Tennis Prose



Jimmy Arias Suggests Kyrgios Is A Bad Influence on Tiafoe

By Scoop Malinowski

Jimmy Arias is always an interesting interview and TV match analyst who has shown over the years he will mix in blunt criticisms of players with his expert analysis.

If a player does good things on the court, Arias will credit it. If they do bad things on or off court, Arias will question it or mildly denounce it.

Today during the Kyrgios vs Medvedev match in Rome on the Tennis Channel, Arias made some comments about the underachieving Australian that most TV commentators would not dare to make.

At first, Arias credited and appreciated the variety and creativity and risk-taking of the  Kyrgios arsenal. Arias liked Nick’s use of drop shots, underhanded serving and even hitting right at Medvedev. At one point, Kyrgios hit drop shots on three points in a row and even tried a fake dropper and disguised it with a forehand blast.

But then Arias targeted the aspects of Kyrgios that has confounded the tennis world – his work ethic and inconsistent competitive attitude. Arias cited the “ego” of Kyrgios for his inexplicable fluctuations of intensity, where it seems he rebels against giving 100% effort and hustle against certain players he feels are inferior or that he should beat. Arias suggested it will be very hard for Kyrgios to change this characteristic at his age (24).

Then, Arias kept talking about one of the most intriguing figures in professional tennis during the Frances Tiafoe vs Joao Sousa match. Arias noted that Tiafoe and Kyrgios are good friends and that they spend time together hanging out and he questioned if that was a good decision by Tiafoe to be influenced by a controversial, underachieving star like Kyrgios. Arias bluntly said, “If I was Frances’ father, I would discourage him from hanging out with Nick.”

In the TV tennis world we rarely hear commentators tell it like it is or say anything remotely challenging or questioning of a star player. Arias deserves credit for showing such commentating bravery.

Kyrgios will surely hear about what Arias said today. It will be interesting to see how these comments provoke him or perhaps will they strike a nerve that may help him in the long run.



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  • Dan Markowitz · May 14, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    That is a pretty bold–and questionable–statement to make that Tiafoe shouldn’t hang with Kyrgios.

    How about Fritz and his European clay court season knocking off Schwartzmann at MC and now Pella who’s been red hot on the dirt, in Rome.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 14, 2019 at 2:32 pm

    Dan, how so? Do you thin Nick’s example is good for a young player? Or would players like Thiem and Tsitsipas have more positive impact? Even though Nick is a great player he is also in many matches a bad player. That inconsistency is a negative trait. And guess what Tiafoe’s biggest issue is…inconsistency of results.

  • Anonymous · May 14, 2019 at 11:26 pm

    It should not be a surprise that Weller Evans will be named to the ATP player council. Lapentti has no chance.

    In reality, the key was to whittle down the field to this group to cement Evans’ status. Burke is too young, the job was too big for Nunn, Knowles never had the support and the two Nicolas were never going to be real factors.

    Guys like Mayotte and Gilbert didn’t make the cut because they were threats to beat Evans. That’s why a guy like Brendan Burke was pushed in as a finalist – so Evans had little opposition. Not to mention that rabble rousers like Michael Russell never came close to understanding the politics of the operation.

    I like Weller a lot and I do believe he is above reproach but there are strange undercurrents with the players at this time and it seems he is being installed to ensure of the agenda that is being set forth.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 15, 2019 at 4:03 am

    Agree fully Anonymous. I have high regard and great respect foe Weller Evans, truly a super guy and credit to the sport. Yes it certainly does seem he may be being installed as a puppet for this unknown hidden agenda. Thanks again Anonymous, love your revelations.

  • Dan Markowitz · May 15, 2019 at 7:09 am


    Just because Tiafoe hangs out with Kyrgios doesn’t mean he’s going to have the same low work ethic of Nick. Borg used to hang out a lot with Gerulaitis and maybe Vitas introduced Borg to drugs, but last count Borg had 11 slam wins while Vitas had zero.

    This Anonymous cat, are you sure he’s not your alter ego?

  • Dan Markowitz · May 15, 2019 at 7:24 am

    Dudi Sela, all of 34, beat Roy Smith, the young American from New Haven, Ct. love and 2 in S. Korea challenger. Dudi may have dropped to no. 240, but he’s still formidable.

