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.


  • Krzysztof · January 3, 2020 at 6:33 am

    Hmm, I don’t think Kyrgios is so special. Pat Rafter did what nobody has done, as far as tennis champion is concerned: In a remarkable display of generosity, Rafter donated $600,000 of his 1997 and 1998 US Open earnings to the Brisbane Mater Hospital’s Foundation for Terminally Ill Children.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 3, 2020 at 7:36 am

    Krzysztof, good research. Rafter was very generous. He also refused a six figure appearance fee in Dubai after a bad first round loss. Sampras donated six figures to a charity right after winning grand slam cup.

  • jayita · January 3, 2020 at 7:52 am

    Nice piece Scoop. No doubt Nick has ignited something very special in the hearts and minds of not only the worlds best athletes, but everyday people. What is happening in Australia, with the raging bushfires destroying everything in their tracks, is simply tragic. But to see him step up, to personally do his bit to help, is nothing short of inspiration. As he said tonight “with my platform I can do some pretty special things and thats what this sports done – it’s given me the ability to help and that’s what I try to do and I’m just glad it worked”. He really has started something special and as you said, has shown himself to be the peoples champion.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 3, 2020 at 9:24 am

    Jayita thank you for your input directly from Australia. As far as I’m concerned, this gesture by Kyrgios outweighs winning a major or masters title. Kyrgios has a heart of gold and the heart of a champion. Wondering how the positive reaction from this will inspire Nick and his future. Expecting the AO crowds to treat Nick like a major hero and give him support like he’s never seen or heard before.

  • Andrew Miller · January 3, 2020 at 10:06 am

    Accuracy matters. Federer, Roddick, Nadal historically have contributed enormous sums of money to Australia when there’s a disaster, their legacy and what they’ve given to Australia is very strong (and we should all know better than to accept the over the top pronouncements from Mr. Kyrgios at face value).

    Again, it’s not a contest but maybe look into it so that the information is correct. Don’t want TP to go the way of TT.

    Federer, Nadal, 2011, Queensland: “Tennis stars including Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Australian Samantha Stosur played an exhibition match yesterday seeking to raise at least A$1 million ($989,000) for flood-stricken Queensland state. The players, who are in Melbourne for the Grand Slam tournament starting today, appeared at the so-called “Rally for Relief,” Australian Open organizers said in an e-mailed statement. Kim Clijsters, Lleyton Hewitt, Novak Djokovic and Queenslander and former top-ranked player Pat Rafter also played, according to the statement.”

    Result, 2011: “The specially organized Rally for Relief raised nearly $2 million and counting as stars from the ATP and WTA tours gave up their time on the eve of the Australian Open.”

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 3, 2020 at 10:15 am

    Andrew, the money raised came from the fans who paid to see the exo. Did the players participating in the practice session exo also donate? Like Rafter, Kyrgios, Sampras have donated big? significant difference. Credit to them if they did.

  • Harold · January 3, 2020 at 10:32 am

    Scoop, are you a reporter or a blogger? If you’re a reporter, you should do some research before killing every top player, who isn’t NK
    If you’re a blogger, flame away,

  • Andrew Miller · January 3, 2020 at 10:47 am

    Yes they did, but what’s the difference between taking $10K from their pocket or putting their fame to “good” use? Scoop, this isn’t a contest among players.

    Roddick: $10,800 from his pocket for aces in 2011 to the Queensland flooding victims in Australia, Nadal in 2018: “Rafael Nadal has donated a million euros (approximately 1.15 million US dollars) to the victims of the flash floods that hit the Spanish Balearic island of Mallorca”; Federer 2005 straight from his pocket, $20K donation to tsunami relief effort.

    Kyrgios isn’t taking his cues from himself – he takes them from his elders. There’s a tradition in tennis for this, whether it was the 2010 Haiti earthquake (with money raised at the Australian Open) or the 2011 Queensland flood (again money raised in Australia this time FOR Australians). This is in the same line.

