Kyrgios has time on his side, but Aussie maverick's talent is going to waste
Nick Kyrgios has the phrase "time is running out" tattooed on his right forearm.
The Australian is only 21 so he has plenty of hours, minutes and seconds on his side - but unless he learns how to control his emotions on the tennis court and channel his anger his career will soon slip away and a vast talent will go unfulfilled.
He finished his straight-sets defeat against Andy Murray on Centre Court on Monday evening rushing between points, shouting "unbelievable" about what it was not clear, not bothering to sit down at the changeovers, swiping half-heartedly at balls, yelling "wow" sarcastically and generally looking like he'd rather be anywhere but Wimbledon.
Well, he needn't hang around SW19 any longer. Through the third set Kyrgios was speeding through his service games, taking about five seconds between points. He was taking the ball, bounce, bounce and banging down the serve. No thought process, no guile, no hope.
The Australian hasn't had a coach in over a year and he looks like he desperately needs one. He is crying out for some guidance, a calming influence, some nous.
"I'm disappointed with my loss," he said afterwards before adding alarmingly and sulkily: "I'm not going to dwell on it. I'll get over it in an hour or two. As soon as I lost the first set I lost belief.
"I'm a little soft still. I've probably got to take it a bit more seriously."
John McEnroe, commentating for the BBC and pretty disgusted by what he saw from Kyrgios, summed it up: "He doesn't understand what it takes to be someone who can win Grand Slams," he said. And this from a man who also knew how to throw his toys out of the pram. But the difference is that McEnroe used the tactic to self-motivate, not self-harm, which is where Kyrgios is at.
Tactically the Australian needs guidance too. 46 times Kyrgios charged to the net against Murray and won only 24 of the points. The Scot, in contrast, claimed 18 of 22 points when he attacked the net.
Kyrgios had his head in hands during changeovers in set three, if he could be bothered to take his seat, but whether he was searching for a new gameplan is debatable.
The attitude may be appalling, the drive dubious, but the ability is unquestionable which makes the whole Kyrgios circus so infuriating.