Bacon’s Bites: Kyrgios has potential to be gold dust to the game of tennis. VAR! Who’s NOT talking about it?
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Mike Bacon, in his weekly column, takes a look at the antics of Nick Kyrgios and how is VAR doing for you?
Having been brought up in the John McEnroe, Ilie Nastase, Jimmy Connors era of tennis, there is something about Nick Kyrgios I so enjoy.
I think it’s the fact the 6ft. 4in. 23-year-old reminds me much of those ‘bad boys’ of the 1970s and 80s.
Halcyon days of tennis mind you, when arguments... ‘You cannot be serious’, tantrums and general naughty boy behaviour was almost the norm, especially during the Slams.
OK, so it wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
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But as a young lad, it was mine. And it got tennis on the back pages far more than the sport gets on them these days.
I love sportsmen and women who entertain.
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I love them even more if they win as well.
Certainly McEnroe, Nastase and Connors, with 17 Slam singles titles between them managed both.
I would love Kyrgios to manage to nail some Slams.
People often have a problem with a sports star who goes slightly against the grain, especially in individual sports like golf and tennis.
While we thrill at the genius play of tennis stars today, the likes of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, I’m sorry but I’d just as happily pay my money to watch Kyrgios.
Although he is far from perfect!
At the 2016 Shanghai Masters a fan called out to him, “Kyrgios, respect the game!” after he had played a shot through his legs.
Kyrgios replied: “You wanna come here and play? Sit down and shut up and watch!”
Not many players in today’s tennis would dare shout out that! (McEnroe would have!)
I’m not suggesting it’s clever. But what I am saying is that all sports are fighting for the same thing – more media exposure, more sponsors and more fans through the gates.
Kyrgios, of course, could do the opposite of that and turn potential sponsors and fans away. But I don’t think he will.
Playing at Queen’s this week, his match with Andy Murray on Tuesday was as strange as it was entertaining.
While almost everyone was hoping Andy would win on his return from a long lay-off, Kyrgios was playing all manner of shots, some through his legs again, with his languid style sometimes making him look as though he didn’t care less, or even taking the mickey.
The pundits don’t know what to make of him, citing his brilliance, but then saying he will never win a Slam while he continues to play ‘trick shots’.
But don’t underestimate him.
The respect he showed Andy Murray before and after a match that Kyrgios won, was far more mature than many give him credit for.
He’s no fool.
As a teenager, he wanted to be a basketball player and I think he would have suited team sports.
But he’s all tennis’ now.
I just hope he can keep up the fun, keep up the mischief (channelled mind you). His talent is not in question.
If tennis is hoping to attract younger fans then Kyrgios, despite a few of his ‘blips’ that are sure to come his way, has a big part to play.
There are few real characters in tennis today – just shed loads of talent.
And while the talent is sensational, young people are always looking for that X-Factor, not necessarily a multi-winner.
The likes of McEnroe and Connors were gold dust to the game of tennis back in the day.
Yes, a pain to many in the prawn sandwich brigade.
But, hey? How many of them pay for their tickets anyhow?
Are you enjoying VAR?
No, me neither.
OK, so it may get the odd offside right, but if we are going to give penalties via VAR for handball (ball to hand, or hand to ball?), then surely we should be giving them for violent/physical assault in the penalty area at corners.
The waters are muddied.
Yes, VAR will do good on occasions, but it is never in a million years fool-proof. Or proves incidents 100% one way or the other.
The sad thing of course is that players now also do that ridiculous TV shape sign to the ref (at least most have gone off waving the yellow card).
It’s just pathetic and is spoiling what is proving to be an entertaining and well run World Cup.
The only other issue I have at the moment is the amount of niggly, nasty little fouls that keep taking place.
Dirty players, sneaky little stamps on feet and toes and down ankles.
A few more yellow cards would knock that into touch. Or the odd red!