OF all the hundreds, perhaps even thousands of hours of tennis I’ve watched over the years, one of my abiding memories has little to do with anything that happened between the white lines. 

22 years ago, Goran Ivanisevic, so frustrated with the way he was playing, smashed one racket after another at the side of the court.  

The result? He obliterated every one of his rackets in his bag, leaving him with nothing to play with and so he was forced to default the match. 

I’m not the only one who, more than two decades on, still remembers that incident involving the Croat. 

Was it good for tennis? That’s debatable, but it’s an episode that came to mind this Wimbledon fortnight, when Nick Kyrgios has been treated like some kind of mobster, thug and hoodlum following his antics over the past two weeks. 

Kyrgios’ behaviour is far from perfect, of that we’re all well aware. 

This Wimbledon fortnight has showcased some of his “greatest hits” of bad behaviour including dissent towards umpires, attempted intimidation and antagonisation of his opponents and blatant disregard and disrespect for some of the traditions of his sport. 

For some, this has caused something resembling a breakdown. 

There have been calls for his exclusion from the tournament and from some quarters, for even harsher punishment like suspension from the sport. 

Clearly, Kyrgios is not a model professional.  

He is just as interested, if not even more so, in creating a circus around him than he is in the actual tennis he is playing. 

As he said himself just a few days ago, “any publicity is good publicity, right?”  

There are many tennis traditionalists who vehemently disagree; certainly those who lost their minds about him wearing red trainers and a red baseball cap in the all-white environment that is the All England Club do not think this brat is good for the sport. 

But since when did sport have to be a squeaky clean, unemotional vacuum?  

Firstly, it’s completely unrealistic to expect athletes to keep their emotions entirely under control. 

A burst of frustration or anger in the heat of battle is not only likely now and again, in many cases it’s inevitable. 

Why is that a bad thing? 

And secondly, this sanitised, pally-pally version of sport that is so often promoted is, of course, heartwarming at times. But it can also become somewhat boring. 

Kyrgios, for good or for bad, is box office. It is almost impossible to take your eyes off him when he’s on court, particularly when he’s in the midst of one of his outbursts. 

That he drove his third round opponent, Stefanos Tsitsipas, to the point of no longer trying to win the point but rather focusing his energy on trying to leather the ball at Kyrgios was utterly engrossing. 

Those who didn’t find that match compelling viewing are surely in the minority. 

There has been more talk about Kyrgios this fortnight, and that will only increase if he wins the final today, than there has been about tennis all year. 

Despite the reasons for the attention he attracts, it’s hard to argue that watching Kyrgios isn’t entertaining. 

Yes, he crosses the line at times.  

Yes, he behaves in a way you could never imagine Rafa Nadal or Roger Federer behaving.  

And yes, he often ventures into spoiled brat territory. 

But since when did athletes have to be the epitome of perfect behaviour at all times?  

When Kyrgios takes to the court today, there will be people watching who have scarcely watched a tennis match in their life before. 

Will he come out with his outrageous antics in the Wimbledon final? It remains to be seen. 

But I know I’m as excited to watch this match as I’ve been to watch any tennis match for years. 

And that can’t be a bad thing. 

And Another Thing

There is a sense of sadness that Scotland are not involved in the Women’s European Football Championships, which began a few days ago. 

The profile of women’s football in Scotland will suffer dreadfully from the missed opportunity of not being involved in what will be one of the biggest sporting events of the summer. 

Scotland would have benefited considerably from the increased attention that inevitably comes with a major tournament being on British soil. 

Having qualified for both Euro 2017 and the 2019 World Cup, it seemed a pattern was emerging that suggested Scotland’s women were going to become regulars at major championships. 

This could, of course, still become a reality but not being a part of Euro 2022 is a missed chance for a sport that has transformed in terms of profile and recognition in recent years. 

Scotland’s absence from Euro 2022 will not necessarily damage women’s football in this country but it does represent a missed opportunity to move the sport onto the next level, something women’s football in this country can scarcely afford to pass up. 

Scotland’s qualification campaign for the 2023 World Cup is going well – they currently sit second in their group behind Spain – and if the women’s side are to restart the momentum they created by qualifying for two consecutive major tournaments, they must ensure they are in Australia and New Zealand next summer. 

If anything, watching Euro 2022 from home should, and almost certainly will, ensure they are even more fired-up to get to next summer’s World Cup.  

There’s nothing quite like fighting it out in a major championship to bring attention to the sport and Scotland’s women cannot afford to miss too many more of these opportunities.