Agassi cautions against excessive Kyrgios criticism

By Tom Webber 22 January 2017
Agassi cautions against excessive Kyrgios criticism

Andre Agassi admits Nick Kyrgios can often be frustrating on the tennis court but warned against excessive criticism of the controversial Australian.

Kyrgios' questionable attitude was once again in the spotlight after he smashed a racket against the ground ahead of blowing a two-set lead in the second round of the Australian Open on Wednesday.

The 21-year-old recently returned from an ATP Tour ban after giving up on a match against Mischa Zverev last year and has been seeing a sports psychologist since.

Eight-time major winner Agassi often courted controversy during his career and believes there is still time for Kyrgios to turn things around.

"I would sort of caution everybody not to represent Kyrgios as if he should be loathed," Agassi said during a media conference at the Australian Open. "Separate the act from the person.

"We obviously know his talent and his high-end ability. I think it's as much talent as you'll ever see on a tennis court.

"With that being said, we also have heard directly from him that, you know, in many ways he hasn't been a fan of the game. Personally he has struggled with his desire, with his love for the game.

"I'm actually uplifted by his willingness to admit it, because for me, it took me a long time to understand my particular feelings for many years and I certainly didn't feel the need to communicate it as I was going through it.

"Because he feels the way he does, it's a very good thing that he's young, because he will have time to hopefully work through it.

"I certainly went through many years where I was considered one of the great, you know, underachievers.

"I do share your feelings that in watching him, it feels, at first glance, very offensive to see so much talent, to see somebody in the sport that means a great deal to so many, sort of disregarded.

"But with that being said, you know, the journey I lived has taught me a lot about how deep one's struggles can be and how much good can still exist at the same time."

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Tom Webber

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