Nick Kyrgios is one of the most popular tennis players of this generation.
However, apart from his obvious skill and talent in the sport, one could definitely argue that his popularity largely stems from his bad-boy personality, his racket-smashing antics on the court, and the controversies that tend to surround him.
Because of this, the Australian ace has always been a love-him-or-hate-him kind of player.
Here are four reasons why you might fall under one end of the spectrum or the other.
1. He’s a rule breaker (and he doesn’t care).
Nick Kyrgios is widely known to be tennis’ “bad boy” character. And this reputation of his definitely stems from the many rules he has no problem breaking.
For instance, at last year’s Wimbledon, where he managed to break into the finals and finish as runner-up, he recorded three major violations due to his behavior.
In the final match, for example, he blamed one of the spectators for disrupting the match, being very specific to the umpire with the callout.
In that tournament alone, he racked up a bill of £13,781 (equivalent to around PHP 924,600) from three major rule violations.
But apart from these, he also catches the attention of the media every time he goes against Wimbledon’s all-white dress code. On multiple occasions last year, he would blatantly replace his white cap with a red one.
Not to mention the countless number of times he’s broken a racket in a match, which is classified as a violation in tennis as well.
After all the rules he’s broken, one might think that he’s learned his lesson. But with the times he’s been called out for his antics, it’s easier to assume that he simply doesn’t care.
And some people love his guts, while others hate it.
2. He speaks his mind.
Nick Kyrgios is known for many things. But keeping his thoughts to himself is not one of them.
In matches wherein things aren’t going the Australian’s way, he tends to share his (rather strong) opinions — with the crowd, with his opponent, and most popularly, with the umpires.
Last year at the Miami Open, he had much to say about the umpire of the match. “When everyone in the crowd is booing the umpire and he is becoming the center of attention, that’s not his job,” he said in a post-match interview.
“By the way, it’s all electrically done now, so you’re actually doing nothing apart from calling the score,” he added. “And he couldn’t even do that.”
And let’s not forget the time when he tossed a bottle of water at the umpire chair out of frustration, only to later say that it “slipped out” of his hand.
If Nick Kyrgios is unhappy, you’ll certainly know it.
3. He’s a “part-time tennis player.”
Nick Kyrgios is one of the stars of Netflix’s newly released series, Break Point. And in one of the episodes, former world number one and US Open champion Andy Roddick called the Australian a “part-time tennis player.”
“He doesn’t play that often, he takes months off at a time. It’s like a hobby,” Roddick added.
This statement has some merit to it. In 2017, even his own former coach admitted that Nick Kyrgios’ training setup needed more stability.
“Imagine if Nick Kyrgios worked on his tennis game 15 minutes a day,” Kyrgios’ former coach Josh Eagle shared. In addition, he also shared that this is actually not even happening. But even so, at the time of this release, Kyrgios was sitting at 13th in the world.
And to add fuel to the flame, Kyrgios also once shared that he doesn’t “really like the sport of tennis that much.”
“I don’t love it,” Kyrgios said. “It was crazy when I was 14. I was all for basketball and I made the decision to play tennis. I got pushed by my parents and to this day I can still say I don’t love the sport.”
However, to his credit, Kyrgios also shared last year ahead of the Miami Open that he is in the best shape of his life. He explained that this was mainly because he was able to get a good pre-season in, he’s been living a healthier lifestyle, and he’s been more dedicated to his physical training.
But whether he has a consistent training regiment or not, he still manages to be among the top players in the world.
4. And yet, he wins.
Whether you love him or hate him, no one can say that Nick Kyrgios is not an incredible tennis player.
He is one of the few players who have beaten tennis’ big three. He’s defeated Rafael Nadal on three occasions, won twice over Novak Djokovic, and beat Roger Federer once.
And although he’s struggled to win a Grand Slam singles title, he is a Grand Slam winner in the doubles tournament, as he won the Australian Open with partner Tahansi Kokkinakis.
In addition, he has reached a career-high world ranking of No. 13 and is currently sitting at No. 21.
After turning professional in 2013, Nick Kyrgios has certainly proven himself as one of this generation’s best talents time and time again.
In fact, in Netflix’s show Break Point, tennis legend John McEnroe had high praise for the Australian player. “I think he’s the most talented tennis player that I’ve seen in 10 years,” he shared.
Indeed, he definitely is. For all the trouble he causes, the fines he racks up, and the critics he faces, he is still undoubtedly one of the best tennis players around.
Banner image from Nick Kyrgios on Instagram.