Back to his familiar old ways, Nick Kyrgios put up quite a show during his round-three match against Borna Coric at the Murray River Open. Returning to the sport after a gap of almost a year, the notorious Aussie ended his pre-Australian Open 2021 run less than positively, smashing his racket and going on a foul rant about anything and everything as he went down. The incident comes just days after Kyrgios' claim that he was becoming a calmer person, drawing inspiration from his new Kobe Bryant tribute tattoo.
Hours after receiving rare praise for his calm demeanour on the court during his match against compatriot Harry Bourchier, Nick Kyrgios has gone back to being his usual self. Struggling with some pain in his left knee, the Aussie was broken early — and regularly — by the Croat who eventually defeated him 6-3, 6-4. While he managed to hold himself together after set one, Kyrgios' irritation was clear. He could be heard complaining to a trainer in between sets, saying "I can't serve without pain... when I land it feels unstable".
Reliant on his fast serves, Kyrgios also pointed out how the pain was causing his service speed to go down dramatically. "I'll probably just play one more game. I'm serving at like 170 (km/h) instead of 220," he complained. Despite the pain, Kyrgios took to the second set to an even 4-4 before he was broken at the crucial juncture. This proved to be the last straw for him and led to a dramatic racket smash and the tirade that led to a warning and a point penalty from the umpire for unsportsmanlike conduct.
There is no doubt too, that Kyrgios would have found great personal satisfaction in beating Borna Coric, who he had spoken out against in length for his involvement in Novak Djokovic's failed Adria Tour last year. Coric was among the many people who caught the virus from the event, which became a favourite topic for Kyrgios over the summer. However, it is Coric, who is now playing Dan Evans in the quarter-final of the Murray River Open, while Kyrgios rethinks his Australian Open plan.
Nick Kyrgios' dalliance with tennis has been one fraught with strife. The 25-year-old first came onto the scene in 2013 and quickly gained a McEnroe-esque reputation. Currently ranked No. 47 in the world, the Aussie has not played a singles match to completion since his Australian Open 2020 round-four match against Rafael Nadal. With barely any points from 2019 to help keep him afloat in the rankings, Kyrgios ended 2020 at No .45. His career-high ATP ranking of #13, achieved in October 2016, is a far cry from where he stands today.