Tennis

U.S. Open: 2019 Nick Kyrgios Is Back Whether You Like It or Not

Whether you love him or hate him, Nick Kyrgios’ antics can be difficult to take. Just ask any umpire. But, he has loads of talent. Unfortunately, that talent is just about as inconsistent as his behavior.

In early August, Kyrgios, a 24-year-old Aussie, won the men’s singles at the Citi Open Tournament in D.C. beating out Russia’s Daniil Medvedev. But, he went down without much┬ádignity left at the Cincinnati Masters, where he lost to Karen Khachanov.

Kyrgios did not lose that match gratefully and said the umpire was “the worst umpire ever,” along with a few expletives. Within a few moments he managed to shatter a couple of rackets during an unauthorized bathroom break, and returned to continue his rant. And, now he’s on to the U.S. Open. What can we look forward to from Nick Kyrgios?

Temper, temper

His Cincinnati rampage wasn’t his first, and most certainly won’t be his last. Kyrgios has a history of airing his grievances for the world to hear. While he tends to blame the umpires, coaches, and sometimes even competitors, you have to feel he must know his play isn’t always up to snuff.

His tantrum in Cincinnati was his most expensive. He received $113,000 worth of fines from the Association of Tennis Professionals with further investigation still underway, and further actions and a possible suspension still pending.

During his Cincinnati outburst, his anger was aimed at chair umpire Fergus Murphy, who, according to Kyrgios at the time, is the “Worst f—ing ref ever. The worst ref in the game . . . The worst. Hands down.”

The fines are a culmination of audible obscenity, verbal abuse toward an umpire, ball abuse, leaving the court, and unsportsmanlike conduct. According to ESPN, Kyrgios, “repeatedly has gotten in trouble for on-court actions, including getting kicked out of the Italian Open in May after throwing a chair and being suspended by the ATP in 2016 for not trying to win and insulting fans during the Shanghai Masters.”

Even at the Citi Open, which he won, he couldn’t control his mouth. But, it is part of Kyrgios’ game despite his comments following that tourney, that “he had turned a page in his professional and personal lives.” Or, maybe not.

Ready for the U.S. Open

With no further action taken, as of yet, Nick Kyrgios was taken into the draw for the U.S. Open. For better or worse, the man brings attention to the game and the competition. Currently ranked No. 30, Kyrgios will open against No.82 Steve Johnson during prime time.

If he makes it past Johnson, Kyrgios could go deep at Flushing Meadows. He potentially will face either Leonardo Mayer or Antoine Hoang in the second round.

Is Nick Kyrgios good or bad for the sport?

Kyrgios is a polarizing figure among the tennis community. While some admire his fire, others think that he is a disgrace to the game. One person who came to his defense was Mats Wilander.

“I hope he doesn’t behave like he did in Cincinnati,” Wilander told the Express while talking about Kyrgios at the U.S. Open.“I think that every week that passes is showing more and more interest in wanting to win tennis matches and wanting to improve everything around him.”

Wilander continued, “I think when he did what he did in Cincinnati, of course it looks bad and, of course, there are children in the stands and the language is bad, but at least the way he is now in the last weeks, he is showing that he cares.”

Entering the U.S. Open, Nick Kyrgios is 151-89 in his career, with total career earnings of $7,818,143. Perhaps he can afford the $113-thousand-and-change in fines he incurred from Cincinnati. But, can his career?