Nick Kyrgios is one fascinating human being. We know this, but let’s pause for a second to consciously realize what that statement means.
Not too long ago, I wrote about Gael Monfils’ Rotterdam title and encouraged all of you to simply appreciate merry Monfils moments when they occur. Gael is all about fun. Therefore, enjoying the fun when it emerges is the best way to appreciate that very curious and anything-but-ordinary career.
I won’t speak for anyone else, but I am personally at that point with Nick Kyrgios.
What he did this past week in Acapulco — culminating with his championship victory over Alexander Zverev on Saturday night — was simultaneously remarkable and natural.
Kyrgios’s championship was both an incredible display of crunch-time performance and shotmaking… and a source of immense exasperation and befuddlement.
This was the kind of tennis which is formidable at a high level, yet something Kyrgios has not been able to sustain on a continuous basis.
Kyrgios beat a 17-time major champion, Rafael Nadal. He beat a three-time major champion, Stan Wawrinka. He beat a Wimbledon semifinalist, John Isner. He beat a three-time Masters 1000 champion, Alexander Zverev. Of course he did. He LOVES to get up for the big names.
Yet, Kyrgios doesn’t have a major title. He doesn’t even have Isner’s one major semifinal appearance. He doesn’t have even one Masters 1000 trophy.
Kyrgios can beat the best — he did so all week in Mexico — but he has made just one Masters 1000 final and is still searching for a championship of considerable importance. An ATP 500 is as high as he has climbed up the food chain.
You can choose to be mad or disappointed in the face of all this… or you can sit back, relax, and just enjoy The Nick Kyrgios Show when it unfolds in all its emotional complexity and theatrical richness, as it did this past week.
What does Rafael Nadal think about Nick? What do other players think about Nick? I am sooooo entirely uninterested in those soap-operatic concerns. I am interested in whether Nick can realize his potential.
Will he or won’t he? We know what he needs to address: Fitness. Attitude. Return of serve. Let’s not pretend we have to figure out these questions… or assume Kyrgios isn’t already aware of them.
This is a one-of-a-kind figure in tennis. There is no one quite like him, just as there is no one quite like Gael Monfils. These are original artists. They have their own temperaments. They don’t fall into cookie-cutter silos.
While they live life at their own speed, just appreciate their beauty when they create it, shrug off the disappointments when they fail, and don’t take on any undue anxiety.
Catholics might recall the words uttered by the priest in the older version of the Mass after the saying of the Lord’s Prayer:
“Deliver us, Lord, from every evil, and grant us peace in our day.
In your mercy, keep us free from sin, and protect us from all anxiety,
as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our savior, Jesus Christ.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever.”
Some of the better priests I knew would insert the word “undue” before the word “anxiety.” One implied meaning to be found in that insertion of the word “undue” is this: Anxiety can be a natural, normal thing. It can be our way of coping with important situations.
However, there are other times in life when anxiety simply isn’t necessary.
Following Nick Kyrgios’s career isn’t worth the anxiety. Just be entertained by the tennis, and let Nick sort out the rest in his own time.
He did that in Acapulco. Will he do it in Indian Wells or Miami? I doubt it… but I’m not going to lose any sleep if or when he crashes out early.
I will just enjoy Nick and let him figure out how to move forward.
What you do? That’s your call… but you have now received a word of advice on the matter.