# good reads
The two sides of Nick Kyrgios, football during war and more of the week's best sportswriting
A selection of pieces that caught our eye this week.

1. Soon the heavens will open. While thunder and lightning compete for attention overhead his players will be sent out of their indoor dome and on to the grass pitch so they can perfect their off-the-ball shape. They are 40km from the Russian frontline; overnight there have been barrel bombings to the south, and these weather conditions are water off a footballer’s back.

“Of course I have some fears about starting the league now, any smart person would,” Vernydub says. “It’s probably the first time in history that a championship will be played during the middle of a war. But I’ve seen real shelling with my own eyes, so I’m less scared.”

In The Guardian, Nick Ames reports from Kryvyi Rih ahead of the start of the Ukrainian Premier League season.

2. For going on a decade now, Kyrgios has cleaved the Republic of Tennis, creating two sides, roughly equal in proportion, that may as well be divided by a net. He is either the box-office shotmaker, the candid and charismatic and compellingly volatile McEnroe-meets-Draymond bundle of unpredictability that will bring freshness and electricity, bring in the kids and bring change to a tradition-choked sport.

Or he is an unhinged narcissistic brat (or something still darker), who competes like a coward and respects nothing—not his opponents, not his sport, not his predecessors, and not least his own talents.

Or both.

It’s complicated.

For Sports Illustrated, Jon Wertheim examines the two sides of Nick Kyrgios. 

3. Marsch is certainly from a different background to the traditional Premier League coach and part of that difference is his education. At Princeton, Marsch gained a history degree, producing a 117-page thesis entitled Shaken, Not Stirred: An Evaluation of Earthquake Awareness in California.

He completed it during his first year as a professional footballer, for DC United in the fledgling MLS, having accepted a contract worth only $6,750 to chase his dream of a career in the game. In doing so he turned his back on a job in advertising with a $45,000 annual salary.

Yet, though different, Marsch is not unique. Today, Leeds face Chelsea whose manager, Thomas Tuchel, has a business degree and next weekend’s opponents are Brighton & Hove Albion, managed by Graham Potter, who has two degrees — one in social sciences, the other a masters in emotional intelligence.

Jonathan Northcroft looks at why degrees have become the must-have accessories for the modern breed of manager, for The Times.

4. Her favorite moment in the 400 hurdles comes between the seventh and eighth hurdles, when the top of the final curve gives way to the sight of the final straightaway. She “wakes up” there, 300 meters in, from her blindered focus on her stride pattern and takes stock of where she, and her challengers, stand. This month, as her 2022 season ended and a weight lifted after checking off her career’s two primary goals — Olympic and world championship gold medals — McLaughlin-Levrone finds herself in a similarly transitional phase.

And so she has begun taking stock of who and where she is and what lies ahead.

The Los Angeles Times’ Andrew Grief writes on one of the biggest stars in athletics, Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone.

hayward-field-eugene-oregon-usa-19th-july-2022-sydney-mclaughlin-usa-july-19-2022-athletics-iaaf-world-championships-oregon-2022-womens-400m-hurdles-heat-at-hayward-field-eugene-orego Alamy Stock Photo McLaughlin in action at the World Championships in Oregon. Alamy Stock Photo

5. When I was playing for Everton, I remember I used to make these long drives on the M62 from Sunderland to Liverpool. Just to set the scene for you, I had this legendary Peugeot 106 with alloy wheels, and the radio was broken, and I was always losing my MP3 player, so for the three hour drive I’d pass the time by interviewing myself. 

Not in my head. Out loud. I’d be both the interviewer and myself. I was just thinking, One day, this will come in handy….

“Jill, you got a big match coming up this weekend against Arsenal. How’s the team feeling?” 

“Yeah, well, obviously it’s a massive opportunity for us….”

Picture this all happening as I’m cruising down the M62 in my little Peugeot, but I’ve also got packets of Dairylea Lunchables and Yazoo milkshakes all over the back seat, because I’ve just stopped off for tea at the petrol station. 

Recently retired Euro 2022 winner Jill Scott reflects on a life in football and the growth of the women’s game, in her farewell letter on The Players’ Tribune.

6. Nolan helped them out of it in his role as selector/trainer which means that, over the last while, he’s been training horses in the morning and hurlers in the evening. Some life.

“Oh God, there’s none of them easy,” he says.

“I’d say, at the end of the day, as head-wrecking as both businesses can be, I’d nearly say that hurling can be more strenuous on the mind,” he adds with a laugh.

“It’s tough to watch the both of them – matches and races – when you’ve skin in the game. But it’s very, very enjoyable and I love being involved in the hurling. There’s nothing like being with your own patch.”

Horse trainer Paul Nolan tells SportsJOE’s Niall McIntyre about a sweet win for the Davidstown Courtnacuddy hurlers in the Wexford Junior Hurling championship.

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