Say what you want about Nick Kyrgios, the one thing you can’t argue is he is putting tennis in the spotlight.
Kyrgios may well be the most divisive Australian athlete on the planet and his latest move only ruffled more feathers.
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He blindsided his Aussie teammates by withdrawing from the United Cup at the last minute, mere moments before they stepped out for a press conference.
Australian co-captain Sam Stosur said she found out about Kyrgios’ withdrawal just 10 minutes before the presser. Aussie players, including Alex de Minaur, said they had not been told why Kyrgios had chosen to skip the event. Fellow co-captain Lleyton Hewitt delivered a stinging clip to Kyrgios over his lack of communication to the team.
Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas, a man who has plenty of beef with Kyrgios, told his rival to “enjoy his holidays”.
The 27-year-old didn’t help the situation when he posted just two hours after his withdrawal. The post showed him enjoying an outing at Sydney’s Darling Harbour with a caption “Beautiful day”. The post included a laughing emoji.
Despite all of that and all of the criticism that continually gets thrown his way, Kyrgios is bringing more eyeballs to the sport than anybody else.
As the backlash over his 11th hour withdrawal continued to pile up, the world number 22 hit back at his critics after it was revealed the first episode of a new behind-the-scenes tennis series on Netflix would be focused on him.
“Haha so after all this, all the media, journalism saying how bad I am for the sport, disrespecting the game & just a pure villain, I am going to be the number 1 episode on Netflix … to grow our fan base, basically trying to put tennis on the map again,” Kyrgios tweeted.
“And essentially putting more money in everyone’s pockets that’s involved with tennis, you all look really ridiculous now, your apology should be as loud as your disrespect was.”
Kyrgios continually gets under the skin of fans with his on-court antics as it’s more often than not pointed out he doesn’t carry himself like a champion should … aka Ash Barty.
But despite all of the noise, there’s no tennis player going around right now that brings more casual eyeballs to the sport than him.
He’s the greatest showman on the planet with a racquet in his hand. On any given day he can make some of the best in the world look second rate and then the next he might lose his cool and throw some barbs at his coaching box.
It’s all a part of the Nick Kyrgios package and it’s because of that he is, as he says, putting tennis on the map again.
As the Australian Open draws closer to getting underway, Kyrgios’ move to withdraw from the United Cup only amplifies the amount of people that will tune in for his opening round encounter.
Whether you love him or hate him, the one common denominator when it comes to Kyrgios is everybody tunes in to watch him when he steps onto the court.
He’ll likely never join the tennis GOAT conversation, but as of right now there’s no bigger drawcard on the tour.
Netflix’s series “Breaking Point” is set to be released prior to the Australian Open as a look behind the curtain into the tennis world.
Kyrgios reportedly inked a lucrative deal to be a part of the series which is made by the same team who produced the popular Formula 1 series “Drive to Survive”.
The first episode is set to focus on Kyrgios’ Australian Open campaign and his historic doubles victory with Thanasi Kokkinakis.
The first five episodes will be released on January 13, days before the Australian Open kicks off on January 16.
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