‘Try to navigate the storm’: Tennis star Nick Kyrgios sends his support to fellow Aussie Ben Simmons as the All-Star’s struggles hit a new low after missing a lay-up in the Nets’ loss to Dallas that sinks them to 1-4
One of Australia’s biggest athletes of 2022 is throwing his support behind a fellow Aussie who has struggled this year.
Nick Kyrgios publicly stood behind Brooklyn Nets star Ben Simmons, as the latter’s struggles haven’t helped his team as they sit with a 1-4 record to start the season.
Kyrgios was at the opening of the latest NBA store in Sydney and praised Simmons for what he’s done for the country and the sport.
An avid basketball fan, Kyrgios believes Simmons can turn things around after his horrid performance in Thursday night’s loss to the Dallas Mavericks. An air-balled layup in the first quarter is just the most visible example of the point guard’s issues. On the season so far, Simmons is averaging only 5.6 points per game in over 31 average minutes of game time. Through four games, he averages a 2.4-5.4 shooting line.
Brooklyn Nets star Ben Simmons has had a rough and slow start to his 2023 NBA season
‘He’s had such success at the start of his career, he’s an NBA All-Star, not many players can say that,’ Kyrgios said at the opening.
‘With those accolades comes an enormous amount of responsibility and pressure, and I can only imagine what he’s going through.’
Kyrgios has had an up and down year of his own. After winning the doubles title with friend Thanasi Kokkinakis in the Australian Open, he fell in the Wimbledon men’s singles final to Novak Djokovic and then again in the quarterfinals of the US Open to Karen Khachanov.
All along the way, Kyrgios received scorn and criticism from those who disapproved of his charismatic and emotional way of playing tennis. That was exemplified after he lost his five-set thriller against Khachanov, where he was seen destroying his rackets on Arthur Ashe.
Nick Kyrgios – who had ups and downs this year – publicly supported his fellow Aussie athlete
‘I’ve experienced my fair share [of criticism] and it’s hard, the negativity is hard. I would say just keep going, just try to navigate through the storm, he’s a hell of a player,’ Kyrgios continued.
‘The media and people love to zone in on the weaknesses of people, and not really focus on the strengths. I’m behind him, I want to see him succeed, as I do all Australian athletes.’
Simmons notably demanded a trade out of Philadelphia last season, which led to his move to Brooklyn. Only a few games into his career with the Nets, he suffered an injury and missed the rest of the season. So far, Simmons has played at least 23 minutes a game in the first five contests of the Nets’ season – including three games with more than 30 minutes.
‘If you break it down, he’s a young man making enormous amounts of money as an NBA All-Star, living an amazing life, he’s working hard and he’s inspiring millions of people.
‘Think about what he’s done for the youth in Australia to play basketball, who say ‘I want to pick up the ball because of Ben Simmons’. That’s what I care about, I don’t care about what I read, I know he’s a great player and I know what he does off the court.’
Kyrgios praised Simmons and ‘what he’s done for the youth in Australia to play basketball’