MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australian media urged Nick Kyrgios to get a coach, get serious or get out of the game on Thursday after his tempestuous second round exit from his home Australian Open.
Kyrgios, playing his first tournament after serving an ATP ban for misconduct, was jeered off the court by sections of the Hisense Arena crowd after squandering a two-set lead and throwing a tantrum to lose in five sets to Italian Andreas Seppi.
The 21-year-old also showed an obvious lack of mobility around the court toward the end of the match which he blamed on a knee injury and poor conditioning but he was accused of not trying by tennis great and TV pundit John McEnroe.
Kyrgios said he needed a coach to help him with his mental game and was consulting a sports psychologist but there was precious little sympathy in any of Australia’s major daily newspapers.
Brisbane’s Courier Mail had a huge splash of Kyrgios on its back page with the graphic of a baby’s dummy being spat from his mouth.
“Now Nick off,” the headline read. “Kyrgios loses and acts like a child doing it.”
The Australian newspaper led with the headline: “Kyrgios adds to shame file.”
“Pride has brought him undone. And the fear of commitment. He’s scared of how great he could be,” an editorial in the paper said.
“It’s been cooler to exude indifference. Get a coach. Get professional. Or get out of here.”
Australia’s former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash, who claimed last year to have discussed a coaching role with the Kyrgios camp, said he would not last “one minute” as his mentor.
“Why would I want to get involved in a job like that?” Cash told Melbourne radio station 3AW.
“If it was Lleyton Hewitt, the same thing, Bernard Tomic or Nick Kyrgios or Andy Murray. If they started screaming at me and abusing me in the box, I would just pack up and walk out. I’ve got too much respect for myself.”
Kyrgios won three titles in his most consistent season last year but his campaign ended with an ATP ban after he abused spectators, the chair umpire and walked off court during a point in his exit from the Shanghai Masters.
His ban was cut to three weeks with his agreement to see a sports psychologist and after winning his first round match at Melbourne Park easily, Kyrgios said he was “in a good space.”
It all fell apart against Seppi on Wednesday, however, leaving former players to lament what caliber a player the prodigiously talented Kyrgios might be if he knuckled down.
Kyrgios has admitted before to having scant regard for training but his former coach Josh Eagle questioned whether he was training even 15 minutes per day.
“Imagine if Nick Kyrgios worked on his tennis game 15 minutes a day,” Eagle, a former Davis Cup coach, told local radio station RSN927.
“It sounds crazy, but that’s not actually happening, and he’s still number 13 in the world.
“They (other players) would look at him and say ‘wow, what a talent’. On the flip side they say, ‘Imagine if he was working harder, we would not stand a chance against him’.”
Editing by Sudipto Ganguly