Certainly, no one expected the first head-to-head match between Aussie bad boys Bernard Tomic and Nick Kyrgios of go off without a hitch and the expectation of shenanigans of one sort or another were met.
We quite expect to hear from a Kyrgios representative, perhaps even Nick himself, over our choice to list Tomic’s name first in our intro.
We can report that the supposed clash was won easily by Tomic, 6 – 3, 6 – 4.
The controversy came along when Tomic, serving at match point, dished up a soft underarm serve that caught Kyrgios with his pants down around his ankles.
It took about an hour for Tomic to dismantle Kyrgios and that hour held little of interest, other than to see how Tomic got inside Kyrgios’ head with off-pace shots that drew unforced errors from Kyrgios, who took it on himself to supply the pace for both of them.
Kyrgios stopped short of suggesting he was sandbagging in order to throw Australian Open opponents off. After the match, he told reporters, “I feel like I am in a good space mentally. Ranking that stuff is temporary, I know I can go out there and trouble Nadal, Federer, Djokovic, I’m not worried about going out there and losing 3 and 4 to BT.”
Of the Open, he said, “I’m going to go out there and do all the things I usually do, serve big play big and do things on my terms.”
Kyrgios has mostly exhausted the patience of those who see him squandering his ability. No one expects him to be Laver, Rosewall or Newcombe, but if he were to change his attitude, even 10 percent in the direction of those three, he would probably have well beyond the four titles currently on his resume, and perhaps a Grand Slam victory as well.
More Laver, less McEnroe might be one formula. Getting the better of Rafael Nadal in a short format exhibition is no way to be remembered.