Nick Kyrgios won’t change his on-court behaviour until his “backside’s well and truly in the sling”, a leading sport psychologist says.
Jeff Bond also believes Tennis Australia needs to be less forgiving of the 22-year-old bad boy of tennis.
Kyrgios was fined a total of $US16,500 ($21,810) for breaches of the ATP code of conduct after he tanked his second round clash against Mischa Zverev and abused fans at the Shanghai Masters on Wednesday.
Mr Bond, a former Australian Institute of Sport psychologist of 22 years who worked with Pat Cash, says to fine someone for whom money is no object is pointless.
“So does he care about the fine? No he doesn’t. If it was a suspension he might, but not a monetary fine.”
A serious suspension might have jolted Kyrgios into action, Bond believes.
“People who are high on self confidence, you know the ‘me, me, me’ thing are unlikely to seek support from any kind of professional unless they’ve got they’re backside in a sling, unless they’ve got their back against the wall,” Mr Bond told AAP on Friday
It’s unlikely, however, Kygrios will face tougher action any time soon because the public and the tennis bureaucracy was too forgiving.
“We tend to forgive athletes who do that because they’re good, you know they’re a prodigious talent,” Mr Bond said.
“And of course all of the old tennis greats will come out and say ‘oh well he’s just a boy and he’s got a lot to learn yet’, and yeah he has but it’s no excuse.”
At the end of the day, sports psychologists agree that while Kygrios’ behaviour this week was inexcusable, it showed he needed more support on the gruelling tennis circuit.
University of Canberra Sports psychologist Assistant Professor Richard Keegan said it’s risky to speculate on Kygrios’ mental well-being from watching him on the TV.
But it’s still important to ask “are you ok mate?”.
Interestingly, Mr Bond suggests it’s considered taboo in tennis circles to show any sign of weakness or seek help.
“There are very few sports psychologists who make a living in tennis,” he noted.
Sportsbet’s wry take on the Kyrgios tank this week
Highlights from last night’s Kyrgios match… pic.twitter.com/H6VdhrVO1x
— Sportsbet.com.au (@sportsbetcomau) October 12, 2016