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Like a Volcano from a bygone era, wayward Kyrgios continues to erupt

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When I see Nick Kyrgios doing his nana yet again, my mind goes back to one of my favourite tennis players of the golden age. His name was Fritz Buehning, colloquially known as The Volcano.

This was at a time when tennis was more consciously a three-cornered marriage of sport, theatre and One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. Jimmy Connors took behaviour to unheard-of lows, before John McEnroe took it even lower. Ilie Nastase took it to places of his own curious invention.

Illustration: Simon LetchCredit:

Kyrgios’s tantrums, like much else, seem like pale imitations of that great unhinged time, and he doesn’t have and never will have the influence of those great players. He is more of a curiosity at this stage of his career, which takes us to The Volcano.

The Volcano was one of the great unfulfilled talents of the Paleogene period. He played McEnroe throughout their youth and rose to world No.21, winning the New South Wales Open and overcoming such storied names as Brian Teacher, Chip Hooper, Johan Kriek and Kim Warwick.

At 195cm and close to 100 kilos, Buehning was likened to a bear. His father Peter was a champion gymnast for West Germany and his mother Renata represented the USA at handball. His brothers Peter and Jim both represented the USA in handball at the Olympics. But Fritz was the family’s star.

His Achilles heel turned out to be his Achilles heel, but before that, it was his temper. Even as a champion 14-year-old, Buehning was up for a fight. In one junior match against notorious hothead Brad Gilbert (later coach of Andre Agassi and Andy Murray), self-umpired by the players, Buehning caught a serve that had landed in the middle of the box and called it out.

Nick Kyrgios is inching closer to a potentially great career finishing grossly unfulfilled.Credit:AP

When Gilbert protested, Buehning........

© Brisbane Times