Coco Gauff explains why she ‘can never dislike’ Nick Kyrgios and why she will ‘always root for him’
Coco Gauff doesn’t always agree with some of the things that Nick Kyrgios does on the court, but the American says she will “always root for him” as “overall he is a nice person”.
According to Gauff, Kyrgios is often painted as the villain even though the 27-year-old has not always helped his own cause as he is often the centre of controversy, arguing with officials, fans, fellow players, all comers.
He has also not been afraid to take digs at fellow players or take on the authorities, often leading to negative headlines.
The 18-year-old Gauff, though, has a lot of respect for Kyrgios as she highlighted why she believes he is a good person.
“I know there’s things on the court that he does that people don’t agree with,” she said. “I probably don’t agree with some things.
“Overall I think he’s a nice person. At least he’s always been to me. I remember I first hit with him, he probably doesn’t remember this, I was 13 years old at Miami Open. He finished his practice, hit with me for, like, 30 minutes.
“It’s just things like that that stands out for me. That’s why I feel like I can never dislike him.”
And that was not the only time that Kyrgios took time out to practice with her as the year after their initial meeting in Miami, the Australian once again had a practice session with her.
“Again, when I was 14 at Miami Open again, he finished a two-hour practice,” she said. “I think with Frances Tiafoe. I remember saying,
“There’s no way he’s going to want to hit with me.’ He just ground it out for two hours. He actually stayed and hit with me for an hour again.
“It’s just moments like that that people don’t really see about him. So I think people paint him as a bad guy. I feel around the grounds, at least my experience of him, he’s not.
“I think in the end it helped me in the long run as a player hitting with him. He told me good things about my game. At that time I’m like, ‘Nick Kyrgios thinks I’m a good player.’ You start to believe that and gain confidence in that.”
Kyrgios has been one of the form players on the ATP Tour the past few months, finishing runner-up to Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon and winning the Citi Open.
He also reached the quarter-final of the Canadian Open – beating world No 1 Daniil Medvedev early on – and many feel he is one of the favourites to win the US Open.
“If he keeps it up, I think he can go far,” Gauff said. “He can win the tournament. We all know he has the ability to. He was close at Wimbledon.
“I always, always root for him, no matter who he’s playing, to be honest.”
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