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   Apr 21

Wimbledon 2015: Nick Kyrgios’ agent tells Australia ‘he’s a good kid, cut him some slack’

Brash: Nick Kyrgios celebrates victory against Milos Raonic at Wimbledon. Photo: Clive BrunskillClick here for full coverage of Wimbledon 2015The lowdown: Wimbledon 2015
Nanjing Night Net

As the Nick Kyrgios production show continues to roll around Wimbledon causing mayhem in its path, his agent and stand-in coach, John Morris, has called for the Australian public to cut the 20-year-old some slack.

The Englishman, who scouted Kyrgios as a 15-year-old, has urged his superstar client to stay true to himself despite admitting there were lessons to be learnt along the way.

The world No.26, who takes on Frenchman Richard Gasquet in the fourth round on Monday, has been in the headlines all week at the All England Club, dividing opinion over his unorthodox approach to the game.

Some call it swagger – part of his NBA-like bravado – others say it’s disrespectful.

But his agent, who has taken over the short-term coaching duties after Kyrgios departed from childhood coach Todd Larkham on the eve of Wimbledon, says it’s too early to judge.

“It’s tough for him growing up in the spotlight with so much expectation,” Morris told Fairfax Media.

“Especially from a sporting country like Australia who love and adore their sportsmen and want them to do well and actually put them on pedestals more so than any other country.

“There’s a high expectation for him to meet on court with his performances and also with his behaviour. And he will slip up, he’s young. But he’s not the finished article yet. I think it’s best to judge him at the end of it and what he’s been like on court and with his behaviour. He’s 20 years of age, I think we just need to cut him some slack.”

The 20-year-old, who in January last year had less than 4000 Twitter followers, is now the most marketable athlete in the country ahead of Socceroos star Tim Cahill and Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo, says sports market researchers Repucom.

That’s quite an adjustment change for someone who 18 months ago wasn’t known outside of Melbourne Park.

His disagreements with two separate umpires in the opening rounds of Wimbledon hasn’t sat well with the Australian public, but there are still those who admire his roadshow antics, his cocky demeanour and his schoolboy charm.

Morris understands Kyrgios’ personality will rub some up the wrong way, but he won’t be telling him to change.

“He has just got to keep being him,” Morris said.

“He can’t be anyone else. People are going to love him or hate him. [On Friday] it was all about the tennis, there was no BS. He needs to keep being himself and put in performances like that. He’s a good person. He’s a good kid. Some of the treatment of him in the press has been unfair but that’s life, that’s what happens. He needs to learn from it, and all of it really is a big learning process for him. From my perspective, I know him probably better than anyone on tour, we’re super close – he’s a really good person.

“He just gets on with it. He’s got pretty thick skin but he’s human. People saying crap about you is going to hurt. But it’s not going to hurt to the extent where it will stop him from doing his job. He’ll learn from it. People have been doing it for 40 or 50 years in tennis. He’s not the first, he won’t be the last. It just happens.”

Since parting with his coach, it is understood Kyrgios has shouldered the responsibility of self-coaching.

Morris said he noticed a maturity before Kyrgios split with Larkham, but thinks he’s relished the added task of assessing his own performance.

“I’d say it’s helped him the extra responsibility,” Morris said.

“The last few months, his ability to self correct and auto correct has gone through the roof. I’d say he’s definitely enjoyed the responsibility. To be honest Todd Larkham did a really good job with Nick. It was literally a relationship that ran its course. I’ve not come in with a magic wand or magic dust and changed things overnight. Nick’s doing a lot of what he’s doing based on what Todd did with him. It’s not a question of night and day and me having a packet of magic dust in my pocket. If I did I would sell it.

“It’s been a real team effort to be honest. Everyone’s helped. James Frawley the hitter has come over as well and he has helped be a calming influence on Nick. We both discuss tactics with him. The fitness trainer, obviously his work is paying off. Nick could have kept going another four or five sets today if needed.”

Several candidates have thrown their name in the hat to coach Kyrgios, but he is no closer to deciding who that will be despite indicating he was after someone who had reached the lofty heights he is chasing.

“He’s probably looking for someone who is experienced and been there and done it,” Morris said.

“He’s probably looking for someone who is harsh but fair. He’s not being particularly clear, he’s not at that stage where he’s nailing down a name and saying ‘this is what I want’ or ‘this is who I want’. There’s a few names floating around and we’ll deal with them when they come up.”

Kyrgios has drawn comparisons to Bernard Tomic given they both dominated the headlines for their off-court antics as much as on court when they burst on the scene.

Even Tomic, who revealed Kyrgios volunteered to sit out of this month’s Davis Cup tie if he didn’t play because of a rift between Tennis Australia and his family, admits they are very much alike.

“Oh, man, I think Nick and I are the same,” Tomic said.

“We’re strange, in different ways. He’s a great kid. I love him a lot. We are good off court and we practise well. Sometimes the practice is a bit unusual, you know. We are all serving aces and it’s not even practice, you know. It’s just go through the motions.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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