London: Australian firebrand Nick Kyrgios made a surly exit from Wimbledon on Monday, losing in straight sets to Andy Murray in a performance he lambasted as “pathetic”.
The 21-year-old Australian, notorious for his controversial outbursts and unpredictable performances, slumped to a 7-5, 6-1, 6-4 loss to the 2013 champion in an underwhelming Centre Court display.
His performance brought immediate condemnation from previous champions.
“Kyrgios went through the motions in the second set,” three-time Wimbledon champion John McEnroe told the BBC.
In his live television commentary, McEnroe had accused the Australian of not trying.
“This isn’t doing the sport any good. What’s he giving? 80%?” said the American who described Kyrgios as having “God-given talent”.
“This is the Centre Court at Wimbledon. You’ve got to give it 110%.”
Kyrgios’s Australian compatriot Pat Cash, the 1987 winner at the All England Club, was equally scathing.
“Sometimes you think about Nick and think he needs some rewiring. I don’t think he is trying sometimes, there’s no doubt about it, but that’s the way he plays,” said Cash.
“People are watching that match and think what’s going on? They might come away from it feeling a bit short-changed.”
Kyrgios, the 15th seed, who was fined a total of $6,500 for outbursts during the tournament, did little to help his case in a moody press conference.
Kyrgios, with a black baseball cap perched awkwardly back-to-front on his head, veered from monosyllabic indifference to outright sarcasm.
– ‘Diabolical question’ -“It was a good first set. The rest of the match was pretty pathetic,” was his summary of a match in which he failed to carve out a single break point opportunity on the Murray serve as he slumped to a fifth defeat in five tour meetings with the Briton.
“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.”
That was about as good as it got.
When told that McEnroe suggested he needs to get a coach to help further his career, he responded: “I don’t know.”
“Do you think you’re applying all you have in your gut and heart to becoming the best pro you can?”
“Is that something you want to address and change?”
“I don’t know.”
Kyrgios was asked if he felt he was at a crossroads in a career which two years ago seemed destined for the heights after he knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbledon.
“What do you mean?” he asked.
“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?”
“Walk away from what?”
“From your tennis career.”
“I just lost in the fourth round. I didn’t lose in qualifying. Feel like I’m doing all right. That’s a diabolical question.”
Kyrgios, at least, admitted that sometimes he does not help his game or his increasingly negative image.
“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.”
The Australian was told he needs to count his blessings by former England cricketer James Taylor who was forced to quit the sport at the age of 26 due to a serious heart condition.
“If only he knew how lucky he was to play his sport! But I guess you’ve got to admire his honesty! #child#Wimbledon,” tweeted Taylor.
Despite the controversy, Murray insisted that Kyrgios can become a Grand Slam title winner.
“I think he’s got a bit of time on his side. But obviously there’s a few things he needs to improve and get better at. The sooner he does that, the better for him and his career,” said Murray.