    Not that hard for players to do it and they do it.

  • Andrew Millerq · January 3, 2020 at 10:54 am

    1990: Sampras wins the Grand Slam Cup and donated immediately $200K to Cerebral Palsy Foundation (which he decided to do with his Dad)

    Again, not a contest – there’s a tradition of generosity. In fact Scoop wrote an article about the Sampras donation here:

    Scoop! I’m not belittling what Kyrgios is doing, I am saying it’s not new – it’s good that he’s doing it and is generous, it can’t be otherwise.

    Just that this is what players are expected to do and have traditionally done following natural disasters, and that is all public information. I don’t see any difference between raising $1 through an exhibition for charity and taking it out of their pocket – the players could have done a photo-shoot that day (and maybe even did that, too) or something else.

    They didn’t, they used their fame for good cause and at the end of the day guess what, the victim receiving the money appreciates the gesture, whether it’s from Kyrgios or the ATP or WTA handing over the check. The money is the same.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 3, 2020 at 10:54 am

    Players dedicating their time and energy to doing exos to raise money from the public for a good cause is great. Players digging into their own pocket and donating to a cause is even greater. Hat’s off to Nick for doing what most players won’t.

  • Hartt · January 3, 2020 at 10:56 am

    Yes, although I applaud Nick’s initiative, this is not unusual for tennis players. Many have donated $ for disaster relief and/or given their time and energy in exhibitions to raise $. I think we should be proud of many players in this regard.

    That said, with $100 being donated for each ace (outside of what players like Nick and Alex are doing), Isner’s 33 aces so far adds up to some serious $, with a lot more to come.

  • Jon King · January 3, 2020 at 11:36 am

    While I like Nick, I hesitate to get into the contest of who is more charitable. We never, ever know for sure.

    I have been involved in foundations where there are anonymous donations, large ones….so who knows who with large sums of money gives with no fanfare. I have also seen foundations in Palm Beach County where the very rich throw lavish parties, enjoy amazing amenities, write the whole thing off, and in the end practically nothing actually gets to the supposed charity.

    There are foundations named after famous athletes where they are intimately involved, other foundations the big name athlete has little to do with at all.

    So its a hard game to really assign degrees of goodness to anyone, tennis players included.

  • Jeff · January 3, 2020 at 12:33 pm


    Great piece. It is true that Nick Kyrgios has a heart of gold and is one of the world’s most popular tennis players, resultingly.

    I think we underrate two aspects of who Kyrgios is. One is how well he relates to millennials by watching NBA, playing video games and breaking rackets. He is definitely drawing a new type of fan to tennis for this.

    And second, I think he is a marketing genius in his own way. His rebel nature is something he knows people love as when he snapped at Christian Ruud about how nobody watches his matches. Kyrgios knows he is “box office” and plays up to it. It reminds me of Agassi’s Nike campaign but Andre became too dedicated to winning and ditched the fake hair, antics, etc so he lost his image is everything brand.

    Kyrgios, on the other hand, is committed to not winning because his brand is being a rebel and he knows no one else on the tour can offer that. While his peers focus on improving their games and winning titles, he is focused on his image and Instagram and it helps maintain his brand. Kyrgios will remain box office for this, imagine the Laver Cup without him? He is actually the perfect loser the sport can have as a foil for the greats; Agassi could have done the same thing but he became too focused on winning.

  • Jeff · January 3, 2020 at 12:47 pm

    Kyrgios’ words also spurred Craig Tiley and Tennis Australia into action as well. It shows Nick’s leadership qualities because of how he markets himself.

    And where are the Australian Open sponsors? All of those CEOs are vastly richer than the tennis players. It would be nice for each major sponsor to publicly announce their donations to help. Perhaps Kyrgios should mention this.

  • Hartt · January 3, 2020 at 1:03 pm

    Ellen Perez also suggested donating $ for each ace, and may have been the first to do so. She doesn’t make the big $ that Nick does, so her proposal was more modest. However, on her twitter several athletes, including some from other sports, responded to her initiative with their own pledges. So let’s give Ellen Perez her due!