  • Hartt · May 15, 2019 at 8:49 am

    Tennis Canada has a new podcast, Match Point Canada. Obviously their main focus is Canadian tennis, but they cover other stories as well. In their 2nd episode they had an interview with Tim Mayotte, just before the vote for the ATP board member.

    He was concerned about the conflicts of interest, and said he was shocked to learn that Gimelstob, when a Board member, received a contract to produce videos for the ATP. He also thought that communication from the Board to the players had to improve. He thinks one way to do that is to make the Board position full time, so that the members could be on the road more with the players. The compensation would need to be increased so that Board members would not need other jobs in tennis.

    He was asked about the remaining candidates. Of Evans, he said he is a “very respected person in the tennis community” who “really understands the sport.” However, he went on to say “there are some people who are concerned that he is really going to keep Justin in the loop.” He thinks that is what Novak wants, and it concerns him “to a certain extent.”

    He thinks Weller will win and hopes that he will do job that is right for all the players and not just for a certain sector of them.

    He thinks Lapentti has a chance at the position.

  • catherine · May 15, 2019 at 8:51 am

    From this story seems like Frances and Nick are cut from different pieces of cloth – no reason they shouldn’t be friends though.

  • catherine · May 15, 2019 at 8:57 am

    All this about the ATP Players’ Council makes Brexit negototiations seem like a gsme of tiddlywinks.

    For once I prefer the WTA. I don’t even know if they have a Players’ Council. If there is one I bet it’s pretty toothless.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 15, 2019 at 9:41 am

    Dan, let’s take a look at the players who hung around the most with Kyrgios – Sock, Kokkinakis and Kozlov – where are they all now? I see a pattern.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 15, 2019 at 9:52 am

    Dan are we really sure many other top players back in that era were not using drugs or drinking a lot? We both have heard stories about excessive partying by players other than McEnroe, Borg and Gerulaitis, at least I have.

  • catherine · May 15, 2019 at 11:44 am

    Scoop – there was a lot of cocaine around in the 70s/early 80s (‘white line fever’), probably more than booze. One particular character around the ATP tour, not a player, was a known supplier. Borg wasn’t into it as much as some others and McEnroe cleaned up his act a bit. A number of other peripheral people, journalists among them, partied busily too. A lot of dope was smoked.

    Then drug controls got a lot stricter and times changed. No one’s written a tell-all about those days yet, partly because some of the guilty are still living I suppose.

  • jg · May 15, 2019 at 1:12 pm

    when I saw that Tiafoe was practicing with Kyrgios the day before his first round match in Rome, I predicted the loss.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 15, 2019 at 3:05 pm

    Coco gauff also practiced with kyrgios in Miami and she’s had some tough losses lately too.

  • Hartt · May 15, 2019 at 3:51 pm

    I never thought I would defend Nick Kyrgios, but he is hardly to blame for Kokkinakis, who has had one injury after another.

    It sounds like Tiafoe has a lot of friends on the tour. He and Shapo are chums, and Denis has to be a good influence! 🙂

    In a long interview on No Challenges Remaining, Nick said he liked CSN a lot, and would like to play mixed doubles with her. I hope that doesn’t mean a slump for Carla. 🙁

    Nick’s comments in the interview about Rafa and Novak have received attention in the media, although actually his comments about Verdasco were much harsher. As you’d expect, he is very complimentary about Murray and Federer.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 15, 2019 at 6:38 pm

    Hartt, is Kokkinakis injured again? He is good friends with Nick. Nick wanting to play mixed doubles with Carla Suarez Navarro sure is another headline making oddball comment, predictable this guy is not. I didn’t find Verdasco to be arrogant at all, I did a Biofile with him and he was pure class and humble, this was about eight years ago at US Open.

  • Anonymous · May 16, 2019 at 1:08 am

    One more story out of Rome was the incredible Novak Djokovic press conference the other day in which he wasquestioned on his role with the Player Council.

    It was strange to see Novak answer publicly the reporter Ben Rothenberg’s pointed line of questioning when the ATP attempted to quell this topic. That created an opening for Novak to be asked directly about Roger Rasheed’s dismissal and he responded with an obfuscating non-answer. Many tennis observers were not happy that Novak chose to address this in this fashion since it demonstrates pretty clearly that the players see any person supporting the tournaments over their interests as persona non grata.

