Another day, a new drama for Kyrgios

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If you’re a Nick Kyrgios fan – or part of Team Kyrgios – every day is a roller-coaster ride.

He goes from sublime to profane from one day to the next. And then he shows off the huge, giving heart that’s in there.

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And then he loses his cool once more.

Tuesday was no exception, as the 22-year-old Aussie retired after losing the first set of his first-round match in Shanghai against American Steve Johnson.

He wasn’t injured, not physically. Later he explained the health issues he was dealing with. 

(Update: Kyrgios didn’t submit to the mandatory physical exmination after the retirement, so he forfeits his 1st-round prize money of $21,085 US. He also was fined $10,000 US for unsportsmanlike conduct).

It’s not easy being Kyrgios, sometimes.

To recap:

Saturday

Kyrgios impresses in beating world No. 4 Alexander Zverev in the Beijing semis.

Sunday

drama

Kyrgios doesn’t have much, get a penalty point, clashes with umpire Mohamed Lahyani on several occasions. And then he goes down 6-2, 6-1 to Rafael Nadal in the Beijing final.

The match did, however, take more than an hour and a half. And there were some moments of brilliance. So there was that.

Monday

Kyrgios reveals a new charitable endeavour in Australia on the Players Voice website.

drama

Kyrgios said he has found his purpose – playing for the kids. He has found the reason for him do be doing what he’s doing, aspects of which he doesn’t really like very much.

He and his family plan to build a “facility for disadvantaged and underprivileged kids where they could hang out, be safe and feel like they were part of a family. There’d be tennis courts and basketball courts and a gym and an oval to kick the footy. There’d be things to eat and beds to sleep in.”

They’re looking for some land in Melbourne – chosen because it’s the sporting capital of Australia over his hometown of Canberra – and looking for corporate partners. 

Kyrgios wrote that whenever he’s back in Australia he’ll be hands-on: running tennis camps, shooting hoops, cooking, cleaning up. And he wrote that everything should be “well under way” by Australian Open time, with a fundraising event in partnership with Tennis Australia planned for early in 2018.

After taking the high-speed train from Beijing to Shanghai, Kyrgios went out with doubles partner Lucas Pouille and defeated Rohan Bopanna and Pablo Cuevas in a match tiebreak in the first round at the Shanghai Masters.

And then came …

Tuesday

Tuesday was a day Kyrgios did not really want to be out there. Like some players, he’s not always great with the back-to-back, breakneck speed of tennis events. And there were some extra challenges, which he outlined later.

And he had a tough first round against American Steve Johnson. Who knows, maybe being the No. 13 seed was a bad omen.

He clashed with chair umpire Fergus Murphy. He got a warning for firing a ball far out of the court. And then, up 4-3 in the first-set tiebreaker, he got a point penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.

After losing the tiebreaker 7-5, Kyrgios walked up to the net with hand outstretched, calling it a day against a rather surprised Johnson.

The crowd booed  him off the court.

Shanghai not his happy place

Two years ago, Kyrgios racked up three unsportsmanlikes and ended up with a big fine and a provisional suspension that would have kicked in without some “good behaviour” through the ensuing four months.

Tuesday was not a good day. Kyrgios, along with several other tennis players and their team members traveling on that high-speed train from Beijing to Shanghai, caught some sort of bug. So he was struggling from the get-go.

It doesn’t help that for Kyrgios, an asthmatic, the air quality in China is a rough go as it is.

Later, Kyrgios sent out a message on social media.

And, on the plus side…

He’s flawed. But he seems to be really trying. It’s hard to ask for much more.

It brings to mind the words of Samuel Beckett, famously brought to tennis by none other than Kyrgios’s non-best friend, Stan Wawrinka.

drama

Kyrgios and Pouille are due to play No. 1 seeds Henri Kontinen of Finland and Kyrgios’s countryman John Peers out on Court 7, late Wednesday afternoon in Shanghai.

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