Australian tennis great Todd Woodbridge has suggested that Nick Kyrgios and his team need to have a long hard think about their strategy.
And despite his comment coming in the wake of Kyrgios’s Roman meltdown, the all-time doubles legend was not talking about what happened on-court, but rather beforehand.
Woodbridge openingly questioning why Kyrgios would do a potentially destabilising interview mid-tournament.
“He did an interview the day before, they had a rainout, complete washout on the day,” Woodbridge said on Nine’s Sports Sunday.
“There’s a journo (Ben Rothenberg) that’s been baiting him for two years on Twitter; they’ve been going back and forth, Nick and the journalist.
“He got a lot of applause; ‘Oh, isn’t it wonderful that he’s so open and telling it how it is’. But the reality is that 50 per cent of the locker room like those blokes; at least, maybe more. So, he’s ostracised.
“He got baited to do this, he got caught. Anybody that was in his team that allowed him to do that should be having a look at themselves, because what they did and what he did was put himself under so much pressure to go out to his next match.
Woodbridge felt it was that pressure and the potential backlash after Kyrgios made controversial comments about all-time greats Rafael Nadal and world No. 1 Novak Djokovic that caused Kyrgios to become such a powderkeg of emotion against Christian Ruud.
NSFW: Nick Kyrgios absolutely loses it at the Italian Open 😳
— SI Tennis (@SI_Tennis) May 16, 2019
“His first match against (Daniil) Medvedev, he actually played quite well and threw off all the rhythm, and all sorts of stuff.
“But the next time he’s playing a qualifier (Ruud), who’s in good form because he’s won matches to get through to that round, and then the expectation changes and the there’s pressure on himself. So he’s loaded himself up to behave this way, and he doesn’t handle that well.”
Woodbridge then went on to make an oft-repeated request that the Canberran go out and get himself a full time coach, despite Kyrgios’ repeated comments that he is ambivalent towards tennis at best.
“I think he plays his best when he has a group around him where he has no out,” Woodbridge said.
“Interestingly enough, he’s played some of his very best tennis in Davis Cup, where he hasn’t played a lot; but when he did play, Lleyton Hewitt put a team around him where he made it hard for him to escape.
“That, for me, (says) he can do it but it’s hard to do by himself.
“He’s 24 years of age now, he’s coming into his prime. I’d love him to be able to have a bronze bust down at Melbourne Park to say he’s in the Australian Tennis Hall of Fame. There’s a lot more to go before that happens.”