Tennis

Nick Kyrgios Is Going to Self-Destruct Before He Wins a Grand Slam

Nick Kyrgios is a wildly talented tennis player. He’s also something of a hothead with anger issues. Kyrgios’ lack of control over his temper lands him in the headlines often. Recently, he got into hot water at the Cincinnati Masters — just another in a long line of meltdowns for Kyrgios. Based on the way he’s going, Kyrgios will self-destruct before he ever wins a Grand Slam.

Career highlights of Nick Kyrgios

While Kyrgios gains publicity for his outbursts, the tennis player has consistently shown flashes of brilliance. The ATP ranked Kyrgios 30th in the world. The 24-year-old turned pro in 2013 and has a career record of 151-89 (19-12 in 2019 alone). He’s 20-32 versus top-10 opponents. And he’s won six titles in his career, including: 

  • 2019: Washington, Acapulco
  • 2018: Brisbane
  • 2016: Tokyo, Atlanta, Marseille

Performing best on hard surfaces, Kyrgios has a 35-23 career record in Grand Slam events and has won over $7.8 million in prize money. His career-high ranking was No. 13 in 2016. Based on his achievements alone, Kyrgios seems like a player with promise. But his on-court antics garner the most attention.

Examples of his temper

Kyrgios has a history of losing his cool. His most recent one came at the Cincinnati Masters. USA Today covered his poor behavior, explaining that Kyrgios wanted a bathroom break during his second-round match at the Cincinnati Masters. Chair umpire Fergus Murphy denied him the break, and the tennis player took one anyway, exiting with two rackets. USA Today continued:

When he returned? He had two broken rackets after smashing them. That wasn’t all. He apparently shouted expletives at Murphy, calling him an ‘(expletive) tool.'”

Deadspin reported that Kyrgios spit at the umpire and later received a fine of $113,000. This was hardly an isolated incident. For someone who’s relatively young, the 24-year-old has a long history of tantrums and meltdowns as summarized by ESPN: 

  • Three warnings for “obscenities and racquet smashing” in at the 2014 U.S. Open
  • A tawdry “war of words” on Twitter with fellow ATP Tour pro Stan Wawrinka in March 2015
  • Racket throwing as well as repeated cursing at an umpire at Wimbledon 2015. (He closed out the tournament by “giving up” near the end of his final match.)
  • A July 2016 tweet stating that he preferred playing Pokemon Go to tennis 
  • Telling fans at the 2016 Shanghai Masters that they “could just leave” if they didn’t like how he played. (He was fined $16,500 for his lack of effort during the match.)

Other infamous tennis meltdowns

Kyrgios isn’t the only tennis player to lose it on the court. USA Today compiled a list of tennis meltdowns. Here are some of the craziest ones: 

  • At the 2012 Australian Open, Marcos Baghdatis was so angry with his performance that he smashed not one, not two, not three, but four rackets. 
  • At the 2008 Australian Open, a frustrated Andy Roddick asked the umpire, “Do you have ears?” after a call he deemed bad. 
  • At the 1999 French Open final, Martina Hingis was winning against Steffi Graff when Hingis disputed a call. She stopped playing until a referee addressed her. When play resumed, Graf came back and beat Hingis. 
  • After a 2011 U.S. Open umpire issued Serena Wiliams a violation for yelling, “Come on!” before her opponent reached the ball, Williams lost it. She told the umpire to “look the other way.”

The difference between a player like Williams and Kyrgios? Kyrgios has yet to win a Grand Slam. If he can’t find a way to maintain his composure, he may self-destruct before ever winning a Grand Slam event.