Why Kyrgios’ tantrum for the ages can’t just be ignored

Why Kyrgios’ tantrum for the ages can’t just be ignored

Well, that was #awkward.

TFF watched every point of Nick Kyrgios’s quarter-final at the US Open on Wednesday, willing him to win over Karen Khachanov, to fulfil his destiny, to advance to the semi-final and maybe thence to the Promised Land of actually winning a major – a result which would be at least reflective of his staggering talent.

Of course, it didn’t happen. The mercurial Kyrgios simply had a day when the mercury was low and he was well off the boil. Though he took the Russian to five sets, it was just not to be. I turned off the tube, filed my generally positive story to the Herald within a minute of the match finishing, and it was only hours later I saw the footage of Kyrgios destroying two of his racquets on the court, in a tantrum for the ages.

After such a campaign, after playing such stunning tennis that John McEnroe himself called him “a genius”, nothing could have been more positioned – all in the space of about 30 seconds – to destroy so much of the goodwill the Australian had generated over the course of the tournament.

“I feel like shit,” Kyrgios said in the press conference afterwards, explaining his emotions. “I feel like I’ve let so many people down … Like, it’s heartbreaking. Not just for me, but for everyone that I know that wants me to win.”

Nick Kyrgios.Credit:Getty Images

We’re there.

But, Nick? It is not the losing that lets your supporters down. You gave it your all. It is that stuff. The racquet abuse. The abuse-abuse.

We get that somewhere within your DNA, you are hot-wired to high emotion, that it powers your tennis.

Over the years I guess we have come to take much of it with a grain of salt, even the shouting at your box. But stuff like that, immediately after losing an epic match, all while your opponent takes a bow? Mate, not even 20 kilograms of salt will do it.

You do yourself such an injustice, it is hard to know where to start. You’ve come such a long way this year. A Wimbledon final, and a US quarter-final. You will hopefully go even further next year.

But that stuff simply must go.

Which brings us to my favourite story about Her Majesty Elizabeth II, who passed away in the wee hours of Friday morning at the age of 96. (Thank you, I know.)

See, as originally recounted by the diplomat Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles in his memoir, Ever The Diplomat, in 1998 King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia was visiting Her Maj at Balmoral.

Queen Elizabeth presenting Bob Fulton with the Wills trophy at the SCG in 1977.Credit:Archive

At the conclusion of lunch, the British monarch asks the Saudi if he would perhaps like a tour of the Balmoral estate? King Abdullah is uncertain, but is convinced by his Foreign Minister, Prince Saud, that it is the right thing to do.

Alas, no sooner has King Abdullah followed instructions and climbed into the passenger seat of one of the designated Land Rovers, with his interpreter in behind, than the Queen gets into the driver’s seat, throws it into gear, and takes off! As a man from a country where women are forbidden to drive, it is shocking.

“His nervousness only increased as the Queen, an Army driver in wartime,” Sir Sherard recounted, “accelerated the Land Rover along the narrow Scottish estate roads, talking all the time. Through his interpreter, the Crown Prince implored the Queen to slow down and concentrate on the road ahead.“

By all accounts since – for the memoir is not specific – she did not. I’d like to think she went the full Stirling Moss.

We can’t drive, huh? CAN’T DRIVE?

I’d like to think the Saudi came out of the Land Rover as a quivering wreck, or at least with some realisation that women actually can drive.

Either way, bravo – it’s too good a yarn not to tell – and vale.

Give it a rest on concussion for the players’ sake

In the last fortnight in the NRL there have been two notably high-profile concussions, Roosters lock Victor Radley and Souths skipper Cam Murray. As discussed last week, Radley’s KO a fortnight ago looked one of the worst in recent memory, as he convulsed on the field before being taken away on the medicab.

In the case of Murray, he was badly concussed first in the opening minute of Origin III this year, and then in the opening minute of last Friday’s match against the Roosters – which was, in fact, his third concussion in the past 12 months.