    “For every ace I serve over this Australian summer of tennis I’ll be donating $10 to the bushfire appeal! Lets make 2020 a year of big serving and winning matches for the firefighters and affected communities/families! I encourage others to join me in helping Australia.”

  • Hartt · January 3, 2020 at 1:13 pm

    Tennis superstar Dylan Alcott made this pledge:

    “Dylan Alcott
    Getting involved and donating $100 per ace I serve this summer. Also might pimp my wheelchair and put some monster truck wheels on so I can bang a few extras down. Thoughts?”

  • Andrew Miller · January 3, 2020 at 2:36 pm

    Do $100 per winner or drop shot. Or whichever you have more of: ace, winners, or drop shots. Or $500 per successful drop shot. Or $500 per overhead. Doesn’t matter.

  • Andrew Miller · January 3, 2020 at 2:44 pm

    Kyrgios the statesman is in the same brain as Kyrgios the guy that goes after other players mercilessly. The young man is too insecure to show much self control. Maybe he will settle down (maybe the right re not whoever he hangs out with currently as a romantic interest will tame him).

    Did wonders for Agassi.

  • Hartt · January 3, 2020 at 2:51 pm

    Some wags have suggested that Zverev pledge $ for each DF.

  • Hartt · January 3, 2020 at 3:16 pm

    Cricket teams are doing their bit.

    “With the three-test series between Australia and New Zealand decided, players from both teams will momentarily turn their attention away from the pitch at the Sydney Cricket Ground and to the deadly wildfires around the country.

    Black armbands will be worn from the first day of the test on Friday as a mark of respect for those who have lost their lives in the tragic fires, while emergency services personnel will be honoured during the pre-match ceremony with a minute of applause.

    Cricket Australia also announced that two one-day international matches between Australia and New Zealand at the S.C.G. in March will raise funds for the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund to help those affected by the fires.”

  • Andrew Miller · January 3, 2020 at 4:08 pm

    Zverev? $500 per smashed racquet or self-deprecating remark. Guaranteed donations. Not sure why Head Racquets hasn’t dropped him yet, he’s destroyed so many of them. Head shouldnt’ want a marketing strategy of: “buy a lot of them so you can smash a lot of them”

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 3, 2020 at 4:48 pm

    Well said Dr Jeff, Freud could not have analyzed Nick better )

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 3, 2020 at 5:18 pm

    de Minaur beating up Zverev 46 76 51 right now. The little demon is your biggest overachiever in the atp. And a top 5 competitor.

  • Jeff · January 3, 2020 at 6:58 pm

    I can’t believe I am writing this but Nick Kyrgios is now the star of the tennis world. His tears in Brisbane have stunned the Australian public and the world for his magnanimous humility. And what an inspired victory for Australia over Germany.

    This show of emotion reminds me of Agassi. Surely, Kyrgios will be at his best behavior for this Slam. This could be his best chance to win a Slam since he will be playing on emotion to try to give his countrymen a lift.

    While this situation is totally tragic, it has shown the true colors of Kyrgios and he has revealed himself to be a giant among men and women. With everyone rooting for him, he is sure to make a deep run in Melbourne. If he wins it, he may run for prime minister even since his popularity at home will soar. In the annals of Australian tennis, Kyrgios could write the most notable chapter ever by winning in Melbourne in the wake of this disaster.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 3, 2020 at 8:39 pm

    Jeff you are appointed our official Nick Kyrgios analyst. You understand him as well as anyone. Nick took over citi open last year, we all saw hiw magical that was. he can take over a major next. He has the powers to even take over the sport if he sets his mind. Kyrgios is capable of anything, which it seems he may be realizing.

