OPINION

Kyrgios' disrespect mirrored by fans in the stands

NO RESPECT: Howard Kotton says that Nick Kyrgios' lack of respect for tennis and his opponents is mirrored by fans in the stands. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

NO RESPECT: Howard Kotton says that Nick Kyrgios' lack of respect for tennis and his opponents is mirrored by fans in the stands. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Nick Kyrgios' entertainment value and ability to draw a crowd has never been in question, but he must accept responsibility for the unruly behaviour of many fans at his matches.

The enigmatic Kyrgios' lack of respect for tennis and his opponents is mirrored in their antics in the stands.

When he was in action at the Australian Open last week, the atmosphere was akin to a football game with spectators introducing a "siuu" sound, a celebratory roar adopted from soccer great Cristiano Ronaldo, which sounds like booing.

Audience participation at sporting events should be encouraged and people need an outlet after a miserable two years dealing with COVID, but the disgusting conduct at Kyrgios' matches was inappropriate and lacked class.

During his opening round win in straight sets over Liam Broady, the Australian treated the British qualifier with disdain, unleashing his repertoire of underarm serves and "tweeners".

Kyrgios produced some amazing shots to take a set off second-seeded Russian Daniil Medvedev before being eliminated in the second round. Post-match, Medvedev questioned the IQ of some fans and Broady admitted he struggled in the face of sustained vitriol from the stands.

While such respected names as Todd Woodbridge and Darren Cahill view the enthusiastic support for Kyrgios in a positive light by attracting a new breed of tennis fans, most do not share their opinion.

There is a strict etiquette during matches - fans have to stay quiet from the moment a player starts serving until the point is over. Between points and at the end of games, they are free to express their emotions within reason and it is up to the umpire to settle the crowd.

Australians generally enjoy partisan support at home, but booing visiting players and cheering their mistakes is not how people should behave.

Kyrgios, 26, may be satisfied with being the ultimate showman on the court, but the results indicate he is far from living up to his potential as someone who should have won at least three Grand Slam titles and be a top-five player by now.

While his preparation for the Australian Open was hindered by contracting COVID, it is clear he misses the guidance of an experienced coach to assist him. Kyrgios has been ranked as high as No. 13 and won six ATP titles, but he lacks the fitness, commitment and dedication required to defeat the best on a consistent basis.

John McEnroe, the American champion who was also a great showman, empathises with the Australian in the firm belief that he has the talent to go much further. But while he maintains his attitude to the game and opponents, Kyrgios' growth and development as a player will remain stunted.

Anisimova gains 'killer' instinct

Darren 'Killer' Cahill's reputation as a coach is renowned worldwide and his brief association with Amanda Anisimova has already reaped rewards for the young American.

Since becoming part of her coaching team in the past few weeks, Cahill has helped Anisimova improve her mindset and become a more confident player.

Before losing to world No. 1 Ash Barty in straight sets on Rod Laver Arena last Sunday night, Anisimova had won eight straight matches this year.

After winning her second career title at the Melbourne Summer Set leading into the Australian Open, she upset Olympic champion Belinda Bencic in straight sets in the second round and eliminated defending champion Naomi Osaka.

Since retiring as a player in 1995, Cahill has developed into a top coach, with former world No. 1s Lleyton Hewitt and Andre Agassi among his disciples. The South Australian enjoyed great success with Simona Halep until they parted ways last September, taking the Romanian to the top of the women's rankings and two Grand Slam titles.

Cahill comes from a famous sporting pedigree and it is hardly surprising he has found his niche in coaching - his father, John, was a magnificent footballer and legendary coach with SANFL club Port Adelaide.

Alcott seeks fairytale finish

Dylan Alcott is on the way towards an eighth consecutive Australian Open wheelchair quad singles title and he deserves all the accolades coming his way as he seeks a fairytale finish in his final tournament.

INSPIRING: Dylan Alcott has been an inspirational figure during his outstanding career. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

INSPIRING: Dylan Alcott has been an inspirational figure during his outstanding career. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Alcott, 31, has been an inspirational figure during an outstanding career, winning Olympic gold in basketball as a teenager before deciding to focus on tennis.

Last year, he enjoyed unprecedented success by winning the Australian, French, Wimbledon and US Open championships as well as a gold medal at the Tokyo Paralympic Games. With his extroverted personality, the Melburnian is ideally suited to the media and is making his mark as a courtside commentator in Channel 9's Australian Open coverage.

 Keep punching, Scotty

Sports journalism lost a trailblazing legend with the death of Scot Palmer, who was farewelled by close family and friends at a function last Sunday.

Palmer, 84, was a pioneer as a multi-media performer, using his popular Punchlines newspaper column to build a profile on television with Channel 7 and on Melbourne breakfast radio. An enthusiastic newshound and wonderful storyteller with a unique, charismatic personality, he was a mentor to many journalists, including myself. Palmer covered many sports, including Olympic and Commonwealth Games, but AFL remained his passion. Keep punching, Scotty!

Has Howard got it right? Email: howardkotton11@gmail.com; Twitter: @hpkotton59