John McEnroe is called a HYPOCRITE for criticising Nick Kyrgios

John McEnroe calling Nick Kyrgios a brat? You cannot be serious! MIKE COLMAN lashes out at the original tennis bad boy and Pat Cash for their hypocritical stance on the Aussie Wimbledon contender

  • Nick Kyrgios’ behaviour at Wimbledon has been criticised by the game’s greats 
  • John McEnroe and Pat Cash have slammed the Aussie for his wild on-court antics
  • MIKE COLMAN says McEnroe must have forgotten his ill-tempered past
  • Kyrgios attracts eyeballs to the sport and has made Wimbledon box office 

Did John McEnroe really criticise the behaviour of Nick Kyrgios last week?

To paraphrase McEnroe himself, he CANNOT be serious.

For McEnroe to be critical of the behaviour of anyone of any age, playing any sport, is the ultimate case of the pot calling the kettle black. Really, really, black. Pitch black. Blacker than black.

Anyone who thinks that what Kyrgios did on court during his third-round match against Stefanos Tsitsipas at Wimbledon is even in the league of McEnroe at his worst, either has a very short memory or wasn’t around in the 1980s and early 90s.

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They didn’t call him Superbrat for nothing, folks.

In comparison, Kyrgios is just a little on the high-spirited side.

As Kyrgios remonstrated with the chair umpire during the Tsitsipas match [correctly arguing that the Greek should have been defaulted for hitting a ball into the crowd, by the way] McEnroe described his behaviour as ‘embarrassing’.

Embarrassing? That’s not embarrassing, John. Embarrassing is calling an opponent a ‘communist bastard’ or an umpire ‘the pits of the world’.

It’s ripping the headset off a courtside cameraman and screaming ‘shut up’ into the microphone or being barred from Queen’s club in London for swearing at the chairman’s wife.

It’s boycotting the champions’ ball at Wimbledon and being defaulted from the Australian Open.

Maybe most embarrassing of all, it is now carrying on like none of that stuff ever happened and piously sitting in judgement of the latest batch of tennis firebrands who are simply following your example.

And what an example you set.

John Patrick McEnroe Jr might be considered a paragon of tennis virtue now – the All England club even chose him as the model for the hologram figure that guides visitors through the museum at Wimbledon – but at his peak he was the most divisive figure in world sport.

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McEnroe labelled Kyrgios’ behaviour against Stefanos Tsitsipas ’embarrassing’ this week

In 1979, when he was only 20 years of age and just warming up, a columnist in The Sun newspaper described him as, ‘the most vain, ill-tempered, petulant loudmouth that the game of tennis has ever known’.

A complete list of indiscretions through his 16-year career would fill a book, but just a few selected lowlights make disturbing enough reading on their own.

His most memorable meltdown came in the first round of Wimbledon in 1981. Up against Tom Gullikson, he became enraged when a line call went against him, famously telling umpire Edward James, ‘You cannot be serious man. You CANNOT be serious.’

Later in the match he gave the entire officiating staff a joint spray when he told them, ‘You guys are the pits of the world’. James then deducted him a point, prompting McEnroe to tell referee Fred Hoyles, ‘This guy is an incompetent fool’.

The American must have a short memory of his own outlandish behaviour during his career

In 1984 he was suspended three weeks after a tournament in Stockholm where he aggressively told the umpire to, ‘Answer the question jerk’, hit a ball into the crowd and smashed a tray of drinks with his racquet.

In 1990, he became the first player to be disqualified from a Grand Slam event since 1963 when he was defaulted following three warnings during a match against Mikael Pernfors at the Australian Open.

After being warned for glaring at a lineswoman, he later threw his racquet and then, being deducted a point, made an allegedly obscene suggestion to event supervisor Ken Farrar regarding Farrar’s mother, bringing an end to his tournament.

In his 2017 book ‘But Seriously’, McEnroe claimed it had all been a misunderstanding. Not that he hadn’t been guilty of the indiscretions, but that he hadn’t known the rules had recently been changed from four strikes you’re out, to three.

Who can forget McEnroe’s infamous ‘you cannot be serious?’ outburst back in 1981

If he had, he said, he ‘wouldn’t have let things get crazier’.

In other words, he confirmed what people had been saying for years – that McEnroe knew exactly what he was doing when he ‘lost his head’, and swore, screamed and threw his racquet. It was all a device to fire himself up and distract his opponents. He admitted it.

‘What does that tell you about my outbursts?’ he wrote. ‘It screams loud and clear (almost as loudly and clearly as I did), that as a general rule I knew how far I could push that envelope.

‘First because I knew the tournament directors never had the nerve to default one of their star players. They weren’t stupid. Second, because I wasn’t stupid either. I wanted to win, and if I totally lost control, I knew it would be tough to recover.’

So now, for McEnroe and, to a lesser degree, Pat Cash, to criticise the behaviour of Kyrgios – or any other young player for that matter – is the height of hypocrisy.

McEnroe attempts to break his racket during a wild lashing out during the 1981 tournament

McEnroe is now viewed with extraordinary virtue but he was far worse than the Australian

As former player and politician John Alexander so eloquently put it this week, they have been reborn as ‘men of extraordinary virtue’.

And for three-time Australian Open champion Mats Wilander to say of the Kyrgios-Tsitsipas set-to, ‘I’ve never seen anything like it’, well … what can you say?

Was the guy half asleep during his career? I know most of the spectators at his matches were.

Which brings us to the point about Kyrgios and, during their playing days, McEnroe and Cash too.

Sure, they have been guilty of crossing the line, but if every player was as vanilla as Wilander, batting the ball backwards and forwards across the net with all the animation of a garden wall, tennis would have the mass media appeal of dominos or quoits.

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Occasionally … okay, in McEnroe’s case, more than occasionally, they have been guilty of going too far, but you have to admit – whether you’re for them or against them – it gives the fans and the media something to talk about.

Yes, as Cash said, Kyrgios did turn his match against Tsitsipas into a circus, but a lot of people like the circus, with its monkeys and clowns and fairy floss. That’s why they pay their money to go along and be entertained.

Nick Kyrgios likes it too. It keeps him fired up.

In the words of John Alexander: “He thinks if you’re not on the edge, you’re taking up too much room’.

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