Volatile tennis star Nick Kyrgios has been described as “not normal” by the uncle and former coach of World #2 Rafael Nadal after the Australian served a volley of insults at the Nadal family during a recent podcast appearance.
Kyrgios has emerged as one of the most colorful characters in tennis this season, with a series of on-court meltdowns characterizing what was a breakout year for the 24-year-old.
His Italian Open display was very much in-keeping with his developing personality. His opening round match with Danill Medvedev saw both players issued with code violations – Kyrgios for launching a ball out of the arena in protest at a call made by the chair umpire, Medvedev for smashing his racket in frustration at Kyrgios’ antics on the court.
Kyrgios was expelled from the tournament during his round of 32 match-up with Casper Ruud after once again letting his emotions get the better of him and launching a chair into the middle of the court after what he saw as a bad call by the official.
Episodes such as these have very much marked Kyrgios’ report card as being the spiritual successor to John McEnroe when it comes to mid-match demonstrations, a reputation he further enhanced with a controversial appearance on the No Challenges Remaining podcast last week in which he took aim at everyone from Nadal, to Andy Murray and Fernando Verdasco – as well as Toni Nadal, uncle and former coach of the Spanish veteran.
“Uncle Toni came out saying, ‘He lacks education’. I’m like, ‘Brah, I did 12 years at school, you idiot. I’m very educated. I understand that you’re upset I beat your family again,” Kyrgios announced on the podcast.
These comments, coupled with Kyrgios’ controversial Italian Open appearance, have drawn the ire of Toni Nadal who said that Kyrgios’ actions don’t serve the sport.
“Kyrgios has entered a dynamic that is hurting him, something is failing in his head because this is not normal for a player, it’s bad for tennis right now,” Nadal said.
“What the ATP should do right now is not to give it publicity, to make all this less visible, but of course, Kyrgios attracts the public.”
“If he demonstrated another mentality, he would be able to aspire to the maximum, but I think he has a hard time coping with the pressure and how complicated it is to compete, it does not do the sport any good, and therefore he deserves to be sanctioned.'”
Whether or not Kyrgios is repentant for any of these actions will remain to be seen but if his tweet to New York Times tennis writer Ben Rothenburg is any indication, we can probably expect more unconventional appearances from a player fast becoming one of the sport’s most well-known names.
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