Rod Laver believes Wimbledon final has changed Nick Kyrgios
Australian tennis icon Rod Laver believes that this season’s Wimbledon run will be a turning point in the career of Nick Kyrgios.
Laver feels that Kyrgios has all the tools to be a top player who challenges for Grand Slam titles.
The last man to win a calendar Slam opined that a lack of self-belief hampered Kyrgios in the championship match against Novak Djokovic.
“Kyrgios has all the ability in the world, every shot that you could wish to make.
“He’s probably one of the biggest servers in the game. He’s accurate, he can play under pressure.
“I was thrilled that he reached the final, but he didn’t think he could win Wimbledon.
“In my mind, I said, ‘Hey, put in your best performance. You may surprise yourself’. A month or two later, I said: ‘You can win some of these matches. Why don’t you apply yourself, man?’
“It hit home for him, I think. He realised, ‘s***, I am good enough, I can do this’. That was the greatest thing that happened to him.
“Unfortunately, he said that he wanted to go back to Australia and not play in the Laver Cup.
“But he knows that he can play and compete now. Don’t walk on the court thinking: ‘If I get three games, that’s enough.’
“Now he’s thinking: ‘Next year? Wimbledon? You’re going to see a different player.’”
Kyrgios made a promising start to the North American swing and claimed his first title in three years in Washington and despite injury struggles and an admitted desire to be elsewhere during the build-up to the US Open.
He downed then World No 1, Daniil Medvedev, during his US Open run and the Russian certainly seemed to believe that Kyrgios was a different player.
“It was a high-level match,” Medvedev said. “(Kyrgios) played (like) Novak, Rafa. They all play amazing. Nick today played kind of their level, in my opinion. He has a little bit different game because he’s not like a grinder in a way.
“At the same time he can rally. He’s tough to play. He has an amazing serve. But from baseline it’s not like when the point starts, you know that you have the advantage. He plays good. He has every shot.”
Kyrgios hasn’t dialled back his outbursts but his game has become more consistent and he is expected to mount a serious challenge at the hard court Slams and Wimbledon in 2023.
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