Fatigue-Tanking in Tennis
Emotional or/and physical fatigue can be linked to tanking in tennis. Fatigue can be defined as extreme tiredness, typically resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness. Tanking is defined as losing a match on purpose; or to purposely lose a non-vital set, so as to focus energy and attention on a match deciding set.
With the recent Kyrgios match in our minds, where he was fined and may face suspension, fatigue is a factor that should be considered. While Kyrgios did not handle his match and spectator situation with diplomacy, he is young and growing every day in his ability to handle life situations that come at him. His learning curve is huge right now as he tries to figure out who and where he is in life. Should he have a coach. Should he continue to play tennis when he considers a career in another sport. However, in the present, he has made great strides in his upward mobility with regard to his ranking and success in recently winning a major tournament. To do all this requires a price to be paid on his part. Factored in is the fatigue-both emotional and physical he has gone through to reach this place. Given the huge effort he has made in training, playing, traveling, etc. it seems to have come to a head on the tennis court in this particular match. How he handled it was not gracious, or mature. However, perhaps he should be given a break on the suspension due to his inexperience in handling this. He has shown growth and learning in previous sanctions. Each one is bigger and draws more attention as he accelerates his own personal best.
Tanking is taken seriously at the professional (even the amateur) level. When the finances are added up at the end of a tournament it should show black, not red. Spectators pay to watch the professionals play. A knowledgeable crowd understands when a player is subjected to fatigue and are willing to put up with it as long as an effort is put out by the player, even though sub-standard. Kyrgios is fun to watch. He is talented, movement blessed, and makes it look easy at times. Because of his upward movement in ranking and the visibility that comes with it, Kyrgios is held to a higher standard. Perhaps fatigue entered at the wrong moment and he didn’t handle it in the right way. I would suggest putting him on notice, as they did before, and on further occurrence, follow through with a suspension. I hope this isn’t the case as I enjoy watching him as a player and a person who is growing up through tennis.
Tanking is not in ‘good taste’ in tennis. However, circumstances vary and each case should be considered in light of a players record, experience and personality. We all learn through life experiences. In my day character growth was, and I hope is, to be desired. As long as a player makes mistakes along the way and recovers in a way that is positively perceived as character growth, I say, let’s cut him a break and give him a chance to show us he has learned a life lesson. What are your thoughts on the subject?