Tennis Prose



Nick Kyrgios is the People’s Champion

No he may not be the best player in the world. No, Nick Kyrgios has not won any major titles or even come close. He’s not a world champion.

But Nick Kyrgios did something this week, that not even the greatest champions in the history of sport thought to do or cared to do or generously offered to do.

Nick Kyrgios offered to donate $200 per ace this year to help victims of the raging fires in Australia. Alex deMinaur quickly followed the lead and will also donate a generous sum to the fire victims. Surely there will be many, many more who follow the lead of Nick Kyrgios.

Nick Kyrgios is leading the way and surely many other super world champions from tennis and other sports will follow his steps and act like a champion, a people’s champion.

We should all know by now that Nick Kyrgios is a different kind of champion, different kind of sportsman. He is a supremely talented wizard with a racquet but he’s also a normal, regular guy who can and often does sabotage his career because of frustration, mistakes, lack of effort, unsportsmanlike conduct, immaturity. He’s human, like the rest of us.

But he also has a rare unique ability to connect with the public in a positive, unforgettable way. Nick Kyrgios is beloved by kids all over the world for how he plays tennis but also how he interacts with kids, engaging, friendly, inspiring. I’ve witnessed kids chat with Kyrgios at US Open and Delray Beach and come away blown away by his sense of humor and charisma.

Even adults and some of his greatest critics in the media are beginning to understand Nick Kyrgios and accept him for who he is, along with his imperfections and competitive flaws.

At Citi Open last year he had everyone in attendance wrapped around his finger, loving his crowd interactions and the original gesture of asking a front row adult for a tip on where he should serve the next point? Kyrgios ended up winning Citi Open, on the advice of one lucky, thrilled woman, who he later hugged and smiled with after clinching the championship with an ace.

This is the stuff that dreams are made of. This is the stuff that makes Nick Kyrgios the ultimate People’s Champion in sports today.

Nick Kyrgios, in his own special way, is showing everyone it’s really not about winning or losing, it’s about uplifting, inspiring and helping people who need help.

And nobody does it better than Nick Kyrgios, the Champion of the People.


  • Hartt · January 4, 2020 at 6:38 pm

    As Jose Morgado tweeted, she hits a lot!

    “Jule Goerges
    I will be donating $100 for every Ace I hit during the Australian Open Swing + every Ace @ashbarty
    and I hit as a team in doubles at the @AustralianOpen
    , to help support those affected by the wildfires in Australia. I love you Australia

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 4, 2020 at 7:08 pm

    Goerges is all class. Knew she would do something like this. It’s better when players are generous out of their own pocket than asking the public to do it for them. Still waiting on the all time greats to step up and do something generous. Felix vs Nick will be intriguing, De Minaur vs Shap also.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 4, 2020 at 7:10 pm

    Hartt, Asics is taking over, might have the most top 100 players touting that a logo. Nike could be saving $ for Rafa and Serena who must be near the end of their contracts. Was surprised how good Anderson looked vs Djokovic, and also how intense and emotional Djokovic was when that crowd guy yelled in the middle of the point, Djokovic screamed and feigned throwing his Head at him. We see Djokovic brother no. 2 Marko in the box, how come we never see brother no. 3 Djordje?

  • Harold · January 4, 2020 at 7:29 pm

    Where’s Kyrgios? Not playing FAA?

  • Hartt · January 4, 2020 at 7:31 pm

    Kyrgios is out with a back problem, the commie said. This is one reason Nick will never be a top player – too many injuries.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 4, 2020 at 8:01 pm

    Looks like Nick ducked the grudge rematch with the kid who publicly criticized him last year.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 4, 2020 at 8:06 pm

    Nick is fit enough to be yelling loudly for Millman, Assert yourself Johnny. Guess he got his treatment. This is a good sign for Felix, that his presence and talent can intimidate veterans like Nick.

  • Hartt · January 4, 2020 at 8:28 pm

    Millman is up a set and a break. He has been a human backboard, and FAA has been too impatient, going for too much and hitting long so often.

  • Hartt · January 4, 2020 at 9:04 pm

    Well, that was disappointing. John Millman played well and won in SS. FAA never did find his range and played relatively poorly, with a lot of UFEs.

