Boys will be boys, and sometimes men will still act as boys. This sociological truth transcends even the most gentlemanly of sports, including tennis. But the altercation involving Nick Kyrgios and Stan Wawrinka was different than most on-court arguments, even by tennis standards. The personal nature of the infamous sledge wasn’t the first of its kind, and it won’t be the last.
In case you missed it, Aussie Nick Kyrgios made a comment during his match against Wawrinka that “Kokkinakis banged [Wawrinka’s] girlfriend.” He muttered it under his breath, but Wawrinka found out later and confronted him…
The events of last week are more stunning due to the simple fact that today’s players are by enlarge good sportsmen. That’s not to say there aren’t a couple of exceptions (we all know who they are), but most players have evolved from the tenacity-riddled culture of the sport from decades past.
Connors vs McEnroe
In January of 1982, Connors and McEnroe had an epic dust up during a Chicago exhibition match. There were no punches thrown, but there was some hilarious finger pointing going on. This is something right out of a football game. But a tennis match? Really?
In 2010, during a charity match… yes, CHARITY. Two of the greatest players of all-time had a battle of passive aggressive words. Agassi referenced Sampras’ poor tipping habits and Pete mocked Agassi’s iconic walk (among other things).
Dust ups are the ugly stepchild of competition. They happen in every sport, even the country club ones. But going THIS personal in an attack is just lewd and unwarranted. That’s where Nick Kyrgios stepped over the line.
There are certain things you just don’t say, regardless of their validity. Who knows if Kokkinakis actually did this to Wawrinka? And what’s more, who cares? He didn’t ask to have his name brought into the equation, something that Kyrgios should have considered, given their supposedly close friendship.
This isn’t about a ‘bro code,’ it’s about respect. Especially when the person getting roasted is a colleague, a countryman, and a buddy.
My mother always tells me, “we are the company we keep.” So my only advice to Thanasi Kokkinakis… find new friends.