Kyrgios as Kyrgios can be
Its been just under two days since Nick Kyrgios sat in the press room at Wimbledon and answered truthfully the questions that were fired at him. There has been some support for the Aussie kid but in the main he appears to be getting a ridiculous amount of grief. I’ve decided to analyse the questions and answers and add a bit of perspective to the interview.
First of all, Nick Kyrgios turned 21 on the 27th April of this year. If he was a normal kid and had gone to university he would still be in further education. In the grand scheme of things he is still a kid. Now granted he has spent the last 3 years growing up in the public eye but to assume he has to play the role of ultimate professional is a bit naive to say the least. You can receive all the media training in the world but I don’t think any amount of training can prepare you for what lies ahead in the world of media. People are craving for personalities and to see something different. Then when it comes around we want to knock it and bring it down. We need to embrace people who are different from the norm otherwise…… we just get the same old same old.
So here is the interview in full with some thoughts from me after the question and answer.
Q: How did you assess that performance?
Pretty open question
NK: It was a good first set. The rest of the match was pretty pathetic.
Pretty straight the point answer
Q: Did you feel as though you lost focus early in the second set, had trouble getting it back?
Quite a leading question. How about ‘could you go into detail about what you thought happened at the start of the second set?’ This provides him the opportunity to say his piece.
NK: Yeah, I mean, I was really comfortable out there the first set. I thought I was playing some really good tennis. I believed that I could win the match. As soon as I lost the first set, I just lost belief. Obviously felt like a mountain to climb after losing the first. He played pretty well, as well. I don’t think he missed too many balls either.
Imagine losing a bit of belief after losing to the no.2 in the world. He is one of the best competitors on the tour playing in front of his home crowd on his favourite court. This is a perfectly human reaction and very honest of him to admit. By saying this out loud he will undoubtably reflect on it.
Q: Andy is obviously a quality opponent. What lessons do you take from playing against him in a few Grand Slams now?
Solid question as again very open and started with a positive about quality of the opponent.
NK: Just a little soft still. I think when things get tough, I’m just a little bit soft. I mean, I’ve got experience, but it ultimately comes down to just laying it all out there and competing for a long time. I didn’t do that today at all.
Again, very honest answer which will lead to relfection. Reflection normally leads to action. It is interesting that some feel that reaction should be to step away from the game. Ultimately it will lead to him taking action to make himself tougher.
Q: On the BBC, you were saying you might need to take things more seriously. After a match like that, do you feel like you haven’t been?
Badly worded question, too easy to pie
NK: I don’t know. I just said it just to get out of there.
Q: How much do you feel the first week took a toll on you both mentally and physically? Was that a factor today?
NK: I didn’t think it was. But yeah, I mean, I actually did feel a little tired out there. But, I mean, a lot of players are in the same position that I was.
Q: When you said you lost belief when you lost the first set, was it a switch flicking, you thought it was gone?
Awful question, how is it possible a professional journalist can ask such a poor question. What kind of answer did he think he was going to get?
NK: Kind of, I guess, yeah.
Q: Do you think Andy will win the tournament?
Wasted question, what difference does it make what he thinks about this
NK: I hope so. I hope so, definitely. I think he’s definitely got a great chance.
Shows he likes Andy as a person but such a waste of a question.
Q: John McEnroe was saying he thought you had the ability to win multiple Grand Slams, but he feels you’re at a crossroads until you get a coach. What is your reaction to that?
Emotive question as he has mentioned an ex player who also coaches another player. Wouldn’t expect an in depth answer to that question….
NK: I don’t know.
Oh there you go!!
Q: You’re obviously a fantastic talent, greatly entertaining. Do you think you’re applying all you have in your gut and heart to becoming the best pro you can?
Closed question, I wonder what answer…
Oh there you go again, another wasted question
Q: Is that something you want to address and change?
Another closed question, reeeeeellllllyyyyyy!!
NK: I don’t know.
Q: Do you enjoy the sport? Is it something that you really love and enjoy, or do you find it more frustrating than enjoyable?
Three questions in one, at least it was worded relatively positively and would provide an opportunity to speak about how he feels about the sport.
NK: Yeah, I mean, at times, like, I’ve previously said, I don’t love the sport. But, you know, I don’t really know what else to do without it. I obviously like playing the game. It’s a massive part of my life. But, yeah, I don’t know whether ? I don’t really know.
This is the most insightful answer yet. First of all it is interesting he has chosen to speak about not loving the sport ‘at times’. Opportunity to say he does love the sport but at times it is impossible to love it all the time. It is not normal to love what you do 100% of the time and anyone who says they do is lying. There are ups and downs to every walk of life. To say you don’t know what else to do without it can be taken a couple of ways. Typically people have chosen to think he is only doing it because he has no other options. Personally I would prefer to take it that tennis is such a big part of who he is that he can’t imagine doing anything else especially as he goes on to say it is such a massive part of his life.
Q: What was the thinking of your preparation, spending a lot of time on Court 18 to watch Lleyton? Do you think you should have been doing something else?
Another provocative question although a valid one. It was surprising to see him watching a match although the bits I saw he was more engaged with Lleyton’s son which may be a good way of switching off. However energy levels seem so important at the top level.
NK: Whether I was in the locker room sitting down or sitting down next to the court I don’t think really made a difference.
