Nick and Bernie, #forthelads

On court antics, fines, tanking, strip clubs, arrests, NBA fixtures and rows with spectators, all part of a day in the life of  Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic. I have to be honest, I would love to go for a night out with these two, though that would probably become four when compatriot Thanasi Kokkinakis and Dan Evans decide to join the party . I think some serious damage could be caused here, just got to plan where I would take them, Shoreditch or Romford?

Both players have been much maligned in the past and are undoubtedly seen as two of the bad boys of tennis, if not the top two. Tomic came into the men’s game with a junior record that promised a lot, two grand slams and the world number one ranking. He was hyped by the media and also by himself. Kyrgios also won a junior slam, like Tomic, on home soil and was ranked junior world number one as well. I saw them both play at junior level and remember thinking how they both had all the physical attributes from a young age. Bernie, in particular, reminded me of Del Potro in his appearance, 6 foot plus and skinny by frame, complete with bandanna. Kyrgios just stood out straight away as a marketing dream, complete with hair do (with his own shaved head design), good looking bloke Nick too.
What annoys a lot about these two is the fact that they both have it, simple as that. Nick is still only 21, he’s already beaten Federer, Nadal and Djokovic. The problem is not winning a big match, it’s getting himself up for the matches before and after. Or whether in fact he actually wants to play tennis or go full out on basketball. Pulling out of Rotterdam to appear in the NBA All-Star celebrity game this year didn’t go down too well in some parts. Richard Krajicek, tournament organiser was livid!! I can kind of understand the Australian to a certain extent. Players are brought up in this era to know that it is all about grand slams and that is what they will be judged on and remembered for, this is also where there the big money lies, strangely. No disrespect to any 250/500 or Masters Series event but you get the impression that to the younger generation find these events are an inconvenience if anything. On the basis of what I have said they may have a point. The biggest problem with that, is how bothered Nick actually is about the slams?  There were 9 days at Wimbledon in 2015 when he reached the last 8, defeating Gasquet and Nadal on his way to defeat against Raonic, the serve blitzing Rafa, where it looked like it was only going to be a matter of time before an even bigger breakthrough was made. We are still waiting though and some lame efforts have been posted since, his slam results over the last few years have actually regressed. It doesn’t look like he’s particularly arsed most of the time, the pullout against Marchenko at the US last year suggested he simply wasn’t fit or prepared enough currently. Tomic, since reaching his first quarter-final in 2011, where had had Nole in a spot of bother (set and a break from memory) has also regressed, more alarmingly in my opinion. There is again no question that this lad can play, he has a full array of shots and on his day, great feel and touch. Like Kyrgios he seems to be having problems knuckling down and putting tennis as his priority. Aside from the fact that he has beaten Djokovic in the Hopman Cup a few years back, he has yet to record another win against either Nole, Federer, Rafa or even Muzza and there have been numerous attempts. Does the Hopman really count? It’s better than I’ll ever do granted!
In all honesty, there have been numerous times where the pair of them have had me in stitches, I know I shouldn’t laugh, but in reality, the problem with these two is that they just want to be normal lads and I totally get that! The problem is deciding which they want more. With age, should come maturity and maybe Tomic, in particular, will benefit from this later on in his career, it’s just hoping that there still is a career by that stage. A few examples of  the misdemeanours are, Tomic telling  a member of the crowd during his match with Dzumhur at the US to “suck my balls” and “I’ll give you some money to make you feel good.” HAHAHA, I mean WTF, brilliant! Getting his father, John Tomic ejected from the crowd in Miami in 2012. The Kyrgios incident in the Shanghai Masters Series wasn’t good at all. Having a pop at a member of the crowd, biting back when blatantly tanking, having already said “Can you call time so I can finish this match and go home?” to the umpire and also tell a crowd member “’You wanna come here and play? Sit down and shut up and watch.”  Neither were the comments to Stan about Kokkinakis, he’s absolutely buried his pal in doing this. In truth, though I wouldn’t say either player has done what many people wouldn’t do or say in the heat of the situation as a normal human being, we all say things sometimes to get a reaction. It certainly doesn’t condone it either having said that, but that’s the luxury of not being a professional tennis player, you are not being scrutinized. You just can’t do it or say it on a tennis court as Rafa said “it’s unnecessary” about Kyrgios’ comments. The tanking has been evident from both of them at times, Nick doing it in a high profile match against Gasquet at Wimbledon in 2015. Tomic seems to currently be doing it on a weekly basis right now, he’s in the middle of a particularly poor run currently, having just been beat by Bjorn Fratangelo last night 2 and 2 in Indian Wells. I can’t condone tanking either though. Tomic doesn’t mess about in the outside world either,  he’s been arrested several times now, the mugshot is class after the house party arrest. The press tried to get Tomic and Kokkinakis in trouble (and poor old Lleyton) for visiting a strip club after a victory in the Davis Cup over the Czech Republic in Ostrava. As it turns out they had been to Maccie D’s!! Tomic, of course, had  pics leaked of him receiving a lap dance off a few young ladies previous to this incident.I could go on here as I usually would, but it’s freely available, plus much more after a quick search on google. I also used up a big allocation of my words in my Serena blog! Most of the incidents are what you would expect normal lads to do at their age, especially the ones off the court, but its all relative.
Nick at only 21 still has time to decide what he wants, whatever that maybe. He has the ability and he’s primetime tv, always good value in an interview and it’s great to have a unique character like him in the game. I really like that side to him. What you see is what you get, no B.S for the cameras (or fans). Tomic at 24, is very much the same, what you see is what you get, again can’t knock that. I can easily see him maturing in a few years time and that’s when we might see the best of him. He’s going to have to do it the hard way now that’s for sure, he needs to go solo from his Father who is his current coach. I find it hard to not like either of them though, two reasonably ‘normal’ lads from the outside, they just need to mature and realise what they want before it’s too late, maybe they don’t want tennis. I hope they do though as they are both a million miles away from being a stereotypical tennis player and that’s good to me.
Andy Del Potro

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