  • Andrew Miller · January 4, 2020 at 11:13 pm

    Halep, Cornet, $50 donation per drop shot 🙂 I knew it, gotta be creative. If don’t ace or drop shot, go with x$ per winner etc.

  • Jeff · January 4, 2020 at 11:26 pm

    Interesting gamesmanship by Kyrgios, perhaps knowing Millman was more up to the task than he was. With that kind of decision-making, he could easily be a future Aussie captain. Kyrgios can’t do anything wrong at the moment, amazingly.

  • Andrew Miller · January 4, 2020 at 11:35 pm

    Rothenberg: “#1 Ash Barty says she will donate all of her Brisbane prize money to the Australian Red Cross for their fire relief efforts.”

  • Andrew Miller · January 4, 2020 at 11:37 pm

    Kyrgios: status as people’s champ eclipsed by Ash Barty, Australia’s best player.

    It’s too easy to dispute Kyrgios as people’s champ.

    But he is doing a good thing raising support for these awful fires.

  • Andrew Miller · January 5, 2020 at 12:20 am

    Sorry Halep will donate every time she gives Cahill grief. The Halep Cahill thing is nutty.

  • catherine · January 5, 2020 at 1:07 am

    Andrew – the Halep/Cahill thing is extra nutty because Simona has shown that she can do perfectly well without him. Like win Wimbledon.

    Expect to see Toni in Simona’s box this year.

  • catherine · January 5, 2020 at 1:13 am

    Scoop – we’ve been here before. The Kings/Riggs was a one off, a 70s thing. You can’t do that again and you don’t need novelties to ‘grow the game’. Men/women contests have undercurrents and not particularly pleasant ones either,IMO.

    And I doubt the Riggs match had very much affect on the growth of tennis long term – the bubble burst pretty quickly in the late seventies.

  • catherine · January 5, 2020 at 1:27 am

    Good on Julia 🙂 And Barty/Georges in doubles ? Should be worth watching.

  • catherine · January 5, 2020 at 1:37 am

    Completely tasteless IG showing Gauff posing her muscles against a background of a blazing fire. Who’s in charge here ? I hope while she’s in Auckland Coco notices the smoke and ashes falling from Australia and turning the glaciers black.

  • catherine · January 5, 2020 at 1:51 am

    Very good heartfelt comments from Ashleigh telling us what it is like to be there and how people in her position can go about helping.

  • catherine · January 5, 2020 at 2:11 am

    Lots of coaches gathering in Brisbane with their new charges. I wonder if coaches ever sit around swapping stories ? Can you imagine it – Fisette, Bajin, Kindlmann, Beltz etc sharing anecdotes. Do players pass the time of day with their ex-mentors ? Can’t see Naomi/Sascha, Fisette/Kerber sharing a coffee.

    Angie has a new necklace replacing the lucky one she’s worn for years and years. So she will either win a lot of matches or none at all.

  • jackson · January 5, 2020 at 3:48 am

    Champion of the People Nick Kyrgios won’t be donating a penny to the fire victims if he’s too chicken to go out and play against FAA or anyone else.

  • Hartt · January 5, 2020 at 7:00 am

    Catherine, thanks for the link to the Ash Barty story.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 5, 2020 at 7:09 am

    Catherine, do esnt have to be a one time event, why limit it? Creativity knows no bounds. It’s there to be made. Now’s the time, Australia needs help.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 5, 2020 at 7:13 am

    Maybe Federer will ask his fans to send in their money. I’m sure Rafa will do something too, he has a heart of gold. Serena too. Djokovic too. It can’t be possible the richest champions in the sport are the cheapest, can’t be.

  • Jon King · January 5, 2020 at 7:40 am

    Wow catherine…that IG post by Gauff is about the most tone deaf thing I have ever seen by an athlete. Not one person around her is bright enough to see how wrong it would be to post in front of a blazing fire….at this moment in time….while in Australia!??

    Patrick M’s involvement, dad stealing the sports bar his own mother bought, constant hype over other players before results….becoming quite an unlikable bunch.

