World reacts to Nick Kyrgios' ATP Tour suspension

By Tyson Otto

Nick Kyrgios received a ban of up to eight weeks by the ATP. Photo / AP
Nick Kyrgios received a ban of up to eight weeks by the ATP. Photo / AP

Nick Kyrgios' sensational ATP Tour ban has sparked fierce debate around the world over its suitability to his offence of tanking at the Shanghai Masters.

Tennis commentators have also questioned the legitimacy of the Australian star's apology after it directly contradicted his declaration in China of disdain for his fans.

Kyrgios was on Monday night (NZT) whacked with an eight-week suspension that can be reduced down to three if he meets strict conditions after an ATP Tour investigation found him guilty of conduct contrary to the integrity of the game for failing to provide his best effort in his loss to German Mischa Zverev.

Here's how the world responded to tennis' first suspension for behavioural issues since John McEnroe in 1987.

KYRGIOS ACCEPTS SPORTS PSYCHOLOGIST

Tennis Australia has allayed fears Nick Kyrgios will miss the summer of tennis leading up to the Australian Open because of his ATP suspension.

Tennis Australia has issued a statement declaring Kyrgios has agreed to consult with a sports psychologist in order to reduce his suspension down to three weeks.

Tennis' governing body in Australia said it will continue to provide support for Kyrgios on and off the tennis court.

As a non-ranking points tournament, Kyrgios will make his return to tennis at the Hopman Cup, beginning January 1.

Kyrgios also chose to play the Kooyong Classic - another non-rankings points event - as his other preparation tournament for the Australian Open earlier this year, but is yet to declare his plans for 2017.

"Tennis Australia will support the ATP sanction on Nick Kyrgios following recent events in Shanghai," the Tennis Australia statement said.

"Nick's health and wellbeing is a priority and the ATP has offered a reduced penalty on the provision that he seeks appropriate professional advice, which he has agreed to do.

"Nick understands the gravity of his actions, has shown remorse and expressed a willingness to improve.

"We believe it's our responsibility to help Nick, along with all our young athletes, improve both professionally on court as a player, and personally. We have always offered assistance and advice to Nick and his team and will continue to do so."

ATP TOUR EXPLAINS SUSPENSION

ATP president Chris Kermode has defended the length of the ban handed to Kyrgios, declaring the sport wants to see Kyrgios return stronger than before.

"Nick's conduct in Shanghai was unacceptable, disrespectful to the sport and its fans," he said.

"We take these matters very seriously and he has since apologised for his actions.

"Nick is a phenomenal talent and our hope is that he uses his time away from the Tour constructively and - with some support - is able to return to competition with an improved mindset and stronger than ever before."

FORMER TENNIS CHIEF'S VERDICT

Former ATP president Cliff Drysdale has declared tennis is still a greater product when Kyrgios is playing, but believes the game has to keep its most talked-about star on a short leash.

"I support the reduction," Drysdale, told ESPN.com.

"But it has to be made clear, and there has to be a real commitment by the ATP that if this happens again, there will be a ban of a year or longer.

"This kid keeps you watching. A large part is his spectacular talent. The other part is he's like watching a NASCAR race, waiting for a wreck to happen. I wouldn't underestimate the value of that. But you have to contain him and keep him to a certain professional level.
"He just doesn't seem to understand. He's kind of out there. Maybe now he'll get it."

FOOTY LEGEND SLAMS TENNIS OFFICIALS

AFL great David Schwarz has hit out at Tennis Australia for failing to accept or confront Kyrgios' behavioural problems.

The Melbourne Demons forward says tennis could have helped Kyrgios develop into a mature, respectful young man if they'd been prepared to take action five years ago.

"Oh we understand the kid, he's gone through the Tennis Australia program for the last ten years, they know what he's like," Schwarz told SEN's Breakfast with Francis Leach and David Schwarz.

"They've allowed this to happen because they refused to deal with the problem at the time - if they had of got a psychologist involved seven years ago and said see you later if you don't get your attitude right we'll cut your funding.

"I'm actually a fair man, this bloke's taken the piss for too long and he's had so many chances.

"A bit of parenting and a bit of understanding by the association, this problem may have been averted five years ago."

MATTY JOHNS DELIVERS KYRGIOS VERDICT

NRL great Matthew Johns says Nick Kyrgios can't be compared to superbrat John McEnroe anymore because of his tanking episode in Shanghai.

