Nick Kyrgios – Wimbledon Final Only the Beginning for Tennis’ Masterful Maverick
By Alfred Little
Whether they like it or not, tennis fans are going to be seeing a lot more of Nick Kyrgios in years to come. On his journey to the final of Wimbledon in July 2022, the Australian appeared to have the world of tennis at his feet.
Kyrgios put on a grand performance throughout the tournament displaying his impressive range of shots, deadly serve, and an occasional degree of showboating. It took the irrepressible Novak Djokovic to stop him winning his first tennis grand slam on centre court, with the Serbian winning his 29th successive match at Wimbledon & lifting the trophy for the seventh time in the process. Kyrgios himself labelled Djokovic as ‘A bit of a God’ in a typically frank interview following the match.
“Wimbledon 2016” by Rhurrill is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
While his tennis ability is on display for all to see, what draws people to Kyrgios are his interactions outside of play. His behaviour and conduct are considered rash and there is a history of heated conversations with umpires, crowd members & interviewers. Tennis is a sport which holds true to its traditions, against which Kyrgios appears to be a wildcard. His lack of compliance with guidelines divides opinion among spectators.
‘What a loser, Even made me want Djokovic to win by the end’ - @piersmorgan on Twitter.
Complaints and frustrations vocalised by Kyrgios on court can be perceived as petulance. During the final, Kyrgios consistently hounded his family for support and also protested about crowd distractions to the umpire. Many spectators were upset with the language used by Kyrgios in the final, particularly in front of the royal box including Prince George.
He was also the subject of controversy in the quarter final after sporting a red baseball cap and shoes after the bout, going against the all-white dress code of the event. When questioned about the rule breach, Kyrgios simply stated: “If I wanna wear my Jordans, I wear my Jordans” while appearing unfazed with the backlash and fines due to come his way. His disregard to the rules brings distaste among fans of the sport. However, some viewers see the actions of Kyrgios in a different light.
“He moves the needle for us in tennis, we need this big time!” – John McEnroe
John McEnroe, a legendary figure in the sport, spoke highly of Nick Kyrgios as a pioneer for tennis in a new direction. His views are shared by many spectators who find that Kyrgios as a personality makes the sport of tennis more interesting and enjoyable to watch. This interest is validated by the amount of Twitter mentions for players during the tournament. Nick Kyrgios was mentioned 219k times, with only Nadal (237k) and Djokovic (376k) being spoken about more on the platform. This shows that Kyrgios can not only compete with the best on the court, but also off of it by bringing widescale interest levels among spectators.
Regardless of which side of the fence the majority lie when it comes to Nick Kyrgios, he is likely not going anywhere, nor changing his ways any time soon. When asked if he was ‘hungry for more’ after the final, he responded saying “Absolutely not, I’m so tired, honestly” in humorous fashion. Despite this comment, the 27-year-old clearly has the talent to feature in many grand slam finals in the coming years. His personality may also prove to be a catalyst for tennis stars emerging away from the traditional conduct. While this may appear disrespectful to some, others will welcome free spirits like Nick Kyrgios into elite tennis and observe their careers with greater fondness.