    His behavior is more proof that the addition of Weller Evans – which has been known about since it became clear Gimelstob would have to leave – could be a poisoned chalice.

  • catherine · May 16, 2019 at 1:26 am

    Nick’s interview was certainly a fun read but, really, what was the point of it ? Nick has more energy than he knows what to do with and only some of it gets onto the tennis court. I’d be interested to see what happens to him when he grows up.

    Sharapova really should retire. She’s an embarrassment.

  • catherine · May 16, 2019 at 1:39 am

    Trust Petko to rip off the the WTA ‘It Takes’ campaign.
    She tweets her bit (‘nerves and a good physio’) and then claims ‘nobody asked me’.

    None of the WTA marketing geniuses semmed to realise how open to spoof (and a lot more) that silly slogan is. I hope the whole thing becomes the laughing-stock it deserves to be.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 16, 2019 at 4:51 am

    Anonymous, I saw the video of Rothenberg determined but futile efforts to get Djokovic to reveal anything about this regime change but of course nothing was said but a whole lotta nothing. They have successfully cloaked their secret agenda. It will take a Rasheed or Wawrinka or a new rebel to help Rothenberg or Briggs to crack the case. Thanks again Anonymous, enjoy your contributions.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 16, 2019 at 4:53 am

    At a should do a spin off of Behind the racquet or a biofile. This new campaign is just a cliche collection.

  • catherine · May 16, 2019 at 7:02 am

    Scoop – do you mean the WTA ? Couldn’t agree more. Poor Ostapenko got left with ‘personality’ since she hasn’t won much in a long while. She comes across as nice enough and you have to feel sympathy for her. I haven’t seen Angie’s contribution yet – maybe ‘courtesy in defeat’ ?

    Larry Stefanki swats a few – seems be the season – and pulls no punches on Bouchard’s desire to be a model/tennis player and also pinions Dimitrov’s vanity which I mentioned a while back.

    Kiki M bts Bencic in today’s opener.

    I wish Anonymous would reveal himself – does he have political ambitions of his own ? Simon Briggs is on a personal mission to uncover skulduggery and be named Sportswriter of the Year 🙂

  • catherine · May 16, 2019 at 7:09 am

    Kiki has to play twice today – next up is Barty and I can’t see Kiki winning that – seems very unfair – wasn’t Kiki’s fault it rained.

  • catherine · May 16, 2019 at 7:17 am

    And Barty hasn’t played today which makes this schedule seem even more unfair. Konta bts Stephens, Muguruza removes Collins and Julia G retires again. Julia should stop for a while. Just skip the clay.

  • catherine · May 16, 2019 at 9:32 am

    Big crowd to see Marketa Vondrousova bt Halep in 3 sets. Vondrousova is a very promising player and maybe the one Czechs are looking for to follow the older generation.

  • Hartt · May 16, 2019 at 12:44 pm

    Many, many players had to play twice today. Even 3 times if they play their scheduled doubles matches.

    I am not a happy camper. Verdasco beat both Thiem and Khachanov today. Why did he have to choose those matches to play well? He is scheduled to play doubles with Shapo as a partner later today. I wonder if he will withdraw.

  • Hartt · May 16, 2019 at 12:53 pm

    Scoop, I think Kokkinakis is injured yet again. He had to withdraw from Monte Carlo and I have not seen any sign of him since then. Earlier this season he was out for 3 months with a right pectoral injury.

  • Hartt · May 16, 2019 at 12:56 pm

    Why is Stefanki taking a shot at Bouchard? She hasn’t exactly been a factor on the Tour for some years now. It sounds like he wants some attention himself.

  • Thomas Tung · May 16, 2019 at 12:57 pm

    Speaking of Kyrgios, he “defaulted” himself today in his match with Casper Ruud, after splitting the first two sets:

    Close up of Nick (you can hear him clearly) here:

  • catherine · May 16, 2019 at 1:41 pm

    Hartt – yes, I thought Stefanki’s comments were a bit strange – he had some things to say about Thiem’s coach as well. Sometimes tennis just seems full of people moaning.