  • Andrew Miller · January 3, 2020 at 9:09 pm

    Agree that Kyrgios best chance for a top result is to play for something bigger than himself. However the Aussie Open doesn’t start today, and intense emotion is a fuel that burns quickly – it’s flammable. He might be able to ride it to a nice pre Aussie result. I am sure he feels supercharged, but it’s not helpful to peak on January 3.

  • Andrew Miller · January 3, 2020 at 10:45 pm

    De Minaur is carving out a nice career. He is one of several next generation players making the most of his abilities. I was surprised he didn’t win the next gen finals and to his credit has taken the Sinner loss in stride.

  • Jeff · January 4, 2020 at 12:22 am

    Interestingly, Zverev had some harsh words for the hero of the hour Kyrgios, who did push-ups every time the German double-faulted against Demon.

    Zverev: What do you want me to say? It’s Nick. It’s just what he does. He does that at Laver Cup as well. I know that Grigor (Dimitrov) also had a fight with him and Jack (Sock) in 2018. He can do whatever he wants. If he wants to do push-ups that’s fine, as long as he doesn’t offend anybody or do the Nick Kyrgios stuff that he sometimes does, I don’t care about it.”

    I wonder if Kyrgios dumped Sock as his BFF. Does anyone know?

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 4, 2020 at 8:02 am

    Jeff, Kygios supported Sock at US Open vs Cuevas, sat in front row, me and Dan saw behind him. I have photos. They buried the hatchet I guess. Quite a bombshell Nick and Dimitrov had a fight.

  • Harold · January 4, 2020 at 9:02 am

    Just proves that 9 year olds think Kyrgios is cool, while 98% of his fellow pros probably think he’s an A hole

  • catherine · January 4, 2020 at 9:05 am

    Ka Pliskova is also donating $200 for every ace she hits during the Aus season. Starting off in Brisbane, one of 3 WTA tournaments this week – + Auckland, Shenzhen.

    Osaka leads the charge in Brisbane, others inc Barty, Sloane Stephens. WTA insider notes the new coaches for Osaka and Stephens and wisely leaves the options open for Kerber: ‘Kerber has teamed up with Dieter Kindlmann for the start of the 2020 season’…..

    Auckland is all about Gauff and Serena. You’d think no one else was playing. I hope Julia wins.

    Muguruza is starting off in Hobart, where she won a few years ago. Good decision with new coach Martinez. Cooler and a low key draw.

  • Hartt · January 4, 2020 at 9:56 am

    Catherine, I also hope that Julia wins Auckland, even if it means wearing that strange robe! 🙂

    I understand the Serena hype, but could live without so much Gauff hype. Enough, already! Let the youngster win some big titles before going crazy.

  • Jon King · January 4, 2020 at 10:42 am

    Serena stopped by a fund raiser at our local tennis center just before she left for Aukland. She looked to be in prime shape. We shall see if she can get #24 this year.

  • Hartt · January 4, 2020 at 11:30 am

    If Serena is in prime shape she should have an excellent chance at #24. I hope she plays enough outside of the Slams to be match tough for them. Playing Auckland is a good start.

  • Coachskelly · January 4, 2020 at 11:50 am

    Nick Kyrgios is a Bad Dude!!!!And I mean that in a good way!!!🌠💪🎾💯🏆

  • Hartt · January 4, 2020 at 12:41 pm

    Here is another example of how bad the WTA website is. I knew that Amanda Anisimova now has a big-name coach, but couldn’t remember who it was. So I went to the WTA site to check. Imagine my surprise to see her coach is her father Konstantin who, as we all know, passed away in late August.

    Thanks to Wiki I learned that her coach is Carlos Rodriguez.

