Nick Kyrgios forgets himself in John McEnroe comparison

(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images for Laver Cup)
(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images for Laver Cup) /

Many times a fan might have had a difficult time watching John McEnroe during his playing days. He was a skilled player, of course, but he was brash and prone to emotional outbursts on the court. Part of the issue was that many of the outbursts seemed intentional to disrupt other players. That isn’t exactly great sportsmanship.

Nick Kyrgios has been compared to John McEnroe in some ways. He has a completely different game than McEnroe – Kyrgios has a ton of power while McEnroe was mostly finesse – but Kyrgios can also have outrageous and seemingly uncontrolled bouts of emotional energy on the court. In fact, as opposed to McEnroe, Kyrgios appears to let his emotions, especially when he is yelling at his own player’s box, get the best of him.

One huge difference, though, is that John McEnroe seemed to have a greater need to win a tournament whereas Kyrgios appears indifferent to winning even though he gets so worked up during matches. Clearly, Kyrgios cares about playing well during a match. He just might not want us to think he does.

John McEnroe and Nick Kyrgios have something in common

McEnroe was defaulted from matches many times for breaking his rackets or arguing with officials or some other reason. The reason the Code of Conduct exists now is in large part due to McEnroe’s behavior. We see less of the players’ personalities now but we also see far fewer moments of complete stress watching a player meltdown. But in a recent interview with Piers Morgan, Nick Kyrgios seemed to forget he also has melted down before.

Kyrgios said, “I don’t think I’ve ever been defaulted from a match. (McEnroe) broke all his rackets and had no rackets to play with (during a match) and had to get defaulted. So I don’t think I’ve ever done that. I’ve walked off the court.”

But Kyrgios has been defaulted before. In 2019 at the ATP Masters 1000 in Rome, Kyrgios threw a chair onto the court and was defaulted for doing so. Kyrgios played one match in 2023 and that was in June at the Stuttgart Open where he lost in the Round of 32. But he does plan on a return to tennis soon, and hopefully, he will be healthy, so we might get to see some more meltdowns by the Australian.

The odd bit about John McEnroe and Nick Kyrgios, however, is that while they are both highly strung on the court, they both make excellent commentators during tournaments. McEnroe is legendary talking tennis during Grand Slam events. Nick Kyrgios was great on the Tennis Channel during the ATP Finals.

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