Australian tennis legend Pat Cash has come out in support of fellow countryman Nick Kyrgios, who he believes has the potential to be a future Grand Slam champion but could also be lost if he fails to get the support that he needs.
The 21-year-old was recently handed an eight-week suspension and a fine of $25,000 (£20,522) by the ATP tennis authorities for his behaviour in last week's Shanghai Masters. The superstar was accused of deliberately under-performing in a match against qualifier Mischa Zverev in a game he ultimately lost.
The ban could be reduced to three weeks if Kyrgios agrees to visit a sports psychologist, which according to the Australia tennis association he is committed to attend. However, Cash is keeping his fingers crossed as the maverick star might quit the sport altogether after this incident.
"I wouldn't be surprised if he quit but hopefully that's not the case. Anybody's got the opportunity to walk away but if it's not good for his health then I think he should do that. But with some good things in place for his health and well-being and a revised schedule, he can go there and enjoy his tennis, which is what we want to see", Cash said, as quoted by Reuters. (via Hindustan Times)
Kyrgios who is currently ranked 14 in the men's ATP tennis rankings, has admitted in the past that he had no love for the sport and reiterated his desire to retire from the game by the age of 27 to pursue other interests.
The 51-year-old Cash, who won one Grand Slam title during his career, believes that the Australian prodigy is next in line for Grand Slam glory once current superstars Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic decide to say farewell to the sport.
"And who is standing up there? Well, Nick's the obvious one. You tend to see after a great year, a bit of lull, and then he's got a great opportunity to grab a couple of Grand Slam titles and really be a success."