Special K; A Light-Bulb Moment?

KK recently purchased a signed portrait of Nick Kyrgios to support the NK Foundation. One dilemma that’s been facing him ever since is whether to give the portrait pride of place in the shop. 

KK is a minimalist and generally avoids the Italian Mafioso Pizza approach to business, whereby it’s obligatory to drench the walls with photos of yourself and (pistol-frightened) celebrities. 

The problem, of course, is that if KK hangs the portrait in the shop, it will be seen as an endorsement of all things Special K; an alignment with K’s cause and the cause of the business itself. Adding an extra K to KK may be fraught with danger...if you follow my drift.

A customer of ours recently referred to Nick Kyrgios as a ‘pork chop’, unconvinced by the full court PR press that commenced the second Naughty Nick sniffled over the bushfires during a post-match interview at this year’s ATP Cup. 

What followed was a summer of love for the on-probation Kyrgios, culminating in an impressive four-round run at the AO, where he went down with dignity against Rafael Nadal.

It was the first time since Special K freewheeled his way to the Wimbledon quarter-finals as a 19-year-old that he seemed to relish the contest, twice extricating himself from sticky situations against high quality opponents.

As a result, we were once more subjected to the ‘has-he-flicked-the-switch?’ debate. 

The debate is invariably (re)commenced by journalists who know little to nothing about tennis and only cover the sport for a two-week window every summer, drifting in with the tide, mangling the Spanglish, then (thankfully) drifting back out to inflict themselves upon other sports enthusiasts.

See also: Tony Jones' train wreck interview with Naomi Osaka after the 2019 AO final.


According to TJ's psychologist, in the 376 nights since his interview with Naomi Osaka, he has dreamt only of locomotives slowly ploughing through buildings


The premise of the ‘switch’ debate goes something like this: Nick Kyrgios could be the best tennis player in the world, if only he gave a $hit. 

How on earth do we know this?

There seems to be an implicit assumption that when someone’s worst is as bad as Naughty Nick’s, their best must be proportionately good. However there’s every chance that if Kyrgios hired a full-time coach, got in good Nick(!) and actually started constructing points on court, he might come up just as short in five-set tennis as Nishikori, Raonic, Dimitrov, Tsonga and Berdych.

Deep down, I suspect this is what Kyrgios is most afraid of. 

The notion that he simply needs to flick a switch to be able to win Slams is as absurd as Richard Gasquet’s explanation for ‘inadvertently’ taking cocaine. 

Another problem with the ‘switch’ debate is that it supposes that we live in a world where bad boy and redemption story are the only two available dials/narratives for troubled sportsmen. 

Such a simplification neglects the likelihood that Kyrgios will spend his entire career creating high(and low)light reels, jagging the odd Masters 500 title when he’s in rhythm, enjoying occasional victories over top five players, losing to dirt rats and pushers on sojourns from the Challenger Tour, all the while drifting along ranked between 15 and 70 in the world, shoulders slumped, towel in mouth, eternally tucking at the collarbones of his Nike shirt.

I don’t want this to be the case. I’m just pointing out that, like the career of the French showman, Gael Monfils, it’s the most likely scenario.



The reason I'm on Nick’s side is because of the idiocy of the ‘switch’ debate. I find myself pitying him for the inane questions that he is repeatedly subjected to. Please just watch from 2:30-3:30 in the post-match presser after his opening round victory at the AO... 

I doubt any of us could withstand such drivel, year-round, without eventually cracking and offering an insincere (and headline-generating) sound bite: 

Hey Nick, do you have any thoughts on the Third Reich? 

Brah, like, seriously? Medvedev just tore me a new one. I haven’t even heard of whatever that is. Sounds funny as, but!


He is an absurd man-child living in an absurd time. 

One thing Kyrgios does, albeit inadvertently, is illuminate the hysteria that drives the modern news cycle, all the while presenting a firm middle finger to those who have the fickleness to take their cues from it.

Let’s be abundantly clear. For all the outpouring of love for Special K this summer, he is only one moment of madness away from being a bad boy (or Naughty Nick) again. No switch has been flicked, because there isn’t one to flick.

My advice: we should all live the Kyrgios Show–the petulant and the sublime–for as long as we’re able to. We will miss him when androids take over.

Milos iRaonic(c)2053, anyone? 

Thought not! Time to hang the portrait of K in the shop and deal with the consequences. 

As always, if you need any tennis equipment, or just fancy a philosophical chat about Nick Kyrgios, please drop by KK Tennis. 475 Malvern Road, South Yarra.

February 12, 2020 — Murray

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