Australian swimming legend Dawn Fraser has apologised for remarks about tennis player Nick Kyrgios, but could it be she is right after all?
Here’s the scene – Wimbledon 2015, and Australian Nick Kyrgios is playing Richard Gasquet. After an exchange of words with the umpire during one of the breaks in the second set, Kyrgios is given a code violation for using ‘audible obscenity.’
Then it all kicked off! During the next game, with Gasquet serving, Kyrgios basically gave up. He trudged between serves, moving over to the opposite side of the court almost at the same time as Gasquet served, clearly making no attempt to play the ball.
Not trying, basically.
Boos rang out from the crowd, and although he fought back in the 3rd and 4th sets, Kyrgios lost, and the ‘non trying’ incident was always going to be talked about.
Later after the match, Dawn Fraser said in an interview that it was ‘disgusting,’ and that if he didn’t like it maybe Kyrgios should go back to where his parents came from.
That’s where she was wrong. She first defended her comments, saying she hadn’t intended them in a racist way, but she has now issued a statement saying she apologised ‘unreservedly.’
So although she was wrong, she was *right* when she said it was disgusting.
Fraser won 4 Olympic gold medals, so she knows a thing or two about competing at the highest level, and it’s fair to say she knows a thing or two about the Australian sporting mindset.
Personally I love the Aussie sporting mindset. It says that you compete hard, you expect to win, and you don’t give up.
It’s a simple philosophy, but it’s one the Aussies are rightly proud of, because it’s brought them massive success on the sporting stage, and it embodies an ethic of hard work and self confidence.
That’s why, if Kyrgios’ behaviour jarred with non Aussies, it’s not hard to see how it went down with the Aussie crowd!
Kyrgios himself said in post match interviews that he had ups and downs on the court, and suggested he hand a racket to a journalist to see how many of Gasquet’s serves the journalist could return.
Now, my own experience of playing sport at the highest level is absolutely zero, so I have no way of relating. That means I do accept the possibility of a young man reacting the wrong way under pressure.
Kyrgios was still in the wrong though. He clearly *wasn’t* trying in that game, and will likely receive a massive fine for it.
Rightly so. As a professional sportsman, being paid a lot of money to play in front of a lot of spectators, who have paid a lot of money, in your sport’s most prestigious tournament, you had better be trying if you ask me!
Had he tried that at any tennis club or coaching academy he would have been put right in no uncertain terms, so although Fraser was wrong with the comment about going back to where his parents came from (Kyrgios was born in Australia to a Greek born father and a Malaysian born mother), she was most certainly right to use the word ‘disgusting.’
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‘Til Next time,
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