  • Hartt · January 5, 2020 at 8:16 am

    Good for Maria.
    Maria Sharapova
    The month of January in Australia has been my
    for the past 15 years. Watching the fires destroy the lands, it’s beautiful families and communities of animals is deeply
    . I would like to begin my donation at 25K. @DjokerNole
    , would you match my donation?

  • catherine · January 5, 2020 at 8:33 am

    Hartt – yes, very generous gesture from Maria and many players could well afford to match her donation.

    Maybe Gauff could be one of them ? Might make up for her disgraceful IG.

  • Jon King · January 5, 2020 at 8:39 am

    Unfortunately Gauff does not seem to have anyone in her camp who could advise her with any degree of sensitivity. Patrick M. sets up a boxing photo session with Mike Tyson, a convicted rapist of an African American girl not much older than her, her father is being sued by grandma for financial theft, and her IG post in front of a blazing fire has been up for a while with not one person in her camp aware enough to get her to take it down yet.

    Tone deaf seems to be a theme.

  • Hartt · January 5, 2020 at 8:57 am

    Yes, it’s hard to believe they don’t understand how offensive that photo is right now.

  • Andrew Miller · January 5, 2020 at 11:31 am

    Kids make mistakes and this is life growing up in the public eye. Personally I think it is all frightening but there is an element of risk and danger etc, and some of it is novelty as in look see where I am there’s a fire behind me! Just that it is pretty tone deaf. The kid will have to learn from her mistakes. As others said a good way to start is for her handlers to draft a statement and have her donate some $$$.

    I have seen a few times where her handlers have messed up royally now. I wonder if they think it’s better for her to learn from her mistakes (if so, kudos) or if they are just lazy and believe it’s better for her to just call everyone haters (I would NOT advocate for that and have seen a little of this).

    Though it’s not right for me to bring this up I’ll so so anyways. These players get some serious hating tweets just for being on the tour. For whatever reason some people on social media believe they can say horrendous things to others.

    All that said the point is: the kid will need to learn from it and recognize that those fires are wreaking havoc on the host country. And act accordingly. Her handlers and her dad will need to make that clear that hey, you’re a public figure now, and you have to recognize that yeah, it’s crazy but you’re not just representing you but the sport etc.

  • Andrew Miller · January 5, 2020 at 11:36 am

    Pro tip: takes a second to do something stupid on social media. Let’s not punish the kid eternally. They can right the ship and she can learn from the mistake. Thus far it’s been let’s let CGauff be CGauff, but I think sometimes her people have to level with her and say: hey people are suffering here, think twice before posting and now that you’ve done this go ahead and clarify what you think now that you’ve gotten some feedback.

  • Andrew Miller · January 5, 2020 at 11:43 am

    Love it. Some of these financing stories are a hoot. ALL UNNECESSARY. I’ll say this until blue in the face. Don’t need Bolletieri to tell you you’re a fantastic player to BE a fantastic player, or Pat Mouratoglou to blow sunshine (…). You do need some help and courts etc and some developmental work and a good attitude, and to learn the game backwards and forwards.

    Best players I faced were plenty good, but they were even better because they knew the sport. They didn’t have to play every day or even every week, but they did need the study the game and hard wire their skills, and peak when necessary (e.g. peaking at end of tournament and just get through the early rounds – the ball during the semifinals doesn’t care what you’ve been through!).

    I’d also advocate these days for getting a better feel for the balls and courts per tournament, and maybe having a set of those balls before the tournament so that you’re good with the bounce. That’s a pro move that’s subtle but can make just as much of a difference as scouting etc. If you are advised to “play your game” at the very least have your people make sure you can play your game…using the balls that are at the tournament where you will be playing 🙂

    Stupid stuff that makes a difference Volume 1.

  • Jon King · January 5, 2020 at 11:45 am

    Andrew, I think we are all on the same page and all mentioned that it is her camp that failed her. It is becoming obvious that she has 2 people running the show that likely do not have her interests solely in mind.

    Her dad decided to seek the hype even at 12 years old rather than shield her, dad also is being sued by his own mother over money. So the evidence says dad may not be the best guiding force.