  • Harold · January 4, 2020 at 1:43 pm

    The WTA might be lazy regarding their website, but I think the powers that be figured out long ago, that there are very few “ casual” tennis fans, there are either diehards( like posters on T-P,or other boards) and the people that show up to events( slams,Year Enders),and they don’t need to update their site, because diehards will find the info, one way or another

    Jerry Garcia used to say “ The Grateful Dead, are like black licorice, not everybody likes black licorice, but the people that do, like it a lot”
    Tennis is black licorice

  • catherine · January 4, 2020 at 1:49 pm

    Hartt- the site is just beyond belief and if possible it’s getting worse. Great big photos taking up a lot of space because there aren’t any decent articles (and the stuff that is there seems to be aimed at the understanding of an average 5 year old)- paucity of information, as you say. Even finding out the tournament calendar isn’t easy. Is the WTA too broke to afford decent website designers and writers ? Or do the people in charge think tennis followers are stupid ?
    Yes – Wiki is often the best source.

  • Hartt · January 4, 2020 at 2:31 pm

    Harold, there is no excuse for the WTA site being this bad. How do they expect to create interest in the WTA if there is little interesting info on the site, and some of it is downright incorrect? The ATP site, although far from perfect, is about 100x better.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 4, 2020 at 3:03 pm

    Coachskelly, You could also say it Nick is a good dude, I mean that in a bad way!!

  • Andrew Miller · January 4, 2020 at 3:05 pm

    Harold, voice of wisdom. Wta site is terrible. Are announcers getting into trouble with the wta info? If they use it to prep for matches they run a huge risk of getting everything backwards.

    This is the first time I have ever gone to a major sports official website where the website interface is utterly incompetent. The ATP site is not amazing, but it is serviceable and seems to at least have some stat temps that update the site periodically.

    The wta tour, which pays its CEO more than US $300K annually and bought out their last CEO for more than $1.5 million, could at least either attempt to get it right or just cut down on the information (also pathetic but in light of the scat quality understandable).

    For a few top twenty wta players last week I had to check a bunch of other sites after the wta sites. It’s because the wta site didn’t get basic information correct.

    Harold is right. They can play everyone with a lousy site and casual fans will show up and be unphased because that’s the point. Aim low win big.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 4, 2020 at 3:05 pm

    The WTA site is a disaster. Heads should roll for it.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 4, 2020 at 3:08 pm

    Still disappointed the God of tennis has not stepped up and taken any action about donating to the brushfire disaster. Hopefully he’s planning something. Hewitt and all these players ask the public to do all they can to help, why don’t these players donate? McEnroe vs Gauff or Serena would raise millions.

  • Harold · January 4, 2020 at 3:18 pm

    The Gods of tennis can do it quietly. They’re not needing good publicity, nor do they have to tell you about it

    Like the star that goes to visit in a hospital. One goes alone, one brings a camera crew..both are doing a nice thing, but one wants props

  • Hartt · January 4, 2020 at 3:31 pm

    Scoop, why are you so big on McEnroe playing one of the WTA players? I have NO interest in this debate about male vs female players. Of course the male player has a big advantage, even an old guy like JMac, who apparently can still play well. Plus, Serena is not consistent these days, and Gauff is just starting out.

    If they are going to have an expo before the AO, there are many more interesting possibilities.

  • Hartt · January 4, 2020 at 3:33 pm

    Andrew, I did not know that the last WTA CEO got that big buyout. Her sudden departure did seem odd at the time.

  • Harold · January 4, 2020 at 3:48 pm

    This could be one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen on a Tennis board.
    Topic was endorsement deals

    Bernard Tomic to Costco, with a picture of Costco employee shirt

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 4, 2020 at 6:27 pm

    Hartt, it would attract the general public too and create new tennis fans, expanding the audience of the sport. Like Riggs vs King did. Why not do it again? Why not do it annually? King Riggs was huge for tennis, monumental moment. Why not create more of those? Grow the sport. Is one side afraid to lose? SO what? It’s for the sport.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 4, 2020 at 6:28 pm

    Borna Coric switches from Nike to Asics.

  • Hartt · January 4, 2020 at 6:35 pm

    Scoop, several players went from Nike to Asics – Caroline Garcia and Iga Swiatik as well as Borna. Sakkari went from Nike to Adidas.

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