Tennis Prose



King Kyrgios Wins In Defeat

By Scoop Malinowski

As the tennis establishment tries to homogonize, sanitize, political correctify pro tennis by admonishing and punishing bad behavior, Nick Kyrgios stands tall and proud and continues to fight the good fight to keep tennis interesting, exciting, buzzworthy, and controversial.

Yesterday vs Nadal at Indian Wells, Kyrgios was irritated by the crowd’s disrespect and favoritism for his opponent and expressed his dissatisfaction. At one point he firmly told a front row fan to not tell him how to behave on court, adding that he himself wouldn’t dare to tell another front row fan Ben Stiller how to act.

Nick said it with diplomacy, whereas other tennis stars of the 19770s and 80s might have said it more blunt and less PC: “Just STFU and watch us play, you couldn’t carry my jockstrap. I’m out here bustin my ass off giving you people what you want, a great battle, trying to beat the goat and doing my best so take your damned advice and shove it where the moon don’t shine. I don’t tell Ben Stiller how to act, so you shouldn’t tell me.”

Former ATP champion Sander Groen defends Nick too: “No matter how bad his behavior, tennis needs characters like Kyrgios to keep it more interesting. Too many boring characters already. This seems to be a part of most players with explosive and genuis games….let’s not forget how well Goran, Marat and Johnny Mac were liked.”

And those tennis rebels gave the sport controversy, drama, and many magical moments of genius. Sure, they crossed the line a few times here and there but frustration and rage is an element of the sport. These players have dedicated their lives to being tennis champions and when they fail or choke, they have every right to vent their anger and frustration. If the tennis fan can’t handle the reality that tennis can be a brutal, vicious, cruel and sometimes a blood sport, maybe they need to go watch bowling or golf.

Sure, Nick was wrong to bounce that Yonex off the court which almost hit a ballkid, moments after losing to Nadal yesterday in a heartbreaking, devastating 67 75 46 defeat. Nick poured his heart and soul on the court trying to beat the goat, trying to salvage his own career as his ranking is in the 130s. He failed and he blew a gasket. Whoop de damned do. But everyone went home happy and excited and inspired by the unforgettable tennis masterpiece they just witnessed.

If Nick’s racquet hit the kid, he’d be suspended for a year minimum and fined heavily, sued heavily and maybe even given a one way ticket to hell. But the racquet didn’t hit the kid and that’s that.

Tennis is getting more boring by the month. More cliches. More political correctness. More boring interviews. More boring press conferences. More boring matches from the likes of Sinner, Ruud, Norrie, etc. Tennis desperately needs Kyrgios and his unique brand of flair, charisma, honesty, authenticity, rebel attitude, and flamboyant playing style. No, tennis needs about ten more Nicks.

To stunt and discourage Kyrgios from being Kyrgios is a big mistake, just as it would have been a fatal error to homogenize John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Ilie Nastase, Marat Safin, Marcelo Rios and Lleyton Hewitt.

One of the many appeals and attractions of tennis is to see the wide range of diverse personalities and how they deal with the pressures, stresses, tensions and grudges in the heat of battle. Joy, relief, redemption, thrill and ecstasy are a part of the theater just as much as rage, fury, ego, arrogance, deception, frustration, and verbal expression.

Nick did not win the match yesterday but for the fight to save the overall authenticity of the sport, he did not lose.

As the Beatles once sang, “Let it be.” Enough said…

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  • Doug Day · March 18, 2022 at 8:48 pm

    Nick is maturing finally. That was a great match by two guys worthy of video game characterization. Its truly good box office for Nick to bring his big outsiders game inside the staid stands of places like Wimbledon. And for at-risk kids tennis my save their life, not to put to fine a point on it.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 18, 2022 at 9:56 pm

    Right Doug, tennis is starving for what Nick brings to the table. He appeals to kids, rebels, adults, old time tennis writers. Never forget seeing Nick ask adult women for serving tips at Citi Open and watching Nick vs Coric at Miami Open in press row on a hot sunny afternoon with Peter Bodo, Dan and Richard Pagliaro. It’s the only time I ever remember seeing Bodo out at a court watching a match, he’s always in the press room or interview room. Nick is a magnet for tennis fans.



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