Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios has undoubtedly established himself as a divisive figure in the tennis world as of late. Coupled with the incredibly high level of his play, his explosive on-court outbursts have made him a player of great renown.
Whether you love him or love to hate him, it can’t be denied that he is an entertaining player to watch.
Kyrgios has made the news for reasons separate from his tennis; following the Wimbledon championships in 2022, he was sued for defamation after he asked the umpire to eject a spectator who, as he put it, “looked like she’d had about 700 drinks.” This outburst was hot off the heels of a code violation for swearing on-court during the same match. This case was quietly settled, with Kyrgios donating £20,000 to Great Ormond Street Hospital.
More concerning, however, was Kyrgios’ most recent run-in with the law. He was accused of assault by his ex-girlfriend, Chiara Passari, who claimed he shoved her over following an argument. Kyrgios pleaded guilty to the charges, but the case was dismissed by the judge, who decided that the offence was “low-level” and that Kyrgios was not at risk of re-offending.
Despite the charges being dropped, this cannot have been a positive event for Kyrgios’s image. He has already been labelled aggressive on-court, and an assault case certainly does not help to soften his character to onlookers. His confrontational, racquet-smashing style has become his trademark, and it is difficult to imagine him shaking that image.
As a player, he comes across as hostile. He declines to play any tournament other than the four majors and does not practice all year round. He would undoubtedly be a force to be reckoned with on the ATP tour if he chose to complete the full season, but he refrains on the valid grounds of mental health. Kyrgios has publicly stated that if he wins a grand slam, he will, in all likelihood, choose to retire. He was very vocal about his struggles in the new documentary, Break Point, the first episode focused on the player and his unique approach to the tennis season.
Kyrgios was unable to play at the first Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open, due to injury. His ranking, relative to his track record, is relatively low, sitting at number 19. This is mainly due to his choice of playing at a minimal number of tournaments. Perhaps 2023 will be his last year on tour, as he has been edging closer to a Grand Slam victory for a while now.
It will certainly be interesting to watch him grapple with his aggressive reputation as he begins the season. Hopefully, he will steer clear of run-ins with the law from this point on.
Image Credit: “Nick Kyrgios” by Carine06 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.