Sunday, July 10, 2016

Why Kyrgios may remain an enfant terrible


I remind myself that most of us were idiots at 21, without a public stage or cameras following our every move.  So there is a part of me that has serious empathy for Nick Kyrgios.  But my empathy petered out during the recent Wimbledon match against Andy Murray.  All I could see was a stunted man-child at serious risk of never growing up, never maturing into anything other than an entitled twat, an enfant terrible. 

Over time, I have of course read sundry reports of Kyrgios yelling at his box, aggrieved over their lackluster support.  In this, ironically, he reminded me of early Murray, the one whom Mauresmo labeled as “complicated”.  But that Murray has straightened up now that Dad Lendl is back in the picture. And Dad seems clearly intolerant of whingeing.

I was confident that Kyrgios would lose to Murray.  So, during their match, I made a point of examining the behavior of the members of Kyrgios’ box.  What I witnessed was a group of apparent automatons, rising en masse, on cue, clapping whenever Kyrgios won a point.  The television cameras made a point of consistently cutting away to their reactions, which seemed lifeless, compulsive, orchestrated.  There seemed to be no heart in it.  There was plenty of energy, don’t get me wrong.  But heart seemed to be lacking.

And I found myself wondering what life must be like to be a member of the players’ box of this man-child, this enfant terrible.  What must it be like to have one of the best seats in tennis and yet likely not be able to truly and spontaneously enjoy a minute of it, your every moment fixated on the idiot on court as he demands that you react this way and respond that way, his moods shifting with the wind?
And then there is the brother, Christos, whom Kyrgios kicked out of his personal box during a straight sets loss to Richard Gasquet at the French Open. What was it like for Christos to have to skulk his way out of stadium, the spotlight fixated on him, his only crime being that he didn’t applaud energetically enough for his brother to hear? 

I remained stunned as I watched this ‘professional’ tennis player openly yelling at the members of his box, demanding their vocal support during his lackluster performance against Andy Murray.  And then, just like that, demanding that they stop applauding when he had decided that he had had enough.  It was just too much.

Psychologists label this problem as an external locus of control.  People like Kyrgios do not see their problems as arising within themselves.  Such individuals believe that the cause of their difficulties is always external to them.  They fail not because they are narcissistic idiots who believe that they do not need coaching but because the people expected to serve as mirrors to their brilliance end up seriously lacking.  

Such players believe that their failure is not the result of an intrinsic lack of discipline and motivation, but because external support is inadequate.  They lose not because their attention is barely focused on the match itself, but because of their team’s inadequate applause.  Is there any hope for this idiot?  Honestly, I think not.

1 comment:

happygeek said...

he made his brother leave!?! wouldn't go back if I were him.