Nick Kyrgios continues to seek controversy

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The fact that Nick Kyrgios lost his Australian Open third round tie in the Australian Open to sixth seed Tomas Berdych in four sets wasn’t the main talking point at Rod Laver Arena isn't really surprising.

Not for the first time, it was the antics or as some commentators described it the “circus” that the 20-year old put on in the second set.

Kyrgios had already lost the first set 6-3 and was well on his way to losing the second, when he stopped playing after saying he heard music coming from the crowd.


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So began a discussion that lasted several minutes between Kyrgios and chair umpire James Keothavong.

The umpire asked the Australian whether he wanted to stop playing, to which Kyrgios replied: “Are you going to do something about this situation, can’t you just say to turn your phone off”?

There was plenty of gesturing, muttering and shaking of the head by Kyrgios which then put the home crowd against him.

Calls of “Shut up Nick” “Do you want a tissue?” and general booing were heard from different parts of the stadium. The reports of music being heard were seemingly correct, but it has yet to be proven if it was from inside the stadium or from an outside event.

The sideshow seemed to fire the youngster up, as he went on to win the third set 6-1 but the experienced Berdych responded to take out the fourth set 6-4.

Kyrgios fired a parting shot the umpire’s way at the post-match shake of hands, describing him as "a terrible umpire.” It was something that didn’t need to be said at that moment.

Kyrgios is well aware that he is disliked by a significant part of the tennis public in his homeland, not that it seems to bother him.

He is a rather curious figure who at times, looks like he would prefer to be a million miles away from a tennis court. He freely admits he does not love the game and that could be part of the problem.

Australians are used to seeing their male tennis stars like Pat Rafter, Lleyton Hewitt and even Wayne Arthurs give their all in every minute of the match.

Mark Philippoussis was a laconic figure at times but was very passionate about representing his country - winning the Davis Cup in 1999 and 2003.

The new wave of Aussie talent led by Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic seem to have a care-free attitude, almost to the point of looking like they don’t care at times, with Kyrgios audibly heard to say the words “I don’t want to be here” in a Davis Cup tie last year.

Then, of course, there was the incident with Stan Wawrinka, where in no uncertain terms told the dual grand slam winner that his girlfriend has slept with another player on tour behind his back.

Again, it was a totally inappropriate and thoughtless thing to say at the best of times, let alone in the public gaze of a tennis tournament.

Everyone is different, and no one should be criticised for being themselves. We don’t want a group of emotionless robots playing the game. When he puts his mind to it Kyrgios is a joy to watch and has talent to burn.

However, there comes a time where players like Kyrgios have to decide whether playing tennis is what they want to do for the next ten years or more.

They have to be prepared to put in the hard work day in and day out. They have to display a level of grace and dignity on the court and off it.

At the end of the day being liked isn’t the be-all and end-all, but being respected is by their fellow professionals is what players crave.

That is something that Kyrgios needs to work on.

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