Nick Kyrgios

Former Nottingham Open tennis champion Alex de Minaur believes Nick Kyrgios is an attribute for the sport.

It follows Kyrgios, 26, causing a spectacle after shouting expletives at an audience member at the BNP Paribas Open semi-finals against 21-times grand slam champion Rafael Nadal.

This prompted a code violation and point penalty, concluding the first set. He then courted controversy at the end of the match when he smashed his racket on the ground, which rebounded and nearly struck a ball boy, triggering the crowd to boo him off the court.

Video: Kyrgios smashes his racket to the ground

Kyrgios later apologised, saying it was “never my intention” to put the ball boy in danger, before making contact with him on social media and offering to send him the racket.

Former Nottingham Open champion and Australian number one Alex de Minaur, 23, said “there’s a fine line and this is due to the years of the sport being perceived as an elite sport for gentlemen where this kind of behaviour isn’t tolerated or common.”

“When we lose the big three, it’s going to be hard to really engage the younger generation into the sport”

Alex De minaur

He added that “the constraint rules of the game have forced a lot of players to compete without much emotion. When you see someone get frustrated and get into a battle, that’s when spectators can really identify with that player.

“The sport could be looser with the rules and be more entertainment-oriented, as when we lose the big three, the greatest of all time, it’s going to be hard to really engage the younger generation into the sport.”

However, de Minaur addressed the influence Kyrgios can have on aspiring juniors and how it could benefit the sport.

Video: Alex de Minaur on how youngsters perceive Kyrgios

Nick Kyrgios became the only player on the ATP tour to be suspended twice for unsportsmanlike conduct. The first was in 2016 when he intentionally lacked effort during a match in the Shanghai Masters 1000.

The second time came in 2019 at the Southern Open in Cincinnati after committing eight offences during his match with Karen Khachanov. The offences included verbally abusing umpire Fergus Murphy and spat at the official which led to a 16-week suspension and a record fine of $113,000 (approximately £90,000).

Andy Higham is a representative for The Midlands Tennis Organisation, which works on developing junior tennis players throughout the region by delivering performance coaching.

Higham suggested that “a lot of tennis fans tune in to watch Nick Kyrgios. He’s an exciting figure, massively talented and you don’t know what you’re going to get.”

Audio: Andrew Higham on Nick Kyrgios attracting a different demographic

However, he added that “these players are role models to present the sport in the right way because you can see how these types of behaviour might come across badly when you see rackets being smashed or expletives being shouted, which we know does happen when Kyrgios plays.

“We want to protect the children who watch these matches, but coaches have the responsibility of correcting that type of behaviour as well.”