Monday, July 11, 2022

Wimbledon, Nick Kyrgios and why everyone needs a coach

Let’s call this ‘Bereft Monday’. No more Wimbledon, no more Sue Barker…how will we ever survive? Like millions around the world I lapped up the two-week tennis spectacular without barely a stop for changing ends of the sofa. Also, like afficionados and final-watchers-only, I marvelled as Nick Kyrgios (below) gave nailed-on favourite Novak Djokovic a run for his money.
But after taking the first set, things started to unravel for the ‘Maverick’ Australian. Shouting and swearing at his bemused and rather embarrassed looking team box for not giving him enough support sort of summed up where both parties are at – nowhere. Kyrgios famously has no coach. In an era of nutrition and mental health advisors let alone people helping you hit the ball, he chooses to go it alone. "I don't want to put anyone in trouble, the truth is that I don't have a coach because I don't want to bother anyone who is in charge of him. I know my game well and I know what I can do," he has said. But when his bash down the serve and hit expansive winners game deserted him, there was no plan B. In fact, maybe there wasn’t even a plan A. A coach would have helped prepare for all eventualities and been there in that box giving the subtle signals of which way to go. When I was a newspaper editor someone very kindly said to me: “You make a very difficult job look very easy.” Ok, I’ll take the plaudit but what she had really hit upon was a victory for teamwork (you can’t do everything yourself), planning (have plans A, B, C all the way up the wazoo) and a little humility, that goes a long way. Perhaps Nick Kyrgios is reflecting on that as today as he counts his £1m winnings – half of what he could have won….