Young Tennis Players Struggle to Break Through on Pro Tours


Nick Kyrgios before his match against Fernando Verdasco at the Rogers Cup on Aug. 11.

Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

At his namesake tennis academy on Randalls Island on Wednesday night, John McEnroe hastily rearranged the schedule to have one of his invited guests, Nick Kyrgios, play doubles with him during a charity event.

“Hopefully, I can teach him a thing or two,” McEnroe said before pausing and thinking twice about that. “Or hopefully, not teach him a thing or two.”

McEnroe — who back in his day was tennis’s leading man and most misbehaved boy — drew laughs from a group of reporters. But in a private interview, he conceded there was nothing funny about Kyrgios’s recent on-court comportment.

“He could be incredibly positive for our sport,” McEnroe said. “He’s got a chance to be top five, win Grand Slams. But he’s rubbed people the wrong way and he’s going to get railroaded out of town if he doesn’t watch out.”


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