Nick Kyrgios rallies during training in Australia
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Controversial tennis star Nick Kyrgios has been urged to consider extending his career in the sport after dropping hints he may not stick around in the professional game for too much longer. The Australian turned pro in 2013 and reached a career-high world ranking of 13 three years later, but is now 96th and has ended his disappointing 2021 season early to rest his injured knee.
His last appearance came at the Laver Cup, where he was part of the Team World side which was demolished 19-1 by their European counterparts in Boston.
Kyrgios said then and there that it would be his last event of the year, before returning to Australia to continue his recovery and spend time with his unwell mother.
He also hinted that a decision to retire from the sport would come sooner rather than later, despite only being 26 years old.
“As long as I’m on the court, I will try and give my best,” he said.
“But I’m not going to lie and say that I’m going to plan to play four or five more years on tour. That’s just not me.”
That statement sparked rumours Kyrgios is considering quitting the game now, after failing to make much of an impact on the court in the past two years.
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Former British pro Mark Petchey, who went on to coach Andy Murray and now works as a commentator and pundit, took to social media to publicly urge the Australian to think long and hard before making a final decision.
“Not sure where you are in the world right now @NickKyrgios but take your time, think about what makes you happy and make the decision that suits you best,” he wrote on Twitter.
“But there are many in tennis who want to see you stay in the sport. You are a long time retired. Tennis is more fun with you in it.”
While Kyrgios’ talent has always been clear to see, the 26-year-old’s career has largely made headlines for all the wrong reasons.
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The Australian has been slapped with regular fines for on-court controversies such as hurling insults at opponents, ball boys, spectators and umpires and smashing his racket on numerous occasions.
He was booed by the crowd at Wimbledon in 2015 and was accused of ‘tanking’ – purposefully not playing as well as he could – in his loss to Richard Gasquet. Kyrgios later admitted to tanking some matches in his career.
And he was handed a record fine in 2019 for a remarkable outburst at the Cincinnati Masters in which he hurled insults at the umpire, swore repeatedly, refused to shake his hand, made a rude gesture, appeared to spit at the official and smashed up two rackets in a fit of rage.
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