Nick Kyrgios, who has gained a reputation as one of the sport’s most controversial stars, has hinted that he may be close to retiring from tennis after he announced that the Laver Cup in Boston was his final appearance of 2021.
Kyrgios, who reached as high as 13th in the world rankings in 2016, has been largely inactive from the tennis circuit for much of the past two years and has played in very few tournaments throughout the Covid-19 global pandemic.
This relative inactivity has seen his world ranking plummet to 95th, and after a straight sets defeat to Stefanos Tsitsipas during Saturday’s meeting at the Laver Cup, a disappointed Kyrgios admitted that he is unsure of his future in professional tennis.
“Definitely, this is my last event of the year,” said Kyrgios, who was participating for Team World against Team Europe in the so-called ‘Ryder Cup of tennis’.
“I need to go back home. I have been travelling for four-and-a-half months now.
“My mum is not doing too well with her health. I’d like to go back and see her.
“Obviously, I’ll get my body right and I’ll start my pre-season, spend time with my family for the Australian Open and go from there. I will reassess.”
— Laver Cup (@LaverCup) September 25, 2021
Speaking after his 6-4, 6-3 win against the Aussie, Tsitsipas paid tribute to Kyrgios’ talents.
“He’s someone, you know, with not much practice or preparation [and] he can come out and play [some] of his best tennis due to the enormous talent that he has as an athlete,” said the Greek.
Despite not reaching a Grand Slam final throughout his career, Kyrgios has remained a fan favorite owing to his brash, outspoken character – something which has frequently landed him in hot water with the sport’s authorities.
He's talented at something he doesn't like doing it seems
— The Defiant (@AlCHERRY14) September 26, 2021
He'd start a row in an empty phone box.
— harry tasker (@HauserQuaid) September 26, 2021
Kyrgios also remains one of just a handful of players to hold wins against tennis’ three most dominant stars in Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.
But despite never getting past the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam event, Kyrgios says that he has nothing left to prove in the sport.
“I feel like I’m not one of those players now that’s going to go hunting for points or hunting for accolades or anything like that,” he said.
Promising talent wasted by attitude and disrespect for the sport
— Liam King (@LiamKing07) September 26, 2021
This lad gets a hell of a lot of press considering he’s won sod all in his career
— matt stephens (@mattstephens19) September 26, 2021
“I feel like I have nothing left to prove to myself. I’m incredibly proud of what I have achieved.
“Where I go from here, everything’s a bonus. I’m playing Laver Cup again, and I’m not going to lie, I think this is my last year I will probably play Laver Cup.
“As long as I’m on the court, I will try and give my best, but I’m not going to lie and say that I’m going to plan to play four or five more years on tour – that’s just not me.”
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The reaction online to Kyrgios potentially stepping away from tennis has been mixed, with some hailing his prodigious talent and others bemoaning the antics which have so often distracted from it.
“He’s talented at something he doesn’t like doing, it seems,” wrote one fan, while another said he would “start a row in an empty phone box.”
A third was perhaps a bit more cutting in their summation, observing: “Promising talent wasted by attitude and disrespect for the sport.”
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