“I didn’t say anything to the crowd until they started just every time I came down to the far end, people just going. It’s just I don’t know if it’s normal or not.
“Just pure disrespect, just anything. Someone just yelled out I was s**t in the crowd today. Is that normal? No. I just don’t understand why it’s happening over and over again.
“Have you ever gone to a supermarket and just started berating someone scanning the groceries? No. So why do they do it when I’m at Wimbledon? Why is that?”
Kyrgios continued by stating that older people have worse eyesight than people of a younger age, before backing up his statement calling an official a ‘snitch with no fans’.
There is a hell of a lot to unpack in this, but the controversy always seems to follow him around, whether it’s on the court, in a press conference or on social media.
Look, fans shouldn’t attend sporting events to berate athletes, that’s not on, but for Kyrgios to spit back is quite disgraceful.
Then to question a line judge’s ability to make a call because of their age? I mean come on that is a load of garbage.
Furthermore, to label another official a snitch for alerting the umpire to a possible issue is another low act.
It’s a way of bullying and antagonising, these people are there to do a job and quite frankly Kyrgios is acting like a child that has been told he can’t have a chocolate bar at the supermarket.
Unfortunately there is a common denominator across all of the controversies, and that is Nick himself, he has nobody else to blame.
Yes he may get his fair share of hate, which is abhorrent and must be stamped out, but it is the way he combats it all that is the issue, and half the time it is instigated by himself.
If we cast our eyes back to the Australian Open doubles final, it was Kyrgios who asked for a fan to be removed in the final game of the match because of disruption, but he was the one that said tennis needed to be more entertaining and that the spectators needed to be treated to a show.
Well, he has made tennis look like a circus.
He is so unbelievably talented with a racket in his hands, but that cannot be all the public sees in him, because this is where the enabling starts.
It actually may have gone too far already.
The Australian public has given Kyrgios the keys to the car and is allowing him to act in whichever way he pleases, is this who we are as a society?
Just because someone can hit a ball over a net well does not mean they are exempt to social conventions.
You can’t act like a child and carry on whilst expecting the world to praise you and shower you in positive feedback.
If Kyrgios is flummoxed as to why crowd behaviour towards him is polarising, he’s kidding himself, and it’s becoming more and more frustrating to watch by the day.
We have been so used to the way of Ash Barty and her humility, as well as the wonderful personalities of Australians such as Alex de Minaur, Luke Saville, Daria Saville, Sam Stosur, Kokkinakis and of course John Millman, not to mention the countless others that fly the flag so brilliantly for this nation.
Look at Carlos Alcaraz, he is pure box office when he plays tennis. He knows how to engage the crowd and he lets his tennis do the talking.
It’s at times like this where I envy Spain, they have had Nadal and Ferrer for years and now they get Alcaraz too, while we have to endure this here in Australia.
I have tried to support Kyrgios and I do enjoy watching his tennis, but not what comes with it.
Supporting him is too hard, because it is behaviour that I simply cannot condone.