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HomeSportsTennisOriginal tennis 'bad boy' McEnroe defends Kyrgios: 'tennis needs him'

Original tennis ‘bad boy’ McEnroe defends Kyrgios: ‘tennis needs him’

Tennis legend John McEnroe has weighed in on the controversy that is surrounding Wimbledon finalist Nick Kyrgios. The Australian was sanctioned several times during the tournament, and the American believes that despite his behaviour, Kyrgios can be an asset to tennis.

McEnroe made a name for himself for his achievements on the tennis court, but he gained notoriety for his emotional outbursts and numerous verbal attacks against umpires during his own career. Many tennis fans were reminded of McEnroe while watching Kyrgios, and he has given his opinion on the matter.

In an interview with BBC Radio 5, McEnroe said that he feels Kyrgios has his “demons” but at the same time, the tennis world needs him in a big way. The 27-year-old has displayed some appalling behaviour on-court, but there is no doubt that he has huge talent. On top of that, there is of course the entertainment factor of having a rough antagonist in the competition.

“I get a lot of what’s going on here more than most people. He’s a good kid, the players like him, he’s well liked in the locker room, he does a lot of charity work. But he’s got demons you know, in a way – we all have this fear of failure and it’s a question of how you best deal with it,” said McEnroe.

Kygios himself previously said that he has many friends in the locker room after Stefanos Tsitsipas accused him of being a bully. McEnroe said that he has reached out to the Australian on several occasions, but they have not been able to have a chat as yet.

He even mentioned that perhaps he would be the best kind of coach for someone who is so similar to him. He thinks the 27-year-old is incredible when he wants to be, and perhaps he needs more psychological guidance than a traditional coach. “He needs Sigmund Freud to come out of the grave and somehow figure out a way to keep this guy going for a couple of years because we could use him.”

McEnroe described Kyrgios as “talented” and “smart” despite appearing to be “tortured.”

“[He’s] a hell of a player when he wants to be and so you want to nurture that in a way as an ex-player, as a father, as a fan, as a commentator, so I can relate a lot,” he added.

Kyrgios received hefty fines at Wimbledon for spitting towards the audience during his first round match. Later, he was fined twice more for screaming profanities during his match against Tsitsipas in the third round as well as towards his own box during the final against Novak Djokovic.

While McEnroe understands the need to blow off some steam, he criticised Kyrgios for his attacks against his own supporters. “How do you think his box feels when he’s screaming at them? Those are the people that love him most right?”

He called it “unfortunate” that the payer chose to attack his own loved ones in front of the whole world at Centre Court. “So that part, hopefully he would look at and go, ‘I don’t need to do that to my dad or my girlfriend’.”

‘Never thought I’d make Slam final’: Nick Kyrgios AFP / SEBASTIEN BOZON
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