Boris Becker and Nick Kyrgios have a beef. This makes sense as both are headstrong and strongly opinionated. Both also know the sport of tennis well, too. The issue, however, is that they come from different generations and clearly have a different idea of how slightly older tennis might transpose to the new generation.
Of course, part of this is that Nick Kyrgios likes to talk a lot about anything. He was fantastic during the Tennis Channel’s ATP Finals broadcast, but this is partly due to being reigned in a bit by the setting and that he was commentating on matches. When left to his own devices, Kyrgios can sometimes go off on tangents that are not always based on logic.
A case in point is a recent interview Kyrgios had with The Athletic (subscription required) where Nick Kyrgios said he did not think big servers in the 1980s, such as Boris Becker, would do all that well now. As Kyrgios put it while specifically mentioning Becker, “The game was so slow back then. I've watched Boris Becker and I'm not saying they weren't good in their time, but to say that they would be just as good now, it's absurd.”
Nick Kyrgios appears to greatly disrespect Boris Becker
Becker was not about to let this slide, however, and tweeted out a response that cooly remarked, “Why does he speak about a sport he apparently hates…fact-check Nick has never won a major championship as a player or coach (yes doubles 1) so where is any credibility coming from?”
This set off a whole storm of tweets from Kyrgios in response, including saying he has beaten Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Andy Murray. The problem with this is those facts are irrelevant. Boris Becker could say he defeated Andre Agassi, John McEnroe, and others. Kyrgios is missing the entire point.
One is that you cannot really compare eras. The technology of tennis has changed so much that serves are faster now, and the balls allow for more speed. Most likely, had Becker had the same kind of racket as Kyrgios, Becker hit the ball just as hard. Plus, Becker succeeded at one aspect that Kyrgios simply doesn’t seem to have any ability. That is the mental side of the game.
Kyrgios has all the raw physical skills to be a fantastic player who is consistently ranked in the top 5. Boris Becker reached No. 1 on the ATP and won six Grand Slams. That takes physical ability, of course, but a lot of drive and ability to handle the high-end stress of important matches. Kyrgios has more meltdowns than major titles, and until he decides to stay healthy enough to win a Grand Slam or six, he might just want to learn a little humility and respect.