The Nick Kyrgios Sideshow Reviewed: Tennis’ Very Own Incredible Hulk


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There’s a tennis tournament going on in Montréal right now. A big one, too, an ATP 1000, one of the nine biggest events of the season after the slams. The tennis, though, has not been that entertaining- of the 8 matches yesterday there was one three setter and no upsets. Luckily for the ATP and the media, and to some extent the fans, a superhero of sorts has come to save the day, tennis’ very own incredible hulk, Nick Kyrgios.

The 20 year old world no.41, who was vanquished in straight sets in just over an hour yesterday by John Isner, has come to the ATP’s rescue with his very own sideshow in which he morphs from a talented, charismatic entertainer into a foul mouthed, unlikable bore.

The boos which accompanied Kyrgios as he entered and then swiftly exited the Banque Nationals arena, the second main court in Montreal, were by far the most tweeted and face-booked moments of the day’s play yesterday, though the attention was nothing compared to the previous evening’s dramatics behind the boos.

That show ran something like this. Wawrinka told a serving Kyrgios, already rattled by a series of bad line calls, that there was a ball boy running behind him. Kyrgios replied he did not have eyes in the back of his head and Wawrinka told him to get on with serving. Kyrgios then said something insulting about how a close friend of his, Kokkinakis, had, to put it politely, had intimate relations with Wawrinka’s rumoured girlfriend Donna Vekic. (Kyrgios had already warmed the crowd up for this verbal blow earlier in the match with a comment about how Wawrinka was ‘banging’ an 18 year old.)

The cameras picked up the comment, and, then ran with it. Commentators jumped on it, social media went wild, and the Nick Kyrgios sideshow was doing what the circus never wants- the freaks pulling in more of the crowds that the highly trained lions and over worked clowns. There is plenty of space, mostly lucrative, in the social media tent, though, and with little to talk about tennis wise, the circus is likely secretly grateful for Kyrgios’ hulk routine and its sensational headlines.

They still fined Kyrgios though, a $10, 000 pittance for the millionaire, and a small penalty considering the demands for his head, though there will be further investigation into the incident when they might get a vial or two of Kyrgios’ blood. Wawrinka will be the first in line for some. The Swiss issued a statement about how this kind of disrespect could not go on in the game – though the kind of disrespect of telling your opponent to get on with playing mid match is fine-and some commentators have called for a ban, which like the fine, will not trouble a player who thinks the tour is too long anyway, has taken extended breaks, and would rather play basketball anyway.

The basketball revelation was revealed the last time the Nick Kyrgios sideshow was in town, in London in June. At Wimbledon Kyrgios stole a few headlines, ones that should have been praising his exciting attacking tennis and unique personal style (for tennis anyway),  by tanking some of the second set in his third round match versus Gasquet, berating the umpire for penalizing him and not Nadal (who was not on the court) for taking too long between points, climbing a wall to watch some tennis, and then proclaiming he didn’t much like tennis anyway and would rather play basketball. That sideshow though was run out of town as quickly as Gasquet ran him off the court as there was other stuff to talk about like Federer and his 18th slam and the tennis, overall, was pretty good.

The Nick Kyrgios sideshow has a supporting act, too, his brother, who has reportedly threatened Wawrinka, and so the sideshow goes on. Catch it while you can – Nadal vs Nishkori, who play tonight, might be the lions that get the ATP circus going again and kick this sideshow out of the main tent and back where it belongs.

Commentary by Christian Deverille.

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