Sport

Coach? Pat says Nick off

by
January 20, 2017

Pat Cash the 1987 Wimbledon Champion, has ruled himself out of coaching Australian firebrand Nick Kyrgios.

Nick Kyrgios.

Pat Cash almost coached the volatile Nick Kyrgios, but says he has ‘‘too much self-respect’’ to go anywhere near his players’ box now.

The Wimbledon champion and two-time Australian Open finalist says every player yells at their coach in frustration, but he would not be able to tolerate the abuse the young firebrand directs towards his support team.

It is only a few years since discussions between Cash and Kyrgios, 21, broke down over money, but it seems no amount will get Cash over the line now.

‘‘Why would I want to get involved in a job like that?’’ Cash said yesterday.

‘‘I wouldn’t last one minute.

‘‘Same thing with Lleyton Hewitt, Bernie Tomic or Andy Murray — if they started screaming at me and abusing me up in the box, I’d pack it up and walk out.’’

Cash, a former world No.4, said he had sympathy for Kyrgios, who confessed on Wednesday night it was time for him to get a coach.

The 14th seed crashed out of the Australian Open in spectacular fashion after blowing a two-set advantage against Italian Andreas Seppi.

Cash said the ‘‘immensly talented’’ Kyrgios needed to put in the hard yards every single day to ensure he could match it with the best when it really mattered.

‘‘I’ve seen players go before with loads and loads of talent and just didn’t have the mental application,’’ Cash said.

‘‘It’s what makes tennis so tough.’’

Kyrgios broke into the top 15 for the first time last year after making the third round of each grand slam and winning three ATP titles.

His season ended in shame after the Australian was banned for a disastrous on-court meltdown at the Shanghai Masters.

WHO IS IN THE FRAME TO COACH NICK KYRGIOS?

LLEYTON HEWITT: The seemingly obvious answer, but securing the Davis Cup captain is a long shot. The former world No.1 is fiercely committed to his broader role nurturing a host of Australia’s rising young stars and is unlikely to give that up. But there is no doubting Hewitt would be useful. He already mentors Kyrgios and often accommodates the temperamental talent for training blocks in the Bahamas. There are few people in the sport who Kyrgios respects more.

DARREN CAHILL: Another possible perfect fit if Team Kyrgios could pull off such a coup. The sought-after South Australian is lauded as one of the finest thinkers in the game. He helped Hewitt become the sport’s youngest year-end world No.1 and then Andre Agassi the oldest. Now coaches women’s world No.4 Simona Halep.

PAT RAFTER: Tennis Australia’s former head of performance has extended an olive branch to Kyrgios. Their relationship soured after the two-time grand slam champion stood down as Davis Cup captain in 2015. A huge believer in old-fashioned work ethic, Rafter would be handy but, like Hewitt, is unlikely to be available.

TONY ROCHE: A left-field prospect, but just as Kyrgios idolises Hewitt, Roche is Hewitt’s most trusted ally. The former Davis Cup coach has one of the most impressive CVs in tennis, having been in the corner of Ivan Lendl, Pat Rafter and Roger Federer for more than a dozen of their grand slam triumphs. Even at 71, remains heavily involved in the game, actively developing Australia’s young up-and-comers.

ROGER RASHEED: The former mentor of Hewitt and fellow top-10 stars Gael Monfils, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Grigor Dimitrov has already put his hand up, saying: ‘‘Who wouldn’t?’’ Kyrgios, though, is unlikely to turn to the respected conditioner and commentator after engaging in a Twitter spat with Rasheed after the coach questioned his physical state following his third-round retirement at last year’s US Open.

PAT CASH: Who wouldn’t? Pat Cash wouldn’t, with the former Wimbledon champion and two-time Australian Open finalist among the first potential contenders to rule himself out yesterday. Cash worked with Kyrgios as a junior and knows first-hand his capabilities, but says he has ‘‘too much self respect’’ to tolerate the young firebrand’s infamous on-court antics, chiefly the abuse he directs towards his players’ box.

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS: The two-time grand slam finalist and Davis Cup hero empathises with Kyrgios and can relate to the 21-year-old’s early-career struggles and believes he could help, but only if his prospective charge was prepared to listen. Philippoussis, though, was never known for his appetite for training and any partnership would appear most unlikely.

WALLY MASUR: Another former Davis Cup captain and coach who, crucially, has the respect of Kyrgios. His commentary commitments may pose a problem, but there is no doubting Masur’s tennis smarts, diplomacy and affable personality would assist the combustible Canberran.

POSSIBLE INTERNATIONAL OPTIONS/TARGETS: Boris Becker, Jimmy Connors, Andy Roddick, Stefan Edberg, John McEnroe, Brad Gilbert.

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