LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 04: Nick Kyrgios of Australia reacts in his Men's Singles second round match against Rafael Nadal of Spain during Day four of The Championships - Wimbledon 2019 at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 04, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

To no one’s surprise, Nick Kyrgios has made all the headlines again despite being dumped out of Wimbledon by Rafa Nadal.

Try as you might, it’s very hard to find a story on what Nadal did right as they’re all centred around what Kyrgios did wrong.

Of course, to be perfectly fair, the young Australian did give his critics a lot of ammunition to work with. That being said, the witch hunt against the 24-year-old is growing tiresome, with a lot of it bordering on hypocritical, especially as far as the Australia media are concerned.

It’s always quite amusing to see the press taking the gloves off and going at Kyrgios as Muhammad Ali did against Joe Frazier. The narrative is constantly about how Kyrgios is bringing disgrace on Australia with the way he carries on and yes, some of it is indeed done in bad taste. But that is the bed Australian sport has made; everyone will have to lie in it with Kyrgios, for he is a product of sportsmanship in Australia.

For decades, the Australian cricket team have travelled the world carrying out the unsavoury to very little rebuke. Not much was made of Michael Clarke’s broken arm sledge to James Anderson when he threatened him with physical violence, but the world has fallen apart as Kyrgios says he was aiming a tennis ball at Nadal during their game.

 

Rafa’s reaction was also a bit over the top as well, as he played into the narrative about Kyrgios and worked hard to make sure the crowd saw the Australian as the pantomime villain. Nadal should expect opponents to come at him hard as he is one of the big favourites at 7/2 in the latest tennis odds to win Wimbledon 2019. The Spaniard is such a force that you almost have to bring an element of playing the mongrel in to unsettle him.

If you’re mortally offended at Kyrgios’ underarm serve to Nadal and feel it is one of the dark moments in Australian sports history, you may want to look up what Trevor Chappel did in 1981 against New Zealand – you’ll find Kyrgios’ underarm has a long way to go before it is considered the most controversial.

If you want to talk about bringing a nation into disrepute, maybe it’s best to focus on Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft and the sandpaper they brought to a test match against South Africa in Cape Town. Both Warner and Smith have been welcomed back with open arms and didn’t serve one more minute than their scheduled ban before being selected again.

Let’s not forget, that was dinkum cheating that would have spelled the end of those respective careers had they been playing for other nations. Instead, these cowboys are back on the international stage at a World Cup.

Shane Warne’s open letter to Nick Kyrgios in 2015 was bordering on the farcical when the legendary leg-spinner told the then 20-year-old that he was testing the country’s patience and being respected is way more important than being liked. It seems rich listening to a man that was banned for doping in 2003 taking the high road and publicly condemning a man who has only just exited his teen years.

Kyrgios has grown up watching the likes of Shane Warne, Michael Clarke, Andrew Symonds, and Quade Cooper. Even if they aren’t in the same sport, these are the nation’s sports stars who have managed to get away with it, so it’s no wonder Kyrgios has been shaped into this type of character.

Not all of these men are bad people – far from it, they enjoy competition and sometimes take it too far, but that is what makes Australia a phenomenal sporting nation. Sledging is a national pastime and Kyrgios wants in as well; only, because he plays tennis, it is now deemed unsporting and unbecoming. Really, Kyrgios has every right to make his career what he wants as long as he remains in the laws of the game so maybe it’s time he enjoys some long overdue slack.

When you consider all the evidence on the table, the 23-year-old’s only crime is possessing the Australian sports psyche and sure there may be an argument that he has to tone it down a bit but if we’re being honest, Australia has seen far, far worse in the sporting arena.