If you need a reality show along with your dose of tennis, then switch on the TV set when Australian Nick Kyrgios is playing. Or even for that matter another Australian Bernard Tomic.
Kyrgios started his career as a promising star but has now become more of an entertainer with his temper outbursts and tantrums on the court. His career hasn’t gone anywhere yet and probably won’t if he lets his antics supersede his game.
Sadly, many young and talented players like him have fallen by the wayside because they let their constant bad behaviour take precedence. It happens in every sport. Either their impressionable minds get carried away by watching top players abuse and throw tantrums or they do it to gain more attention.
Today, Kyrgios just cannot go beyond the early rounds of a tournament. Tomic is thoroughly disliked by the fans too and his alleged faking of an injury to avoid a tournament has not gone down well with anyone.
You need to be a genius to mix bad behaviour with good sport. John McEnroe was an exceptional player who did not let his temper tantrums affect his game. His constant barbs at the umpire – reverberated through the stadium during his playing days but he never lost focus.
There are others like that too. Ronaldo has his bad days but he always rises above it.
Uruguayan soccer star Luis Suarez has a terrible reputation and bit the ear of his opponents thrice, the most famous being in the World Cup 2014 when he bit the ear of an Italian defender. He has had many goes at the referee and has been accused of diving and racially abusing former Manchester United captain Patrice Evra. But there was no doubting his class.
Formula One drivers also indulge in bad behaviour regularly and they crash into or block opponents at any given opportunity. Former Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher allegedly crashed into Britain’s Damon Hill’s car and ended his championship hopes in 1994. Schumacher was a fantastic and skilful driver but many such instances always cast a shadow on his fame.
Cricket and golf also have their share of brats. India’s captain Virat Kohli was accused of being a brat by the Australians. But Kohli let his bat do the talking. It must be pointed out that the Australians had the biggest brats in cricket with Shane Warne leading the way.
So where does the reason lie? With the advent of live coverage on TV, many instances of bad behaviour have got a wider audience. Every budding player copies his mentor. Many of them think it is alright to shouts, scream and rant. Sports itself has got far more professional now and aggro seems to be the order of the day. The money too has increased manifold.
In such a scenario, bad behaviour is bound to surface, particularly if fame comes along with it. But what separates the men from the boys is that it the game is important and not dramatics. Showmanship may amuse the fans and viewers but if you don’t perform that one day it will start getting irritating.
When Kyrgios burst on the tennis scene, he was hailed as a new star. Today the only thing he is good at is irritating everyone around him. The end is near for Kyrgios if he doesn’t shape up.
Being a brat is alright but he must back it up with performances.
#The views expressed in this column are the authors and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them.