Rising Aussie stars ‘losing the plot’
Sydney: Australia’s rising tennis stars are fast earning a reputation as the new brats of the sport with recent antics sparking stinging criticism and calls to change their ways.
Bernard Tomic, Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis have been making headlines for all the wrong reasons, leaving Australian media to ask Monday: “Are the trio of stars losing the plot because they are young, stupid or victims of their own poor judgement?”
Kyrgios has been the chief culprit, picked up by on-court microphones telling Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka that “Kokkinakis banged your girlfriend” in an on-court sledge at the Rogers Cup in Montreal last week that infuriated the Swiss star.
The 20-year-old Kyrgios was fined US$12,500 by the ATP Tour, which launched an investigation into the remark which could result in further action against him.
He later apologised but not before his unsavoury comment sparked fierce condemnation in the women’s game, led by WTA Tour chairman Stacey Allaster, tennis legend Martin Navratilova and commentator Pam Shriver.
“The statement made by Nick Kyrgios is crude and unacceptable,” Allaster said, in comments echoed by Australian media.
“The problem with the type of venomous poison Nick Kyrgios spewed last week is that it spreads like a cancer, entangling and embroiling others in its vitriol,” wrote The Australian newspaper’s Courtney Walsh.
He was referring to Kokkinakis almost coming to blows with Ryan Harrison in qualifying for the Cincinnati Masters at the weekend.
Kokkinakis was agitated by a pair of call overrules by the umpire in 23-year-old Harrison’s favour, pressing his complaints to annoy the American who railed about these “new age little kids”.
“They are going to get hurt,” Harrison said. “(Kokkinakis) is 19. If he wants to get into it, I will bury him. Wawrinka should have decked Kyrgios and I should deck that kid.”