Andy Murray On Kyrgios: 'He's Brilliant For Tennis, But...'
There are few tennis fans without a strong opinion on Nick Kyrgios, tennis' No. 1 showman and temperamental genius. Here are a few reasons why...
This week alone during his title run at the Citi Open, Kyrgios electrified crowds. He fist-bumped courtside fans and three times asked front-row patrons where to serve on match point. He hand-delivered shoes mid-match to his semi-final opponent Stefanos Tsitsipas, served underarm and threw in a 'drop shot' serve. He also served at more than 140mph and, of course, entertained with the obligatory tweeners, drop shots and scorching forehands. Before matches he played ping pong with kids in the players' lounge.
"Are you not entertained," he asked the crowd during his first-round win over Thai-Son Kwiatkowski.
But he also threw a drink bottle into the side of the umpire's chair, scolded members of his players' box, seemed to lose interest during the second set against Tsitsipas, tossed his racquet as frequently as a chef tosses a salad and sprinkled F-bombs into his on-court commentary as liberally as a fan throws salt on french fries.
"When he's mentally engaged in the matches he's brilliant for tennis because he has an exciting game, a big personality and he's different," Murray said. "People enjoy watching that. I enjoy watching that. His match with Rafa at Wimbledon was one of the best matches of the tournament. That's really good for tennis.
"As someone who knows him well, I like him. I just want to see him do that all of the time. I don't like it when he doesn't try as hard as... I have behaved badly myself, so it would be hypocritical of me to say that I am an angel."
Before Sunday's final at the Citi Open - in which Kyrgios defeated Russian Daniil Medvedev 7-6(6), 7-6(4) - he was left with just one match racquet after a miscalculation. He started the week with just three match racquets after giving one to charity in Atlanta, and he smashed two in D.C. (His father FedExed him another five from Canberra, with the racquets arriving on site at 10 a.m. on Sunday after some help from tournament owner Mark Ein to have them extricated from Dulles airport.)
"Everyone matures at different ages," Murray said. "Some people are ready when they are 18, 19 to deal with what comes with being a top athlete and some people aren't ready and it takes them a bit of time. I'm hoping that with time Nick will learn and be better for it.
"When he's engaged in tennis and wants to play he's brilliant for the game. And when he isn't giving his best effort and misbehaving, that's not what people want to see. He needs to find that balance."
Kyrgios has now won six ATP titles, including three at the 500 level (also Tokyo 2016, Acapulco 2019).
He now heads to Montreal for the Coupe Rogers, where he faces a tough opener against Brit Kyle Edmund in the first round. If he wins, he'll face a re-match with Medvedev.
Editor's Note: This story was most recently updated at 9.40am EDT Sunday after the Kyrgios camp clarified that Nick began his US tour with four match racquets in Atlanta but arrived in Washington with three match racquets after donating one racquet to charity in Atlanta. In Washington, he broke two racquets in the lead-up to the final, leaving him with just one match racquet and a different model Yonex racquet belonging to his manager, John Morris.