What Pisses Me Off: Aussie tennis stars 133

What pisses me off


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What is it about Australia’s current tennis ‘stars’ which makes them think that they are God’s gift to the nation (or to the world, for that matter); that they deserve their flashy cars and late night parties; that their losses are never due to their opponent’s skills but to the lack of support from one person or organisation or another?

The recent outbursts and surly demeanour at their press conferences have not endeared Bernard Tomic or Nick Krygios to this tennis fan and, I am sure, to many others. Rather than accepting defeat and acknowledging the superior skills of one’s opponent, we hear all sorts of excuses and complaints about “lack of respect”.

I grew up admiring Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, Newk and many others. These guys, and women greats such as Margaret Court, Billie Jean King, Steffi Graf amongst others, didn’t only know how to play the game. They were great sportsmen and women not only in relation to their skills, but also in how they respected their fans, their nation, teammates and opponents.

Can you imagine Rod Laver complaining about the lack of support from Tennis Australia, or Newk being arrested during a late night party overseas? Speaking of late night parties, while these guys have every right to relax and blow off steam, don’t they have any training discipline or regime, or a coach who might remind them that they need sleep?

Somehow, I think these young spoiled sports of today are just one more manifestation of what is wrong with society, and how society values all the wrong qualities. We are in the ‘selfie’ era, when photos of one’s self are posted online ad nauseum, because the self is all that matters. There seems to be very little regard or appreciation for the society which has provided these athletes with the opportunity to develop their skills, to become professionals and to earn a bucketload of money in the process.

Someone needs to remind these young, gifted athletes that they are very lucky – not only to have the innate skills which enable them to be professional tennis players, but also lucky to have been born in an affluent country which can provide them the support, in organisations and individuals, to develop their skills. To snub them, such as the disdain that Bernard Tomic expressed regarding Pat Rafter and Tennis Australia, in his press conference after losing at Wimbledon, is just pathetic.

Someone should also remind them that tennis is a game, and that they are entertainers. These boys are good at hitting a ball back and forth over a net. It is not a matter of life and death. Their skills do not benefit society at large. They do not cure diseases, teach youngsters or care for the poor or elderly. The world doesn’t stop spinning if they win or lose.

Basketball legend Julius Erving, “Dr J”, was asked in 1983 about his feelings after losing the grand final, the NBA championship. He replied, “I don’t feel incomplete or inadequate in any way because I haven’t won an NBA championship. I don’t lie awake nights and think about it. I know I’ve given my best to the public, and the rest is really out of my hands. I can accept that”.

Tennis legend Boris “Boom Boom” Becker, who played to win all the time, expressed similar thoughts after losing an early match at Wimbledon in 1987: “I didn’t lose a war. Nobody died. Basically, I just lost a tennis match”.

Wise words from two legends!

Being a gifted athlete is not a license to be a surly, spoiled brat, and many others – much better players than these two ever will be – have shown sportsmanship along the likes of Laver’s and others from his generation. Roger Federer doesn’t carry on like Tomic or Kyrgios. He is as gracious in defeat as he is in victory, as is Novak Djokovic.

I hope someone gets through to not only these two young players but all youngsters on the way up the tennis ladder. Tell them to do their best both on and off the court. Let them have their cars and parties, but don’t forget to teach them some respect, too.

Do you agree? What should be done to get these stars into line?

Zvi Civins

Zvi is a 62 year old retired educator who is now enjoying the time to read, garden, exercise, volunteer and travel. He is looking forward to sharing his stories with the Starts at Sixty community and all of the discussions around them.

  1. Short memories Cash and Hewitt were terrible. The problem is that they forget, they are simply good at playing a game and are overpaid entertainers. No more. Add to that they are not very smart.

    2 REPLY
    • Yes and so was Mcenroe and Aggassi and Connors and to a certain degree Andy Murray can chuck a you beaut tantum when the moid takes him so lets come down hard on all of them and no just some …oh and speaking of Hewitt he had a great rival in the tantrum stakes his name was Nadal so lets be consistent hmmmm?

    • Yes, I was just naming the Aussies, but you’re correct Joan Savell. It seems to be rife in tennis in more modern times.

  2. What an eloquent summary of how the majority of us feel. This “spoilt brat” behaviour and lack of sportsmanship should have been stamped out long ago. Some players now consider it a right to argue with the umpire, smash their racquets in anger, swear and carry on like morons. Perhaps if they were heavily fined and banned from future tournaments for a period, they may tone down their bad behaviour and in the process improve the game as a spectacle for the spectators.

    6 REPLY
    • I agree with you. The teaching of manners is the parents job. This boy has a talent and it will never be any more than just a tennis talent. He doesn’t have anyone to look up to as a mentor. Tennis Australia has a lot to answer for. He should earn the right to represent his country. Winning g isn’t everything! Teach him a lesson…don’t let him represent us. He makes enough money he doesn’t care anyway. To represent Australia he must have other qualities not just tennis ability. That goes for ALL sports.

    • To ALL the “Spoilt Brat” Sportsmen in ALL sports, Including AFL, ..LOL
      But actually you ARE NOT a Sportsmen, just another person with a “Status Anxiety” Problem.

  3. I really liked Kyrios until he started his nonsense. It looks like he’s copying Tomic, which is very sad

  4. no personalities, boring to watch, The male swimmers seem to tarred with the same brush!!

  5. We the public allow these people to behave badly, we should just boycott any events with tantrums an displays of bad sportsmanship but we continue to watch and they continue to misbehave

  6. Sorry but i feel that way about most sports players now, too much taxpayers money being thrown at them.

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