Kyrgios makes revealing Wimbledon confession
ALL that was missing from one of the most memorable press conferences in Wimbledon history was for Nick Kyrgios to turn full Tony Montana and exit Scarface-style.
What you lookin' at? You all a bunch of f***in' assholes. You know why? You don't have the guts to be what you wanna be. You need people like me. You need people like me so you can point your f***in' fingers and say, 'That's the bad guy'. So … what that make you? Good? You're not good. You just know how to hide, how to lie. Me, I don't have that problem. Me, I always tell the truth. Even when I lie. So say good night to the bad guy!
Maybe next year.
Because Kyrgios will be back - and so will the media hordes who flock to his post-match appearances in larger numbers than they do for even for players such as Roger Federer and Serena Williams.
Kyrgios is as much an entertainer as a tennis player - and that's just the way he wants it.
After a round-one win at Wimbledon, the Aussie alluded to the fact even though people disliked him, those same critics would always be glued to his every move come game time.
"At the end of the day, I know people are going to watch. Like, they can say the way I play isn't right or he's classless for the sport, all that sort of stuff. They're probably still going to be there watching. Doesn't really make sense," Kyrgios said.
He knows what he does - like accusing Rafael Nadal of playing too slowly or abusing umpires as he did in his second-round loss to the Spaniard - will upset people, but that doesn't stop him.
He thinks he should be able to win people over with tweeners and no-look drop shots and while that works for some, it will never be enough for those who see him as little more than a disrespectful brat.
The stampede to a Kyrgios press conference after a match is unlike anything else in the sport. Journalists from every corner of the globe rush to see him.
But there's a difference between attracting eyeballs and being popular. Kyrgios is unparalleled in achieving the first, but he'll never be the second - and he knows it.
He said this week it's never nice waking up to negative things being said about him but he won't change for anyone.
It's like Kyrgios is trolling us, always baiting tennis fans with acts of madness and then crying foul when people turn against him.
But if that approach started out as attention-seeking, the consequences of being a wildcard in a sport built on conformity are clearly taking their toll on a player who, it's easy to forget, is still a young man at just 24.
The Canberra prodigy pulled out two underarm serves against Nadal on Friday morning (AEST) and won both points. Asked why he didn't try the tactic again after it had been so successful early in the match, an exasperated Kyrgios laid bare his inner turmoil.
"I don't know, man. If I do something outrageous, I get destroyed in the media for it," he said.
"I thought I'd be professional and hit a normal serve. That's what I was thinking.
"No, I'm kidding. I just didn't want to hit another one. Oh, shoot me down for not hitting an underarm serve on Centre Court against Rafa.
"What do you want from me, man? I don't know what you want from me."
The reason the rush to get to Kyrgios's latest media conference was so strong because you know what he says behind the microphone is as interesting as what he does on the court.
Honest, unfiltered and with body language that hides nothing, it's how you know there are aspects to being a professional tennis player - or aspects of being him, specifically - that make life seem burdensome rather than enjoyable.
Kyrgios described Centre Court at Wimbledon as the best court in the world and he played a helluva match. Even though he lost to Nadal, he was dead right when he said he played a high level of tennis.
Both men did. Even it ended in a reasonably dominant win to the Spaniard - just as Kyrgios himself predicted on Instagram pre-game when he responded to the question "Who do you think will win?" by tagging Nadal.
Seriously, how often do you see that kind of candour from a professional athlete?
But also - even if you think it was a joke - was it also an insight into the mind of an athlete who hasn't found the capacity to be professional and determined enough to consistently win at the pointy end of tournaments?
It's what makes Kyrgios such a divisive figure. Until he goes deep at a grand slam - he hasn't made a quarter-final since 2015 - he'll never be embraced.
Despite the fun factor he provided on the big stage, he was still expecting a negative twist on a performance he believes should be applauded rather than criticised. It was entertainment at its best, but Kyrgios doesn't believe everyone will see it that way.
"It's special," Kyrgios said when asked what it felt like to know he had the crowd fully engaged in what he was doing at the most sacred postcode in tennis.
"I'm always willing to go out there and try and put on a show. I know people that bought a ticket today probably had a great day. A lot of good matches on that court. That was a really good match. I enjoyed myself a lot out there.
"At times today I was looking around. This is Wimbledon, playing Rafa. I'm having a lot of fun. I was a little different, underarm serves. A lot of people watching.
"But I'll probably wake up tomorrow, there will be something negative about it, for sure."
Kyrgios's outlook is simple but sad. For everything positive he brings to the sport, he's always waiting for the negative just around the corner.
He has done things his own way on the pro tour, just as he did during his junior days, and said after the Nadal match he'd had a lot of fun along the journey.
But apart from a couple of jovial interactions with reporters - he lost it when he recognised one woman asking him a question was at the same pub as him the night before - the rest of his demeanour suggested everything that came with being a pro tennis player was more draining than fun.
"Nothing. I don't even want to step on a tennis court," he said when asked what he thought he needed to work on after his latest loss.
Like with most things Kyrgios-related, there'll be two responses when he decides never to return, whenever that may be. Some saying "good riddance", and others wishing we'd appreciated his genius more.