Tennis star Nick Kyrgios has raised a tennis storm with his jibe at Swiss Grand Slam champion Stanislas Wawrinka. Kyrgios muttered to Wawrinka on-court on Wednesday that "(Thanasi) Kokkinakis banged your girlfriend. Sorry to tell you that mate," midway through the pair’s second-round Rogers Cup match in Montreal. Though he has been fined, there is still plenty to be said on the matter and this might really be a catalyst of how we look at the sledging issue on the whole.
Sledging has always been part of sport, but it is time players know where to draw the line. Dragging women and family into it is despicable, the lowest of the low, so to speak. It suggests that even the best players in the world, those superstars that command so much adulation and fan following, especially from impressionable youngsters, have a caveman-like mentality. To insult a player’s mother, sister, wife, girlfriend or daughter is to get an immediate reaction from the player — it is the ultimate form of ‘needling’.
In 2003, during a cricket Test between Australia and W Indies, R Sarwan and Glenn McGrath got into a sledging match, with McGrath first asking Sarwan what Brian Lara’s d*** tasted like. "I don’t know, ask your wife," Sarwan had replied. The exchange had raised a storm in the cricket world and, even by the ugly Aussie standards, it hit a new low on the sledging meter.
French football great, Zinedine Zidane, headbutted Italian player Marco Materazzi in the final, being red carded out of the tournament. Materazzi had sledged Zizou, insulting his sister, which resulted in the head butt by the French star.
Players need to keep women out of their insults. You do not hear women players dragging men into sledging exchanges. It plays on the concept of a woman being a possession of a man, and somehow degrading her is the ultimate insult or shame.
We do not live in prehistoric times and these players are well-travelled ambassadors for their game and their country. To use women as the ultimate barb and weave them into their abuse is sexist, misogynist and plainly, simply not on. Cut the crap, guys.