By Aaron Stromberg
SYDNEY - Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios has hired Chernabog, the winged night-demon of Bald Mountain, as his new coach.
"These last few years have comprised an incredibly productive relationship," said Kyrgios, who was previously self-coached. "It will be hard to see me go. But in order to grow, we must embrace change, and I think the cartoon demon Chernabog represents the next logical step in my career.”
Chernabog, known mostly for his role as the mountain-sized demon who summons skeletons to spin madly to his insane music in Disney’s 1940 Fantasia, has no previous tennis coaching experience. It is widely believed, however, that he served in an unofficial capacity with Mike Tyson during the ‘96-’97 years.
Tyson, who was contacted for this article, refused to comment on this history but did challenge us to a fight we reciprocally refused.
When asked what he hoped to learn from Chernabog, world No. 132 laughed. "He's badass, man. The guy’s completely insane. Did you know he makes the minions he summons sacrifice themselves for no reason? That’s madness. I need that in my game."
But why the change now? According to Kyrgios, Walpurgis Night, the night on which Chernabog transforms from the literal peak of Bald Mountain to begin his wicked night of summoning and dancing, is approaching.
“April 31st, mate. Exactly 6 months after Halloween,” said Nick who has a lightning bolt shaved into his fade. “666. Do you see what I’m saying?”
Despite the fortunate timing, many in the tennis community have described the relationship as “inexplicable."
"[Ron] Artest is available, [Connor] McGregor’s bouncing around — there are all sorts of batshit crazy people who were also pretty good sportsmen,” said Tennis Australia team captain Lleyton Hewitt. “Heck, one of the Monstars could teach him how to suck Nadal’s power with a booby-trapped racket. I’m just spit balling.”
Others in the tennis world, however, have speculated on the possibility of a Kyrgios-Chernabog relationship for years.
The two were first linked in 2020 when the god of darkness commented “GOAT” repeatedly on the Australian’s Twitch stream and again in 2021 when Kyrgios posted his new coach’s single “Spin, Freaks, Spin (ft. Gwar)” to his Instagram story along with the huffing emoji, indicating that Chernabog’s song goes hard.
Still, the coaching position was never guaranteed.
Kyrgios’ brand of bad-boy energy is mainly tantrums, childish gestures, and not trying so he can’t be accused of sucking while Chernabog’s diabolical evil is grave and torture-heavy.
But at 26, maybe that’s just what this struggling tennis star needs: a fresh perspective on something completely unrelated to tennis.
EDIT: An earlier version of this article referred to Mr. Kyrgios as a “tennis douchebag”. This term has been removed to avoid confusion with Novak Djokovic.