For all the wrong reasons, athletes fall flat on their faces with suspension for doping (Justin Gatlin), accusations of cheating (Novak Djokovic, would you believe?) and prison term for inter-state dog fighting (Michael Vick, who has served his sentence), among others who have parlayed their fame for notoriety, deserved or not.
Now comes the worse of them, apparently, in the person of Nick Kyrgios, an up and coming Australian tennis player, whose on-and off-court behavior would not get him an invite to anyone’s house.
Kyrgios is overrated, although he is touted as the next big thing to visit his adopted country probably after native-born Lleyton Hewitt, whose star has faded with age and also probably focus.
The latest incident reportedly had the Australian, 20, trash-talking, telling Stan Wawrinka, a Swiss, that “Kokkinakis banged your girlfriend,” which was picked by on-court microphone at the Rogers Cup in Montreal last week.
Kokkinakis is Thanasi Kokki¬nakis, another young Australian (19), who, to his credit, has tried to distance himself from Kyrgios.
The girlfriend is Donna Vecic, a Croatian, who must be hurting from what the kissing-and-telling Kyrgios is saying about her, when he is not even her boyfriend!
Kyrgios is an under-achiever, no matter the high hopes of Australian tennis about a player who will possibly help lift the game in which the country was once king.
He has not won a second-tier ATP tournament as a singles player, not even a Tier 2 stop as a doubles player.
So what gives?
He is channeling whatever talent he may possibly have to less important aspects of the game—showmanship, “character,” angst and other youthful “entitlements.”
The result is that Kyrgios wins a match big-time, loses another, also big-time, and so he never even gets near the podium.
If they say he is as good as what they think he is, he should be winning tournaments right now, not when he is 21 or 22 because as he gets on in years, other equally young, bad-ass and arrogant upstarts are coming out of the woodwork.
Think Maria Sharapova (a Grand Slam champion at 17), Serena Williams (also a Slam winner when she was 19) or Marat Safin (US Open titleholder at 20).
Safin matched his impetuosity with real talent and went on to win the Australian Open a decade or so later.
Other possible role models for Kyrgios are John McEnroe, Andre Agassi and, incredible it may sound, the great Roger Federer, who is known to be reprimanded for foul language and rocket abuse fresh out of Switzerland but look where he is now at age 34—still at the top.
Please, Nick Kyrgios, talk about your own girlfriend but absolutely not in the way you do about other people’s girlfriend.
What did Donna do to you in the first place?