    I didn’t catch up with the program after I posted earlier this am, so didn’t spot all the double ups. Of course Kiki beat Barty, just to prove me wrong. Ash didn’t play well at all. Simona had some kind of injury in the 3rd set – she didn’t make anything of it – probably picked it up running after all Marketa’s drop shots.

    Missed Nick’s latest tantrum too – chair chucking etc.
    I’ve never seen anyone do that before.

  • Hartt · May 16, 2019 at 2:32 pm

    Nick’s behaviour was so OTT, even for him, that I hope he gets suspended. Before he threw the chair he threw his racquet. Some time he is going to hit a line judge doing that.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 16, 2019 at 7:18 pm

    Briggs like many of us know something is rotten about this g imelstob, Djokovic power struggle. They have some secret agenda up their to Briggs for digging. Rothenberg too. They will need the help of a deep throat. Perhaps they already have their deep throat.

  • Hartt · May 16, 2019 at 10:48 pm

    Simon Briggs, in a recent article, did provide info on Wimbledon’s profits.

    “It had been thought that the LTA’s 2018 income would be affected by the construction of Wimbledon’s No. 1 Court roof – and a consequent drop in the tournament’s annual surplus – but this did not turn out to be the case. The All England Club contributed just over £40m to the accounts, up more than £7m from the previous year’s figure.”

    Despite this, the LTA had a loss of 8.8 million pounds in 2018. (The organization has a sizeable reserve, so can absorb the loss.)

    I can understand that Wimbledon has a responsibility to the LTA, but what a difference it could make to lower-ranked players if even say, 10% of that money went to prize $ for Challengers.

  • catherine · May 17, 2019 at 6:18 am

    Osaka w/d from match v Bertens with a hand injury. Kvitova also withdrew last night with a right calf problem. This has to be one of the worst years so far for injuries that I can recall.

  • Hartt · May 17, 2019 at 7:04 am

    Om Match Call Migrants we decided these women are made of spun sugar or tissue paper.

    I am so irritated. I added 2 TV channels, at considerable cost, to get some WTA matches and now there is hardly anyone left I want to see. Because they are Quebec channels, the only plus so far is improving my French. 🙁

  • catherine · May 17, 2019 at 7:22 am

    No – Kvitova retired.

  • catherine · May 17, 2019 at 7:35 am

    Hartt – I think some of these women are overtraining and also running around doing so many things they don’t give themselves time to recover. Blame the WTA.

    Perhaps you’ll have to choose new favourites as your previous ones fail to flourish or simply grow old. I’m already looking ahead a couple of years and getting used to the idea that Kerber and her generation won’t be around any more. At present I like Vondrousova as a coming player – which means she’ll no doubt do a Sabalenka on me. For some reason I can take or leave Naomi.

    Just think of that money as enriching your cultural life if not your tennis fandom – and cross your fingers for Bianca 🙂

  • Hartt · May 17, 2019 at 9:48 am

    Catherine, I got those channels because I was tired on trying to find a stream to watch Bianca, and then she did not play for several weeks. I will have to decide if keeping them is worthwhile, because they don’t show the early matches. 🙁

    In any case, I am looking forward to seeing Vondrousova today. I’ve heard a lot about her, and haven’t seen much of her so far.

  • catherine · May 17, 2019 at 10:42 am

    Well Vondrousova will lose to Konta today because I have jinxed her – so I’ll be quiet in the future 🙂

    I get quite a lot of streams here and a few highlights and full length matches from the WTA and ATP highlights and I find that’s enough for me. Wimbledon is the worst – virtually no streams. But it’s always been like that.

  • Douglas Day · May 17, 2019 at 12:25 pm

    Some thoughts on Rothenberg podcast.
    Kyrios targets the phoniness of Kerber’s on-mic taunt “your the biggest drama queen” with her same-day suck-up presser back in Miami:”I think rivalries are good for the sport…if everyone likes everyone its no fun.” Sounds familiar, like Jimmy Conners talking. Then again would Jim diss the No.1 player because he beats him without training nearly as hard? I cant imagine even Brat-enroe sliming someone with that, though he could’ve. That’s also why Nicks not wrong to see Rafa as his “polar opposite.” A fairly sensible observation for a drama queen.

