Melbourne, Sep 3 (IANS) Legendary leg-spinner Shane Warne has advised fellow Australian Nick Kyrgios to avoid controversies on the tennis court and fulfil his potential by starting to win on a regular basis.
Kyrgios has been at the centre of a string of controversies in his short career, the latest being a jibe at Swiss star Stan Wawrinka at the Montreal Open a couple of weeks ago.
“(Thanasi) Kokkinakis banged your girlfriend. Sorry to tell you that, mate,” Kyrgios had told Wawrinka.
It earned the 20-year-old a suspended 28-day ban and a fine of $25,000 by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), to be imposed should he transgress again.
“We all realise you’re only 20 and have a lot to learn buddy. But please don’t waste your talent, everyone in the world, especially us Australians want to respect you,” Warne wrote on his Facebook page on Thursday.
Kyrgios’s comment was widely criticised in the tennis world, with 17-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer, the legendary John McEnroe and many others slamming the young Australian.
Warne urged the youngster to learn from his mistakes and try to modify his behaviour in the future.
“Remember respect is way more important than being liked, you need to respect the game of tennis and yourself. We all make mistakes, but it’s how we learn from them and the way we conduct ourselves when we lose that shows true character,” the retired spin wizard said.
Warne — who is no stranger to controversy either, having made headlines for reasons other than cricket throughout his career — believes it’s time for Kyrgios to keep excuses aside and start winning matches.
“You’re (Kyrgios) testing our patience mate, show us what you’re made of and how hungry you are to be the best in the world, it’s time to step up and start winning, no excuses,” the 45-year-old said.
“No shame in losing, but show us you will never give up, that you will give it everything to be the best you can be, respect is earned not given! I believe in you and know you can do it, but now’s the time my friend,” Warne added.