Nick Kyrgios looked happier than ever during his brief, though fiercely entertaining, run at Wimbledon — but has been warned he can’t get away with efforts like those at the All England Club for the rest of his career.
The Aussie star was heartbroken when forced to retire with a stomach injury during his third round match against Canadian young gun Felix Auger Aliassime. Kyrgios was upset he couldn’t continue not just on a personal level, but because he felt he’d let down the crowd and mixed doubles partner Venus Williams.
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The 26-year-old was always going to struggle because he’s missed so much tennis in recent times. He sat out the rest of 2020 once the pandemic hit and Wimbledon was his first time back on court since the Australian Open earlier this year.
Unsurprisingly, Kyrgios — who joked his first round win over Ugo Humbert wasn’t bad for a “part-time player” — was let down because his body simply wasn’t up to the rigours of competing at a grand slam.
There’s been hardly any criticism of Kyrgios because it’s perfectly understandable someone who’s played as little as he has would get cut down eventually. But English tennis commentator David Law warned being a “part time” player would come with as many troughs as peaks.
“It’s the inevitability of not being match tough because of lack of training, a lack of tennis,” Law told The Tennis Podcast.
“Almost in unison our guests tonight, (tennis legends) Billie Jean King and Ilana Kross … said, ‘You have to pay the price’. In training, in getting ready physically for this stuff, you have to pay the price.
“You can’t just take shortcuts if you want to succeed.
“OK, you might be alright with not ending up as world No. 1 or wining multiple (titles). If you want to win any of them, you can’t just blag it, no matter how good you are.”
Kyrgios was always going to struggle.Source:AFP
Tennis analyst Matt Roberts echoed that sentiment, saying Kyrgios would need to find the right balance between playing and taking time away if he’s to make an impact in the tournaments he does decide to enter.
“We’ve seen the benefits mentally for Kyrgios of being fresh and not having played much and being, in his words, kind of a ‘part time’ tennis player,” Roberts said on The Tennis Podcast.
“He’s been in a great space it seems, this tournament, and that’s been great to see and watch.
“But physically you can’t just rock up to a grand slam having played no tennis for five months and expect your body to hold up to the rigours of it.”
Broadcaster Catherine Whitaker said for all the joy Kyrgios provided tennis fans with his two singles wins and mixed doubles victory alongside Williams, the sad way he withdrew from Wimbledon sours those memories.
She said it was tough to reconcile having success as a “part-time” tennis player when you fully appreciate “what a demanding, high octane sport it (tennis) is on a physical level and how fine the margins are and how you just can’t get away with being, no matter what your talent level, out of shape and out of practice”.
Whitaker added: “As much as I love the dream of part-time tennis player Nick Kyrgios that rocks up at a grand slam and has a run and has magical moments, ending it in that way does detract from the magic of the moments that precede it.”
The Aussie must face the consequences if he isn’t going to devote all his energy to tennis.Source:Getty Images
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