Play all the trick shots you want and don’t give up the theatrics – but come off the court knowing you’ve given it 100 per cent every time before it’s too late.
That’s the advice from former tennis bad boy John McEnroe to our own Nick Kyrgios as the controversial Australian star attempts to double down on the best year of his career.
McEnroe, who is doing the media rounds promoting his new self-titled documentary, worries Kyrgios is running out of time to secure some major tennis silverware.
“I like Nick a lot. He’s a great kid,” McEnroe told Radio WSFM.
“The only issue I wish Nick could confront and deal with is – and we all have this as athletes – is that fear of failure.
“You’re afraid to go out and give 100 per cent effort every time in the fear that if you do that and lose that somehow you’re – and this is my theory again – a lesser person or you don’t feel as good about yourself.
“Unfortunately, we tie our emotions too much in terms of whether we’ve won or lost as athletes more so than we should, but it’s hard to avoid.
“I’ve often tried to talk to Nick and say ‘hey, let’s try to get a way where you embrace just the competition’.
“The guy’s one of the most talented tennis players – for his skill level – that I’ve seen in 10 years…an incredible talent.
“Unfortunately, he’s been unable to match that consistently from an effort level.”
2022 has been a career-best for Nick Kyrgios
Kyrgios is coming off a stellar 2022 in which he teamed up with great mate Thanasi Kokkinakis to win the Australian Open doubles before going on to reach the Wimbledon final.
McEnroe is urging the 27-year-old to stay focussed and committed to ensure the next stage of his career delivers the rewards his talent deserves.
“I don’t care if he serves between his legs or does whatever he does as long as he’s going out there and giving it his all,” McEnroe said.
“That’s all you can ask for as an athlete.
“So I’m just hoping – I literally would pray – that he would be able to get to that stage where he could do that consistently.
“He’s a big plus for our game. People gravitate towards him, kids like him and other players like him, except when they’re playing him.”
Kyrgios has opted out of several end-of-season tournaments as he looks to nurse a troublesome knee injury ahead of a full-on assault at the Australian Open singles title in January.