    Then Patrick Mouratoglou has taken a larger role in her camp. His track record of shady stuff and promoting his own interests is long.

    But she is also not off the hook completely. She is very mature, has been when interviewed even at age 12. Many say she acts more like a savvy 25 year old. So if you are going to get the benefits of being an early maturing person, touted as super intelligent, super mature for your age….then she should also be expected to realize after a few hours that her post is inappropriate.

  • Jon King · January 5, 2020 at 11:52 am

    Andrew…speaking of getting used to the balls. Venus’s coach brought an entire case of Australian Open balls to the park for practice. They would open new balls and work with the tournament balls for serves, returns, volleys, rallies.

    I do have an issue with the littering however. When Patrick Mouratoglou practiced with Serena at the park courts he left about 10 towels he ‘borrowed’ from the hotel where he was staying at the courts. I guess he is so used to staying at fancy resorts that he assumed a local park would have people to take care of his towels!

    Same with Venus’s coach. He left the empty case and ball cans at the courts. The entitlement of these coaches is comical.

  • catherine · January 5, 2020 at 12:18 pm

    Yes – you can seem mature at 15,say the right things, act in an outwardly ‘mature’ way, be articulate etc but of course you can’t be remotely mature in terms of life experience, understanding and getting along with others and the range of social skills we need to survive in the wide world.

    Coco’s maturity is all on the surface, as I’m sure she’ll recognise when she’s really 25 and looks back at her precocious self and the mistakes she made.

    It’s easy to blame the so-called grown-ups around her, so I will.

  • Jon King · January 5, 2020 at 12:23 pm

    Agreed, she will gain life experiences. However in this case an 11 year old girl in our tennis group texted my daughter “What the heck is Co Co thinking posting a fire pic!!!!”.

    So this one is not rocket science or immaturity….almost any child over the age of 10 would get why the post is not appropriate.

  • Andrew Miller · January 5, 2020 at 12:57 pm

    Jon, if the Williams only knew 🙂 Their dad/mom would’ve scolded to no end. I hope I can see the documentaries on them again. I have seen them with ball hoppers, so whatever their caddies are doing speaks poorly for the caddies. I hope Jarmere Jenkins cleaned up! He is from a storied Atlanta family in terms of tennis and is a good guy (I think he is).

  • Andrew Miller · January 5, 2020 at 1:00 pm

    Jon, Venus Williams knows what’s up! Ya need the tournament balls before the tournament. They won’t “make a player win” but they’ll get rid of one potential hiccup so players don’t have to get used to the balls during warm up etc. Should know what they’re dealing with.

  • Andrew Miller · January 5, 2020 at 1:05 pm

    Yes same page, tone deaf. Gauff handlers get the thumbs down. They have earned the thumbs down marks for months now. Someone’s not bright – I don’t think Gauff saw that the scary, exciting thing was “hey maybe not this time, take a photo but don’t post it” – would have taken four seconds. They are supposed to step in, but hey guess she will have to take a hit here and learn from it.

  • Jon King · January 5, 2020 at 1:07 pm

    Andrew, the Jenkins brothers are good people. Last time they were at the park they had a competition of how long they could keep a slice rally going. It must have gone on for half an hour!

    Sadly, Venus does not use her Jenkins brother anymore as a hitting partner. Her new coach Eric fills both coach and hitter roles.

  • Hartt · January 5, 2020 at 1:10 pm

    I doubt that Coco put that photo together herself, so others were involved. Yes, she is old enough to understand that it is not appropriate, but I think the adults around her have to take most of the responsibility.

  • Jon King · January 5, 2020 at 1:17 pm

    Its still not too late to take the photo down before the media in Australia picks up on it, she could do it from her phone in seconds. Instagram is easy to post and remove.

    Amazing how in a day no one in her circle of family or friends has sent her a text saying ‘hey, you know there are huge fires there, maybe that picture is not the best timing’.

  • catherine · January 5, 2020 at 2:33 pm

    It’s quite possible that Gauff, who is in Auckland understudying Serena, sees no connection between her IG and the situation in Australia. It’s also possible that the media overall is just ignoring the ill-judged posturing of a 15 year old.

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