I would have thought, and you would have thought, for safety’s sake, Murray should be given more time to recover, instead of playing Sunday’s elimination final against the Roosters.

But, no.

“Cam is fine; it’s a long turnaround, he has no symptoms, so 100 per cent he will play,” his coach Jason Demetriou told The Sun-Herald. “There is no way I would ever pick him if he was a risk. But he has never been knocked out, and he has never laid on the floor convulsing.”

Get it? Demetriou is pointing to the Radley concussion, and effectively saying whatever you think of us playing Murray against the Roosters, at least it’s not as bad as the Roosters most likely playing Radley against us.

NSW’s Cameron Murray is assisted by Blues doctor Nathan Gibbs during game three.Credit:Getty Images

Look, in this particular case, is there not another way? Could not the two clubs agree to stand down both players, as in, “We will, if you will”?

Let each side live without one of their gun players to make it all even on the card, and give the brains of each player blessed protection, precious time, to heal. It’s not too late. Make the call, Trent!

Teething problems aplenty at Allianz

You will, no doubt, tell me if I am wrong, but despite all the commercial hoopla of the opening weekend of the new Allianz Stadium, the reaction of those who actually attended seems to have been mixed. On the one hand, the good news appeared to be that there no queues for the women’s loos for the first time in history, while there were many reports of 70-metre queues for the men’s.

A bloke I sat next to at a dinner on Monday evening, Barry Brown, was still furious to have paid $600 for a platinum seat, only to be drenched by the rain. And there were many photos circulating of the – literally – cheap seats, collapsing under the weight of actual patrons sitting on them. Other photos showed images of what the view was like in the seats behind the giant scoreboard, where at least a quarter of the field was obscured.

For his part, @booth_rob insisted: “A urinal for 7 men on level 4 to accommodate maybe 4 or 6 bays. A real throwback to the worst stadiums worldwide. Half the escalators not working at gate 5 another issue. Lastly, the ref tmo interaction inaudible on level 4. Not worth $800 million spent when compared to old.”

@G_McDog on the other hand, was exultant: “Went to both matches and as a person with a disability, it is the most accessible stadium I have been to. No lines for toilet and maximum wait for food and drink would have been a couple of minutes during the pregame happy hour.”

@Real_Don_Easter more or less agreed: “Access in and out was easy. Plenty of friendly helpful staff. Was up on level 4 – don’t lean forward. View good although announcements were hard to hear up there E.g. hard to hear welcome to country.”

@MrSimonCorbett was happy: ”I was against the stadium (and still am). But the experience on Friday night was great.”

My favourite post though, was from @paulrigby7: ”HG said yesterday that VLandys loved it and can’t wait to knock it down and build another one.”

In sum, it feels as though while lots of people loved the experience of the new stadium, there are still many teething problems to sort out.

Tigers tale sounds twisted

Yonks back I remember watching an NRL match when the Raiders, I think, were behind by 30 odd points at half-time. As they came out for the second half Phil Gould intoned, “Next week’s victory starts now.”

It was an interesting point, made by one with huge football experience. Yes, this match was lost, but it was the job of the losing side to use the time left in the match to work out how to win next week, to crank up their plays, bust their moves, put their systems under pressure, so that come the next match they’d be in much better shape.

The Wests Tigers were thrashed by Canberra.Credit:Getty

Which brings me to this last burst of the season of the Wests Tigers under interim coach Brett Kimmorley who replaced the sacked Michael Maguire, all while the incoming new coach Tim Sheens, and his assistant coach Benji Marshall were around.

Weekend press reports had it that Kimmorley had barely any contact with them!

What? How could that be? Surely, the Gould principle would apply on a wider basis?

Surely the job of Sheens and Marshall was to hover close, see the prospective players in action, watch how they train, work out the team chemistry, gather key information for the decisions they will have to make shortly, in the hope of winning more next year.

But, reportedly, not a bit of it.

Sheens and Marshall, nowhere to be seen. I just don’t get it.

