Whether you’re a tennis fan or not, you know the name Nick Kyrigos. You also know that name is almost synonymous with dummy spits and on-court meltdowns.
In his latest match, at the Cincinatti Masters, Kyrigos went down in flames to his opponent Karen Khachanov 7-6 (7/3), 6-7 (4/7), 2-6.
But the worst part of his on-court performance had nothing to do with his athleticism. Once again, it was the childish and embarrassing monologue of abuse he delivered to the chair umpire. It’s up there with his more explosive dummy-spits, and it’s cost him $AUD167,000.
The fines racked up after Kyrigos lost his cool, for verbally abusing and swearing at the umpire, smashing two of his rackets, and his
bullshit unsportsmanlike behaviour.
The dummy-spit: how it happened
He began to rip into chair umpire Fergus Murphy because he, the self-proclaimed “fastest player on tour”, was put off by the countdown clock. And although Murphy never penalised Kyrigos for taking too long between points, the clock and Rafael Nadal’s notoriously slow serving ritual (not very relevant to this game, mate) set Kyrigos off.
“Why do I always have problems with this potato in the chair?”
He carried on (like a pork chop to the umpire “spud”) into the change of ends in the second tie break. And at this point, tennis became a sideshow.
The first code violation came when he swore at Murphy – the “worst ref ever” who, whenever Kyrigos plays, is always “doing some stupid shit”. K, mate, the umpire doesn’t have a vendetta against you.
During a ‘bathroom break’ (sans bathroom stop) Kyrigos walked into an empty hallway and smashed two rackets into the ground (in front of an accompanying linesman) before returning to court, sitting, and “gripping my [his] raquet, bro. Tough shit.”
Yeah, bro, tough shit when you’re chucking a wobbly.
Murphy gave Kyrigos a time violation when he kept delaying Khachanov’s serve by adjusting his grip. Kyrigos spat that he was free to serve, and that “because you [Murphy] can’t play tennis” he couldn’t see that “I’m standing in a return position”.
He played out the match with little-to-no effort, but was stilly fairly (and frustratingly) impressive, but inevitably lost.
After shaking hands with Khachanoc, Kyrigos turned to the umpire to hammer the nail in his coffin of respect.
“You’re a f***ing tool, bro,” he said, spitting in the umpire’s direction and refusing to shake hands.
Cough up, Nick.
After the game, the ATP released a statement, issuing the dummy-spitter with a $USD113,000 ($AUD167,000) fine.
I read War and Peace, The Iliad, The Odyssey, and the Holy Bible (King James Version) faster than it took me to get through the ATP’s entire list of Kyrgios fines. pic.twitter.com/7TnhgE7z7y
— Ricky Dimon (@Dimonator) August 15, 2019
The ATP said they will investigate further what happened during and after the match. They will “see if additional action is warranted under the Player Major Offense section of the code.”
Guys, a player called an umpire a spud, swore at him, refused to shake his hand, and (perhaps) spat at him. I think a little more than a slap on the wrist is warranted.
Why this fine means absolutely nothing
Yeah, it’s a big fine. But Kyrigos has been fined before.
In fact, since entering the ATP circuit, the guy’s racked up almost $250,000 in fines.
Kyrgios major career fines: $243.866
2019 Cincinnati 113000$
2019 Rome 20000$
2018 Queen’s 17500$
2018 AO 3000$
2017 Shanghai 31085$
2017 Us Open 5500$
2016 Shanghai 16500$
2016 Wimbledon 8690$
2016 RG 6200$
2016 AO 4370$
2015 W 13095$
2015 AO 4926$
(Anything missing ?)
— enrico maria riva (@enricomariariva) August 15, 2019
Time and time again, we watch Kyrigos’ matches with a combination of anger and shame. We have come to expect a meltdown every time he takes the court. And afterwards the conversation is the same:
“Grrr. He can’t carry on like this! Surely enough is enough. He has to be suspended from the tour.”
Yes, surely enough is enough. And, yes, fines won’t cut it.
Kyrigos has stated before that he doesn’t love tennis. Clearly, he’s in it for the wrong reasons. And the fact that he’s allowed to continue performing on the world stage – and earn more money and notoriety with each game – is shameful.
Especially when the ATP so heavily police female players – most notably Serena Williams. But it seems that the same instances of ‘temper tantrums’ go unnoticed, or maybe fined, when made by male athletes. And Kyrigos is, arguably the game’s biggest perpetrator of meltdowns. Why hasn’t he got the boot?
Because it’s entertainment. Seeing an athlete have an outburst and smash a raquet is thrilling.
But there’s danger in letting such a volatile player continue playing. He is able to create and feed a cult following made of seemingly (and worryingly) younger fans and aspiring athletes. It’s a vicious cycle, where his antics feed the fans who enjoy and then encourage (and may, mimic) more of this behaviour.
But for the rest of us, we’re over it. He needs to go.
Kyrigos doesn’t want to get banned. Because being barred from participating means that he can’t win any money, win or loss. It also means that the world doesn’t get to see him. That we don’t use our oxygen to say ‘he needs to bugger off’. It means he doesn’t get the attention he so desperately craves.
But maybe, if he gets banned, if the ATP grows a spine and appropriately punishes this man-child, he will start to change.
Image Sources: ESPN (via abc.com.au)