It was Mr. Hyde in the form of Nick Kyrgios who showed up for a first round U.S. Open match with fellow Aussie John Millman.
Kyrgios reverted to the form that has plagued him in the past, losing his temper and the match to Millman, 3 – 6, 6 – 1, 4 – 6, 1 – 6.
Given his mercurial history, the final set was obviously Kyrgios going through the motions, as it was clear that down two sets to one, he had little interest in expending the energy to mount a comeback.
In the post-match presser, Kyrgios complained of a “dead” shoulder, sparing his sore hip the responsibility for his latest failure to compete with adequate zeal. Kyrgios, asked if he would continue with the latest in a long line of sacrificial coaches, said that Sebastian Grosjean deserved better than him (Kyrgios).
“I don’t know, honestly. I’m not good enough for him,” Kyrgios said. “He’s very dedicated. He’s an unbelievable coach. He probably deserves a player that is probably more dedicated to the game than I am. He deserves a better athlete than me.
“I’m not dedicated to the game at all.”
Kyrgios’ lack of motivation almost sounds as though is malady is more one of a mental, rather than physical nature. He may benefit from a break from the game, such as that taken by Roger Federer needed to recover from an injury that had him absent from last year’s U.S. Open.
A few months to heal the body and clear the mind worked wonders for Federer, who returned with a fresh perspective and proceeded to win the Australian Open and the Wimbledon Championships in 2017.
Kyrgios, whose considerable talent is unquestionable, typically plays lower ranked players at Slams with deadly proficiency. He won 20 from 20 such matches, but has since been on the wrong side of upset losses in his last five outings in majors.
At his current roller coaster pace, with good weeks and bad weeks, Kyrgios would be well advised to shut it down for a few months before he jumps the rails entirely.