Wimbledon, and sport, needs more arrogant pricks like Nick Kyrgios
He’s your new ‘classic arsehole-genius’
It was only the second day of the championships, but in his first round clash Kyrgios was already throwing down the gauntlet for the biggest wanker at the tournament. In his first round clash with Radek Stepanek – which he won three sets to one – he had to be warned at the beginning of the game, by a dusty and renowned Swedish umpire, to curb his langauge and not to throw his racket in frustration. But a few bullshits later, Kyrgios is already down £2,000.
Last year, we hit peak Kyrgios, or so we thought. The surly 21-year-old stole the show at the grass court championships in West London when he was accused of throwing his second round tie with Frenchman Richard Gasquet. He also threw his racket 10 ft in the air, and a volley of abuse at the umpire. He also threw a hug at a ballboy. He lost in four sets, and we thought we’d seen it all.
But this year, Krygios – probably the only tennis player ever to have go faster stripes shaved into his head – had just safely navigated a six-month suspended ban from men’s tennis after a sledging incident with Stan Wawrinka. Mid game, in a brutal slice of trash-talking, the likes of which tennis is pretty much alien to, the Australian yelled out: “Kokkinakis banged your girlfriend. Sorry to tell you that mate.” Warwinka was dating a 19-year-old player, Donna Vekic. Kokkinakis is a fellow Australian tennis player. It was described as a low moment for tennis, and hundreds of column inches called for Kyrgios to be banned from the sport. In the fallout, emerged probably the most afternoon tea party, mown lawn, Downton Abbey-esque retort: “Is he just another boorish show-off who needs a clip round the ear,” a toe curling phrase from a boring 50 something writing from his Wiltshire cottage, no doubt.
In short Kyrgios is a wanker. He’s a top top wanker, but a loveable one. The most memorable sportsmen always are: Cantona judo kicked a fan. Kevin Pietersen, the “classic arsehole-genius” screwed his mates and his team over. Ibrahimovich injured his teammate, Rafael van der Vaart, in training – only to threaten to break both his legs if he moaned about it. Kyrgios is your new “classic arsehole-genius”.
Sporting greats can be boring and vanilla. You’ll only remember them for appearing on TV to slate the young upstarts like Kyrgios, or to make a quick buck because they can’t stand not having their perfectly coiffed but ageing hair on show.
Kyrgios brings something fresh to the horde of insipid entitled Murrays and Djokovics. These people aren’t normal – where do they plug themselves in? Ok they make a few jokes every now and again, but where’s the soap opera, the pantomime, the interest? When this arrogance translates into sporting action, you get your great moments, like lobbing your opponent from in between your legs, despite standing at the baseline – as Kyrgios did already this year.
It’s everything professional footballers try to be, but fail so badly. Flashy, dopey and stroppy, with some skill but often falling short of the mark. But they’re not cool, not aspirational in their wankerish ways. Not like when you watch Kyrgios speak, walk with a bowl, screw his face up. Kyrgios’ only problem, he’s not actually that good yet and he does need to work a bit harder to get past his own arrogance and do better to stake his claim and hog the limelight.
This isn’t just about sporting ability but we want cunts, we want bad boys. You can’t move for role models. It’s a breath of fresh air from the polished, robotic, polite and media trained professionals.