Dismissive response but something he will reflect on as none of the top players do it so there must be something in that.
Q: Do you feel like you’re at a crossroads here after this today, it’s going to go one way or the other with your career?
NK: What do you mean?
Told you so
Q: You’re either going to learn from this and become a better player, you said you don’t love the game, or you might just walk away? Is it that sort of level?
He didn’t say he doesn’t love the game. He said ‘at times’ he doesn’t love the game. Awful question that deserves to be pied.
NK: Walk away from what?
Q: From your tennis career.
NK: I just lost in the fourth round. I didn’t lose in qualifying. Feel like I’m doing all right (laughter). That’s a diabolical question.
Pied, he is right to point out that he’s just lost in the 4th round and good to also point out it was a terrible question. That question would not have even made main draw of the my local club championships.
Q: There were times in Andy’s early career where he was cramping up, had difficulty with games, wasn’t enjoying it all the time. Is it worth the time speaking with him to make it more fun? It’s a tough journey. Seems like you’re not enjoying it.
Is this a question or advice….
NK: Yeah, I could talk to him about it. Probably not the next couple days, though.
Q: He was in here the other day saying to us to basically give you a break, that he believes you are going to make it. What kind of effect does that have on you? Does it help in the difficult moments? Sounds like he’s pretty much in your corner.
NK: I mean, I don’t really understand the question. What are you asking me?
Q: To hear someone like Andy saying he’s in your corner, you’ll be able to make it. Does that help you?
NK: It helps for sure. He’s one of the greatest players to play the game. I mean, I know that I have the talent to do good things. It’s just, yeah.
This is insightful as you can hear Nick tailing off before he saying something else. He knows he has the talent and you know he’s thinking but……. why would I give these guys what they want….
Q: You said no when you were asked if you were putting everything you had into this. What are the things that might change that? What can pique your interest or give you a bigger drive?
This could have been a good question but again the journalist starts with a negative which would just get your back up. How about something as simple ‘what types of things do you believe may give you more motivation to realise your undoubted talent?’
NK: I don’t know. To be honest, I woke up this morning and played computer games. Is that the greatest preparation? I don’t know. But it was fun.
Instead he gets this reaction. This is the like throwing chump in for the sharks. They love this stuff.
Q: You said you see life through the lens of the NBA. The Golden State Warriors picked up Kevin Durant.
I don’t know what this question was all about
NK: Disgrace. It’s a joke. I’m not watching the NBA.
Neither does Nick
Q: Andy spent longer with you at the end of the match than normal. What did he say?
NK: He said, Sorry. I said, It’s okay. Just win the tournament, please. Then we hugged.
Nice to hear
Q: You see these guys like [Milos] Raonic going to McEnroe, [Marin] Cilic going to Goran Ivanisevic. What is it that says to you, I don’t want a coach?
Again, an emotive question as he’s mentioned peers and ex players. Just ask him ‘what do you imagine a coach could bring to your game?’
NK: I don’t know. Just, like, one week I’m pretty motivated to train and play. I’m really looking forward to getting out there. One week I’ll just not do anything. I don’t really know a coach out there that would be pretty down for that one.
Instead the journalists get more of what they want.
Q: This is not a bad loss, but you seem pretty down. Wondering where the disappointment comes from?
Are you joking me, he’s down from losing and now has to answer these dumb assed questions, that would get a saint down.
NK: It’s not a bad loss. You know, my record here is 10-3, I think. Every time I come here, I lose to good players. But it’s just disappointing. I don’t know. I just want to do better.
Good answer, let’s see what the next question is as it could lead somewhere constructive….
Q: Do you think part of you is perhaps frightened to make the commitment, to throw yourself wholeheartedly in?
Oh my god, throw this guy out of the room. Does this guy really get paid to be a journalist!
NK: Possibly. I’ve thought about it before.
Q: A number of great players, including John McEnroe, [Jo-Wilfried] Tsonga, briefly even Roger [Federer], didn’t have coaches. Is there something you like about the freedom of not having an adviser, just trying to figure it out yourself?
Fresh question but again closed.
NK: Yeah, I like that.
Q: What do you like about it?
Badly worded question. Even ‘I’m interested to know what the most fun aspect of the freedom is?’
NK: Just doing whatever you want, I guess. I like it.
Instead he gets this!!
So what have I concluded from this interview?
Firstly, that Nick is happy to be honest with the press and the world. He is far more self aware than a lot of people would give him credit for.
Secondly and most importantly, if journalists genuinely want to take advantage of this entertaining and interesting young man then they have to go back to school and study on how to ask open and authentic questions which will allow him to simply express himself without feeling attacked.
This kid is box office and I have zero doubt he will go on to be one of the dominating forces in mens tennis. However it is his journey and he can walk it however he wants. When the time is right for him he will seek advice and only then will the potential truly begin to be realised. It often more rewarding to come through bad times and hardship to reach your success. It is also a more interesting story. Think of how much everyone loved Agassi’s story of how he hated tennis, took drugs at his lowest ebb, came back, got fit, got his head together, fell in love and became world no.1 after being so far down the rankings. Now compare the story of Pete Sampras who just………played…… and won most of the time. I know who I’d rather get into the head of.
If someone was always looking for the worst in you think about what it would bring out, yep you guessed it, the worst.
Let’s look for the good in people and then we will see their true self.
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