Sport Tennis Australian Open Australian Open 2018: What Nick Kyrgios’ run taught us about the sporting public

Australian Open 2018: What Nick Kyrgios’ run taught us about the sporting public

nick kyrgios
Nick Kyrgios was applauded for his sportsmanship and effort during this year's tournament. Photo: Getty
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You may already know this, but a certain male tennis player from Canberra did quite well at the Australian Open this year.

Most of what you read about him would have been short, bewildering exercises in clickbait and search engine optimisation (Google it, or look at the URL for this story).

But this article is not about him, it’s about you – and by ‘you’ I mean the tenuous collective bargaining agreement that holds together the ‘Australian sporting public’.

You’re the sort of person constantly reinventing narratives in your mind to suit your lust for success.

You’ll develop a sudden interest in freestyle snowboarding or walking or judo if you get a whiff of a gold medal at the end.

You’re fickle and you’ll excuse just about anything so long as he, or she, or they, are winning.

You put up with a cricket team that’s boorish, football teams that are littered with drug fiends.

But you’ll overlook it all if it suits you.

What is missing within you that means you’ll ignore virtually anything to be on the side of a winner?

Are your lives so empty? Is the balm of sporting success so seductive?

Remember what kind of a brat Lleyton Hewitt was until he started winning Grand Slams?

Then he became ‘our Lleyton’.

And it’s not just in the way you forgive the sins of the victor – Australia’s sporting amnesia manifests just as clearly in the way we round on our losers too.

Bernard Tomic was a national darling back in 2011 when he made the quarter-finals of Wimbledon.

Since then his career has been a slow, steady disappointment.

Lately, in perhaps his biggest sin, he’s been telling the truth – the honest, warts-and-all truth – about how he feels as a professional tennis player.

(Honestly, there were far more shocking revelations made in Andre Agassi’s book Open.)

As a result, he’s received worse press than Ivan Milat.

And he will continue to, until the next time he goes deep in a Slam.

sam stosur
Sam Stosur arrives home to Australia after beating Serena Williams in the 2011 US Open final. Photo: Getty

Sam Stosur defeated the best player of her generation, perhaps of all time, in a Grand Slam final in New York, and she made the final at Roland Garros.

Yet in Australia, at this time of year, she’s a national punchline.

Meanwhile, this certain male tennis player from Canberra has been roundly praised for his new ‘mature’ approach so far in 2018.

He won in Brisbane, marched through the Australian Open (well, to the last 16 at least) and looked like he had finally taken the next step.

He didn’t abuse people too much – and even then it was only the people in his box, so we’ll forgive him.

He was bantering with Jim Courier and Will Smith post match, telling us about how Focus is his favourite movie. (In a career of wild soundbites, that may be the most disturbing thing he’s ever said.)

And in our lounge rooms we (yes, I was swept up in it too) basked in the beatific LCD glow of his victory, wondering just when he’ll implode again and we can resume normal transmission.

But until then, how about ‘our Nick’, eh?

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