London - Tennis Australia official Todd Woodbridge on Tuesday said it
was beyond the body’s scope to influence young stars after their teenage years.
Woodbridge, who was running a development program that Nick Kyrgios went through, said the governing body was limited in its options when
it came to responding to players’ misdemeanours.
"I've done media courses with Nick when he was a
teenager, I've done all sorts of things to be able to put those [coping]
mechanisms in place," Woodbridge told the Sydney Morning Herald.
"The funding comes in the junior years when we send
them off on world tours - we don't fund him now," Woodbridge said.
Woodbridge said that management groups kept players out of
Tennis Australia's reach.
"What you'll find in our sport that is interesting is
that when we have good athletes, we are able to influence them up until around
16, 17, 18" years of age, he said.
"By then if they are touted as world class, like Nick
was, then there are management groups that come in. They put a wedge between
what an organisation can do and become intent with families and all types of
issues like that that we can't control because they [the players] are, in
essence, an independent contractor who runs their own business once they are
fully fledged to hit the tour.”
"That's where it gets frustrating for someone like
myself because we know what's in place and we try and give as much good advice
as we can and we continue to try to do that but you do get tied,” he said.
"We are not a footy club who has an ability to be able to sanction in the
way that some people would like us to."
Woodbridge said that the ATP had no choice but to suspend
Kyrgios for failing to compete during a match at the Shanghai Masters, but
described the sanction as an "essential lifeline" for the
The ban will be reduced to three weeks if Kyrgios seeks help
from a professional psychologist for behavioural issues.
"I think it's probably good to put the rackets up and
go do some work on what they've put forward to him," Woodbridge said.
"So they've given him a bit of a lifeline, really, but it's an essential
lifeline that I think is important for Nick to improve.”
"He's got this part of his game that he has to learn
how to deal with,” Woodbridge said. “It's not just his game, mind you, it's
about his health as well so that the stresses that he puts on himself can allow
him to just be a happy, young lad."
Woodbridge said that Kyrgios hates the way he behaved.
"It comes down to dealing with the expectations of the
tour, what the media expects of you, what the fans expect of you and also what
he expects of himself and how he manages that," Woodbridge said. "If
he puts all that together - it's a pretty big basket, mind you - he can improve
for next year.”
"If you give him some time and he starts to get some
performances he can do some really good things that'll be great to watch,” he
said. "He can ultimately become a role model potentially like an [Andre]
Agassi. Agassi had his troubles in his career ... but he didn't get past them
until he was closer to 30, not closer to 20."