One to watch: Nick Kyrgios
Name: Nick Kyrgios
Similar playing style to: There is nobody like Nick Kyrgios
Whether you love him or hate him, Kygrios is undoubtedly an outstanding young talent. He obviously has his quirks, his troubles and basketball to play, but how good could this man be with some guidance? It’s crazy to thing about. I could write for ever and ever about him, but let’s just focus on his tennis.
It seems as though Kyrgios has been around for a long, long time, but I think that’s down to the amount of controversy that has surrounded him. It was early in 2014 when I remember watching him in the final of Savannah Challenger against Jack Sock. He only edged a close match to win his 2nd career title, but he just had that aura and class about him, which from a teenager is very rare.
Onto Wimbledon 2014. Kyrgios came from two sets down to beat Richard Gasquet, saving 9 match points along the way, and I remember thinking ‘wow this kid can play and he wants it’. He then went on to beat Jiri Vesely to set up a 4th round clash against Rafael Nadal. Of course he beat him. The shot of the match was Kyrgios’ forehand, half-volley winner from between his legs that David Polkinghorne of The Canberra Timesdescribed as “freakish” and “audacious”. If he does it now, it’s just the norm. He lost his quarter-final to Milos Raonic, and although Novak Djokovic (2014 Wimbledon champion) was sensational for the two weeks, the talk of the tournament was Kyrgios. Who is this kid? He’s 19 year-old, reaching the quarter final of Wimbledon while playing trick shots against Rafael Nadal. He was more than exciting.
Kyrgios made it to the 3rd round of the US Open, then decided to skip the rest of the season, citing burnout as his reason. He ended the year ranked 52nd in the world, and the no. 2 ranked Australian behind Lleyton Hewitt. His 2015 season started at the Australian Open where he became the first teenage male to reach two Grand Slam quarter-finals since Federer in 2001, this was after another five set thriller against Andreas Seppi in the 4th round. Kyrgios lost his quarter-final in straight sets to Andy Murray, but again he was making a name for himself and rapidly rising up the rankings.
Back to his scene of stardom. Wimbledon. This is first time Kyrgios showed his bad attitude, to which the public or press didn’t respond well to. Despite beating world number seven Milos Raonic in round three, his tournament was marred by incidents involving: giving up against Gasquet, threatening to stop playing following an incorrect line call, bad language and smashing his racquet which bounced into spectators. I felt sorry for himself more than anybody, for someone who has watched Kyrgios a lot I know how special he could be. To see this crazy talent go to waste because of a bad attitude would be a real shame for the sport.
Kyrgios won the 2016 Tokyo title, his biggest title win to date, after beating David Goffin in the final. He was disappointing in grand slams this year, and I put that down to sheer lack of application. The real top players train and prepare months in advance for these tournaments, where as I’m not sure Kyrgios applies himself as well. It isn’t down to lack of talent for his poor form, definitely not. On his day Kyrgios could beat anyone in the world, he’s that good. His mind, concentration and passion is his downfall right now. Whether he needs a coach to try and nurture him, or he thinks he will mature in time will remain to be seen. But whatever happens, I hope Kyrgios finds the solution to his problems because he could be one of the tennis greats.