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“Kyrgios: no excuse for self-entitled behaviour”
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“Kyrgios: no excuse for self-entitled behaviour”

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Hsin-Yi Lo picThe behaviour of a tennis bad boy holds lessons for youth, wrties Hsin-Yi Lo, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Melbourne, Australia, who reflects on the benefits that have been showered on the millennial generation, and the reputation it has earned.

Australia’s tennis bad boy Nick Kyrgios was slapped with a $32,000 fine and an eight week ban for tanking out in the Shanghai Rolex Masters tournament.

The young gun’s unruly behaviour has captured both disgust and admiration. Moderate Kyrgios supporters say he’s still young and trying to find himself. But Kyrgios is the epitome of today’s millennials, whose self-entitled attitude is giving them the delusional idea that one doesn’t need to work hard to achieve.

Fans have commended Kyrgios as the next leading Australian tennis player after Lleyton Hewitt. The 21-year-old has already earned $3.5 million in career prize money and three tennis championships. Yet his early career has already been tarnished with his awful on-court antics and unprofessional attitude.

In 2015 he was accused of giving up on a match in Wimbledon when he was losing to French player Richard Gasquet. Not long after this incident, Kyrgios made vulgar insults to Swiss player Stanislas Wawrinka. He’s also known to quarrel with umpires  and he even had a prickly Twitter row with fellow Australian Bernard Tomic, who attacked Kyrgios for faking illness to evade the Davis Cup tournament.

Is Kyrgios annoying, funny or just trying to get attention? Some have praised him for his bluntness and not caring about what others think. But in whatever way we see him, Kyrgios’ attitude is stopping him from achieving a potentially successful tennis career.

The millennials are criticised as surly, unruly, spoilt and arrogant. Our generation is educated, well-traveled and we don’t like to stay in one job for too long because we enjoy the thrill of trying something new. Our generation is also blessed with many privileges, such as the generous supply of toys we got when we were kids, new technology, and a good head start in life with many doors opened to us.

At the same time, we’re pretty narcissistic. Social media like Facebook and Instagram are our licenses to paint a picture of our lush and rose-tinted life. We want audiences to shower us with praises for our life and career progression – and even trivial matters like what we had for lunch. Or, we’re just fishing for comfort when we’re not having a good day.

We think we deserve everything because we were raised to believe we’re exceptional and unique compared to everyone else. As writer Tim Urban aptly puts it, many Generation Ys think they’re “the main character of a very special story”. Gen Ys expect to rise above the ranks with just one easy step. Kyrgios’ mindset towards his professional career is a good illustration of Mr. Urban’s point. He lacks grit to fight back when he’s losing a game, and claims he will quit tennis at 27 to make an effortless transition to the NBA league.

When we’re young, we do make bad judgments. Mistakes happen, but the important thing is we learn from them and we try to become a better person. Part of being young is also finding your place, trialing the challenges of life and building up a solid foundation for our aspirations.

I can empathise with Kyrgios’ situation because he deals with the stress of being famous. However, the young gun’s youthful exuberance is no excuse for thoughtless conceit. Other millennial tennis players like Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have cemented themselves as among tennis history’s most outstanding athletes. Nadal and Djokovic managed to reach their pinnacle because they’re willing to sacrifice and work hard. To top it off, their humility allows them to constantly improve themselves.

We need to stop thinking the world owes us something. Vanity and self-importance are bad habits that prevent us from strengthening our character and endurance for life’s many obstacles.

Reach me on Twitter @hsinyilo

Photo credit: zachho 2014 Shanghai Rolex Masters Final Day via photopin (license)
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About me: I am a Multimedia Journalism Masters student at the University of Kent, UK. I am originally from Melbourne, Australia. I aspire to be a journalist because I enjoy story-telling and sharing knowledge and ideas. My interests are reading non-fiction, listening to music, sports, and travel.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/
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