Can somebody please gift Nick Kyrgios a copy of Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People on his birthday next month? And this plea goes out to his family and friends, or anyone remotely concerned about the way his career is going, including the Australian’s Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt.
Kyrgios really needs that book, for he has this great ability to lose friends quicker than he can make them.
Last week, it was his Davis Cup teammate Bernard Tomic and this week, he has lost a few more of his sympathisers in the Australia following his loutish behaviour in Indian Wells.
Playing for the first time since withdrawing from his Dubai semi-final against Stan Wawrinka with a back problem – and the first time since his suspended 28-day ban expired in February – Kyrgios was back to his usual antics in Indian Wells and was docked a point for using foul language in his 7-6, 7-5 loss to Albert Ramos-Vinolas.
Kyrgios, who will be celebrating his 21st birthday on April 27, protested the penalty and play was held up as he, first, briefly took a seat among the crowd before returning to argue with the French chair umpire Damien Dumusois, who had also warned him earlier in the first set for smashing a ball high into the stands after hitting a return long on the first point of the tiebreaker.
Dumusois could be heard pleading with him to stop using swear words as Kyrgios continued his protects.
A match official in any other sport would not have been pleading like Dumusois was in that situation. A football referee, or indeed the match official in Kyrgios’s favourite sport basketball, would have simply ejected the player.
Perhaps, that is what Kyrgios needs – the tennis equivalent of a red card. A suspension, as some Australian pundits have suggested, would help the youngster rethink his behaviour. Nothing else seems to be working at the moment.
Or perhaps, we could take Australian John Newcombe’s suggestion.
“I think back to Ilie Nastase when he was having a great year in 1972/73 and he was behaving so badly that we all ostracised him in the dressing room for a year,” the seven-time major winner said last year, following the furore over Kyrgios’s tasteless sledge aimed at Wawrinka. “No-one would talk to him, and so he had to change his ways.”
Will ostracising work on Kyrgios? Doubtful. Nastase was different. For Kyrgios to mend his ways, he will first have to realise his worth as one of the sport’s torchbearer.
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