That question grew roots in my mind as I watched Nick Kyrgios distastefully tank his match against Mischa Zverev. Bans are deterrents used to punish athletes whose actions go against the rules of the sport. However those rules are created to do one basic thing: ensure the sport’s image, integrity and quality isn’t damaged by an errant players actions. That being said, are there bans for players like Nick Kyrgios?
When he burst into the tennis limelight at Wimbledon, two years ago, everyone saw in Kyrgios the kind of engaging personality and electric talent needed to take the game forward. His big stage personality and his firepower were heralded as the intrinsic qualities of a different kind of champion to what had become the docile norm of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic. Boy were we wrong.
Kyrgios has been a prolific controversy gift bag since then. He’s gone from brash and fearless, to tennis brat and finally with this tanking stunt to a downright disgrace. I thought John McEnroe was a bit over the top when he suggested Kyrgios consider another career or buckle up. Now I know he was just being honest. Even JMAC – the handful that he was – did not sink to these depressing lows. He did and continues to contribute immensely to the sport, while inspiring tomorrow’s champions.
Tennis doesn’t need a Nick Kyrgios undermining all the work of the great champions before him. Tennis doesn’t need Nick Kyrgios shaming the sport. In the end, he’s right. He doesn’t owe the fans anything, so let’s just not have any more of him.