From The Cheap Seats – 23rd October 2016

(Couldn’t find my weekly column posted on line on the Fairfax sites this week, so here it is.)




They used to have this hit song, many hundreds of your Earth years ago, by some guy called Edwin Starr.


Kids, you’ll have to trust me on this, or actually listen to the station your Dad has on in the car for a change, but the lyric, in part, went:

“War! (Huhh) What is it good for? Absolutely nothing. Say it again.”


It seems many people are currently singing that song, but substituting the name Nick Kyrgios where it originally said “War!” And that’s too bad.


For starters, going on what he says and how he acts, Nick is only around 12 years old. Well, maybe a very young 15. Don’t ask me, I stopped following tennis around the time they stopped having those five-set extravagutsers involving Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi. Again, for any younger kids reading this, those were tennis players.


Regardless, folks seem to be lining up to bag Mark Philippoussis, err, that is, Nick Kyrgios. And this isn’t right. In his relatively short time in the game, he has achieved extraordinary things.


Try and think of anyone else who has managed to have been granted an enforced holiday from the pro tour without being dumb enough to get caught using a proscribed substance, or being involved with one of those deals in an early-round tournament match where a bizarre result coincides with bazillions of dollars suddenly turning up on the betting books, regarding a contest that would normally disturb nobody’s sleep patterns or attention span on a worldwide basis.


You’d have thought it was virtually impossible until Nick Kyrgios showed up.


Yes, Kyrgios has looked sensationally disinterested in winning the odd point here and there. But this clearly wasn’t part of any betting ring, sting, or bling – he does it only when the mood takes him, for the art of it, or whatever is the precise word, exactly.


It may be that he’s an underrated genius, at least in the same sense that this description might apply to Bobcat Goldthwait, or whoever manages David Hasselhoff.


For example, barely five minutes into the eight-week ATP tour ban that will turn out to be three weeks if he “gets counselling” – presumably on being not quite so much Nick Kyrgios quite so much of the time  – underrated genius Nick ditched a February 2017 tennis tournament in Rotterdam so he could play in a Celebrity All-Star NBA game instead.


It was suggested on Fox Sports News that basketball was his true passion.

“Half basketball’s (expletive deleted) luck!” the tennis authorities presumably blurted, on hearing the glad tidings.


Of course, Nick Kyrgios has approximately the same shot at making a career of basketball that Tom Petty does of making a late-career switch to top level ice hockey.


You would think someone might have explained to Nick that what keeps him out of the proverbial sheet metal factory, employment wise, is a crazy little game called tennis. And, going on all evidence to hand, you’d apparently be wrong.



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