Johns said McEnroe and fellow American wild character Jimmy Connors always gave everything they had in a contest despite their habit of exploding on the tennis court.
"I look at Kyrgios and Tomic," Johns told Triple M's The Grill Team.

"Tantrums and tanking is a bad combination.

"Did you ever see McEnroe not give it everything he had?"

When asked if Kyrgios needs to win a grand slam to redeem himself, Johns said: "I don't think he has to".

"Every time he goes on court Australians have got to be able to look at him and say, 'You know what? He just gives it everything he's got'. Certain people didn't like Lleyton Hewitt because of the "C'mon" and all of that, but everyone respected him because he was a four cylinder coming up against eight-cylinders and beating them."

WORLD MEDIA SLAMS AUSSIE

Tennis commentators have applauded the ATP Tour's decision to finally take action against Kyrgios, but some believe the ban did not go far enough to curb the troubled talent.

FOXsports.com's Chris Chase wrote that the punishment appears on the surface to be uncharacteristically appropriate for Kyrgios' unique problems, particularly the demand on the rising star to consult a sports psychologist.

"It's an interesting clause in the suspension - an enticement to receive some tough love," he wrote.

"This makes far more sense than just subjecting Kyrgios to a fine. Getting him help is far better than taking the tiniest dent from his checkbook. It's especially fascinating for tennis, a sport that disciplines its players like a grandma does her grandkids.

"Whether he accepts the compassion of the ATP or not, Kyrgios still will return in 2017 - it's just a matter of whether it's in the opening weeks or just before the Australian Open.

"Three months is hardly enough time for an attitude overhaul but Kyrgios might only need some fine-tuning. His passion and talent have gotten him this far. If he can tone down the drama, the top 10 awaits."

The Guardian's Jacob Steinberg wrote that Kyrgios' Shanghai meltdown was actually a cry for help from a 21-year-old struggling in a demanding adult environment.

"One can have sympathy for a 21-year-old who is struggling to cope with fame and responsibility without failing to recognise that he is letting himself down, assuming that tennis is what he is supposed to excel at for the next 10 or 15 years," he wrote.

"While Kyrgios is unsure, he has said that he does not know how to exist without tennis. It is both a blessing and a curse that he is a flawed genius with a racket in his right hand.

"It is easy to understand why the ATP, almost acting out of a duty of care, has banned and fined Kyrgios.

"The lack of effort Kyrgios put into his serve and groundstrokes could be seen as a cry for help and given that he has been accused of tanking in the past, the ATP had no choice but to act. The decision was not remotely controversial."

Sportinglife.com's Andy Schooler wrote Kyrgios' complete contempt for his own fans shows he lost the plot in Shanghai and is unlikely to improve just because of a slightly heavier slap on the wrist.

"For his pathetic, petulant 'performance' in China, during which he patted over serves and, at times, made no attempt to return, the 21-year-old now finds himself banned, his season over," Schooler wrote.

"Kyrgios embarrassed the sport, as well as himself. The ban should be applauded.

"Crucially though, the ATP appears to struck the right tone - offering to reduce the suspension from eight to three weeks if the player himself agreed to a "plan of care" to be led by a sports psychologist.

"It cannot be argued there is no carrot to go with the stick.

"Whether the approach works is, of course, open to debate. Kyrgios hasn't exactly shown too many signs of improving his on-court behaviour over the past 18 months or so.

"And while his response to the ban was contrite, I felt it said much that he couldn't bring himself to say he'd be taking up the offer of the ATP. That was left to Tennis Australia.

"We shall see if this proves to be a turning point in what could yet be a stellar career, but I doubt anyone will be surprised if this isn't the last punishment that has to be handed down in his direction."

USA Today's Charlotte Wilder wrote Kyrgios' case is not irreparable just yet. He can still become the greatest player of his generation.

"Kyrgios is tennis' bad boy, at times reminiscent of Bryce Harper, Kanye West, or one of the kids in high school who snuck out to smoke cigarettes underneath the bleachers instead of going to health class," she wrote.

"He's refused to get a coach. He constantly blows his lid. And he knows he could try harder, but in his short and sky-rocketing career (he's currently ranked No. 14), he keeps just, well, not.

"Let me just say this: hopefully his ban knocks some sense into him, and hopefully he seeks help when it comes to getting his act together. Because this guy could be the greatest player of his generation. It would be a shame to watch him throw it all away."

- news.com.au

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