What They Said

Channel 9’s Tony Jones on finding out he wasn’t invited to the Brownlow: “If the AFL is watching, you can get stuffed, it’s a crap night.” Check with Wayne Carey, Tony? I think he might not be using his.

Frances Tiafoe on knocking out Rafael Nadal of the US Open in front of his parents: “My heart is going a thousand miles an hour. I was so excited. I was like: Let me sit down. Yeah, I’ve never felt something like that in my life, honestly. To see them experience me beat Rafa Nadal – they’ve seen me have big wins, but to beat those Mount Rushmore guys?”

John McEnroe singing the praises of Nick Kyrgios, after the Canberran beat world No.1 Daniil Medvedev: “I am on a high, to see him be this professional. He’s 27 and potentially there are a bunch of years where he can do his thing, and boy did he do it last night. The guy is a genius . . . The guy is phenomenal.”

Medvedev: “I played Novak and Rafa. They are amazing. Nick [Kyrgios] was at their level in my opinion, in a different style.”

A very gracious Ajla Tomljanovic on defeating Serena Williams at the US Open: “She’s ‘Serena’. That’s just who she is, and she’s the greatest of all time. Period. I’m feeling really sorry, just because I love Serena just as much as you guys do. And what she’s done for me, for the sport of tennis, is incredible. This is a surreal moment for me.”

Margaret Court to the London Daily Telegraph: “Serena, I’ve admired her as a player. But I don’t think she has ever admired me. I was at Wimbledon this year and nobody even spoke to me. So I thought, ‘Ah, that’s interesting’.”

Serena Williams.Credit:AP

Court, on the fact that Serena Williams could travel with family, and friends: “I would love to have played in this era. I think it’s so much easier.”

LeBron James to Serena Williams on social media: “Wow, where do I start? First of all, I’ll start off by saying congratulations to you, to an unbelievable career. You’re a GOAT. What you’ve done for the sport of tennis, what you’ve done for women and what you’ve done for the category of sport, period, is unprecedented.”

Tiger Woods to Williams in a tweet: “You’re literally the greatest on and off the court. Thank you for inspiring all of us to pursue our dreams. I love you little sis!!!!!!”

Lauren Jackson on her return to the Opals: “I know I’m not the player I used to be – but I know I’m still pretty good.”

Latrell Mitchell on putting up with the fans booing: “Adam Goodes gave up his career because of it. It’s not nice because we cop it every day as it is, and regardless of what happens on the field, it stays on the field. They have control over what they do off [the field] when they come watch a game.”

Craig McRae unhappy some Magpie players lay on the ground after their loss to Geelong: “We’re here to win this thing, we’ve given it everything we’ve got to get to this time of the year and you want to give it your best shot. We lost the game, but we’re not losers. There is a difference. I said that for the lifetime that I’m sitting in this chair – maybe barring a grand final – if we don’t win, don’t lay on the ground.”

Tyson Gamble about his Broncos coach, Kevin Walters: “Kev’s the coach, but [Adam Reynolds] is the go-to man for everybody. If you’ve got a question about the team or footy, you go to him. Kevvie really understands footy and he’s a good bloke in getting the team up and about, but the modern day is so different to the way Kevvie played footy . . . Reyno is the mastermind around our attack at the moment.” Walters was unimpressed.

Adam Scott: “I don’t have a problem really with what LIV Golf is doing but at this current moment it doesn’t fit Adam Scott right now.” Good to hear, from Adam Scott, on what Adam Scott is up to!

Ajla Tomljanovic.Credit:Getty

Team of the Week

Ajla Tomljanovic. Defeated Serena Williams at the US Open and made it to the quarter-finals.

Wallabies. Take on the All Blacks in Melbourne next Thursday.

Sydney University. Students won the Shute Shield defeating Gordon in the grand final.

Wests Tigers. Claimed their first wooden spoon, after a final effort that was reflective of the season as a whole – completely woeful.

Canberra Raiders. Did very well to make the finals, when you consider that after the first eight weeks of the season they were batting 2-6 and in 14th spot.

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