  • catherine · May 17, 2019 at 1:29 pm

    Well, some people don’t like Kerber at all, or not unreservedly, except maybe a few of her more demented fans. She’s not Pollyanna in any shape or form but I don’t know if phoniness was/is at the bottom of it. Angie’s the little girl who could be nice and horrid. I’d say her behaviour is ‘honest’, maybe even ‘authentic’ in the WTA’s latest bit of PR speak, in the same way as Jimmy or Mac presented themselves. Mac could say some awful things but it got boring in the end and he occasionally regretted his missed opportunities. But I never heard ad hominum outbursts from either Jimmy or Mac, not like Nick.

    Andrea Petkovic did a bit of a patch job on Angie’s tattered image at some point but actually I prefer her the way she is. You’re always looking for the cracks – the whining, the swearing, the chucking racquets, the sulking. Instead of stuff about rivalries she should have referred to herself. The phoniest thing is the smirking marketing image I blame, once again, on the WTA.

    Nick doesn’t do that – I’m not saying throwing chairs around is good but it’s better than dissimulation which is something he really doesn’t go in for.

  • Hartt · May 17, 2019 at 4:08 pm

    Kyrgios, however, is quick to make excuses for his behaviour, and is not big on taking responsibility for his actions.

    “Writing on Instagram, he said: “Very eventful day to say to the least. Emotions got the better of me and I just wanted to say that the atmosphere was crazy out there today, just super unfortunate that it had to end in a default.” (

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 18, 2019 at 8:35 am

    I don’t see what Nick did as being any worse than a McEnroe explosion. People are making a mountain out of a molehill because it’s Nick. Getting ridiculous? I think Nick eggs it on on purpose to trigger these huge media uproars. Go Nick!

  • catherine · May 18, 2019 at 8:43 am

    Come on Scoop – if Nick behaved like this every match he played the game would descend into mayhem. That’s why we have rules. You’d quickly get bored I think.

    McEnroe never threw things around. And he almost always knew when to stop.

  • Hartt · May 18, 2019 at 9:11 am

    Catherine is right. Nick has no control over his behaviour, whereas McEnroe kept track of his violations and would stop in time.

    In that at match it wasn’t just throwing the chair, but yelling obscenities at a fan, and throwing his racquet in the general vicinity of a line judge. It is just a matter of time before he does hit, and injure, someone.

    Also in the comparison to McEnroe, John did care about performing well and was not tanking matches.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 18, 2019 at 10:07 am

    It seems Nick would rather be controversial than the best. Any chance he gets to make waves and be controversial, he can’t resist to take it.

  • Hartt · May 18, 2019 at 10:29 am

    Perhaps he is purposely trying to be controversial when he makes cutting remarks about some opponents, like he did in the No Challenges Remaining podcast. But during the heat of a match I doubt that he is even thinking about the outcomes of his behaviour.

    Casper Ruud, his opponent in the Rome match, said Nick became angrier and angrier. Ruud thinks that Kyrgios should get a suspension, and claimed other players agreed.

    There is a comparison to Shapo, who was a hothead when he truly was a young player, with that horrible incident when he his ball, struck in anger, hit the ump near his eye. Denis was truly mortified, took responsibility for his action, and vowed he would never do anything like that again. And he hasn’t, outside of the occasional racquet smash, although he doesn’t throw his racquet near people, the way Nick sometimes does.

    Denis is still an exciting player to watch. He doesn’t have to go in for dramatics and bad behaviour for fans to want to support him and flock to his matches.

  • catherine · May 19, 2019 at 9:27 am

    Rome:Pliskova thumps Konta SS to become the first Czech to win in Italy since Regina Marsikova in ’78.

    Big to credit to Conchita Martinez. Worse decision Muguruza ever made was to dump Conchita in favour of retaining Symyck.

    Pliskova quote: ‘Every tournament starts from zero.’ Ka must have been studying the Kerber playbook because Angie’s been coming up with that one for about a year. Or maybe it’s in the WTA guide book of media cliches for use when you’re lost for words 🙂

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 19, 2019 at 9:32 am

    Muguruza Sumyk union makes no sense. Zero affection or warmth ever witnessed.

  • catherine · May 19, 2019 at 9:46 am

    Agree. Most players would’ve tipped Sumyck overboard a long time ago. My guess is that Garbine will never again be the player who won W’don. You wonder if she’s frightened to try anything new. Must be quite a few good Spanish coaches around as well who’d like the gig.

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