Nick Kyrgios does not hold back in his opinions. This is likely why he will probably be a better long-term tennis commentator than has been a tennis player. Kyrgios was excellent during the Tennis Channels broadcast of the ATP Finals and the Australian will be commentating on the Australian Open for Eurosport and ESPN during the first Grand Slam of the year. But Kyrgios is already making news in contesting Pat Cash's recent comments about Australian tennis fans.
Cash, a finalist at the Aussie Open in 1984 as well as a two-time finalist at Wimbledon (1984 and 1985), told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that, in essence, Australian tennis fans watching matches need to calm down. He said, "We should have more respect for the international players that come over here...there’s a chance that these players will say, ‘I’m not going to come to Australia anymore. I go there and I get abused, what’s the point of that?"
First off, players will keep coming to Australia to play tournaments because there is a lot of money in playing there. Professional tennis play the sport to get paid. One might put up with a little "abuse" if there is a million-dollar check potentially for them at the end of the event.
Nick Kyrgios has a beef with Pat Cash's views on tennis fans
Secondly, tennis fans should likely be a bit more energized than sitting on their hands and clapping quietly between points. Screaming to disrupt players during a point is one thing, but simply being vocal is another. Kyrgios sees Cash's view of how fans act as archaic.
Kyrgios reacted to Cash's comments in telling the Daily Mail Australia, "Absolutely stupid comment by another old head that has no idea how marketing or how things work in today’s day and age...With everything I do on and off the court, entertainment value, putting eyes on this. It just makes everyone else more money in the sport. And if Pat Cash can’t see that (then Cash is) stubborn, old, stuck in his ways."
Kyrgios has an extremely valid point. Novak Djokovic recently commented on a study showing that the average age of tennis fans is likely closer to retirement age. Tennis needs to grow the viewership among younger fans. Otherwise, the sport will continue to decrease in importance and in viewership. Fewer viewers also means less sponsorship money from tournaments which means less money for players which eventually means fewer players. It is a scary thought, but a possibility.
Plus, all Kyrgios is truly saying is that fans should feel free to fan. He is not saying the sport should change the way its played, only the way its watched. Change is quite often needed and Kyrgios is very likely correct in how to grow the tennis fanbase.