Singapore: Respected Australian coach Darren Cahill has endorsed the ATP’s decision to include a psychological care plan incentive in its suspension of Nick Kyrgios, while stressing that only the player can decide if and when he will be receptive to help.
Adelaide-based Cahill, who formerly worked with Lleyton Hewitt and Andre Agassi, is now guiding Romanian Simona Halep, the third seed at this week’s WTA Finals in Singapore. He, like everyone not “living under a rock”, saw the Kyrgios tank at the Shanghai Masters and shared a similar reaction.
Ball’s in Nick’s court: Darren Cahill says Kyrgios has to help himself. Photo: Getty Images
“I scratch my head at Nick,” Cahill said. “There are many times I see him where I want to walk out on the court and give him a hug, tell him everything’s going to be OK. There are times when I feel like the ATP can throw the book at him, and there are times when I feel like I sit back and I just love every second of him playing tennis.
“I don’t know what the answer is; he doesn’t know. And so the difficult thing is that until he knows what he wants to get out of the game, and what type of coach he wants and what type of training he wants to do, I think we can all throw this advice around but it doesn’t make any difference.
“I think time will work itself out with Nick – give him a little bit of space. I think what the ATP has done is good: he needed to be sanctioned, but he also needs help, and I hope he seeks that help. But it will only work if he’s willing to listen to it and he’s ready to listen to it and he’s the only one that knows the answer to that.”
Cahill said it was clear that Kyrgios was “troubled about something – you just don’t do that for no reason” to have behaved as he did in the 6-3, 6-1 loss to German Mischa Zverev that prompted global condemnation.
Yet while Tennis Australia announced that the 21-year-old had agreed to participate in sessions with a sports psychologist in order to reduce his suspension from eight weeks to three, Kyrgios suggested on social media last week that was unlikely. But the tweet has since been deleted and it is understood that counselling plans are being made.
“Many times I think that you want to go out there and tell Nick ‘listen, we don’t care whether you win or lose, it’s not about the result, it’s about just going out, having fun, and doing what you do’, because he lights the crowd up. When he’s having fun, enjoying his tennis and playing well, he’s a pleasure to watch and he’s fun to watch.
“When he does what he did in that [Shanghai] tournament, it’s difficult to watch. So I don’t have any answers, I don’t have any real advice. He’s the only one that’s going to be able to work it out. Hopefully he’s got some good people around him when he’s ready to take on that advice that will give him good advice.”