John McEnroe on Nick Kyrgios’ ‘beautiful’ transformation: ‘Better late than never’

John McEnroe and Nick Kyrgios do a post-match interview

John McEnroe has showered praise on Nick Kyrgios, who appears to finally be living up to his potential, and the tennis great feels the Australian will be favourite to reach the US Open final should he get past Daniil Medvedev.

Kyrgios is enjoying probably the best season of his career as he started the year with his maiden Grand Slam doubles title, winning the Australian Open alongside Thanasi Kokkinakis.

After skipping the clay-court season, he reached the semi-finals in Houston, Stuttgart and Halle in the build-up to Wimbledon. He then enjoyed his best run at a Grand Slam at the All England Club as he finished runner-up to Novak Djokovic.

Although he took some time off after Wimbledon, he regularly posted fitness updates as he looked to stay in shape for the North American hard-court season and it has paid off as he won the Citi Open singles and doubles titles, reached the quarter-final of the Canadian Open and is now considered one of the favourites to win the US Open.

McEnroe described Kyrgios’ transformation is like “day and night”.

“I along with the rest of the tennis world have been begging this guy for years,” said seven-time Grand Slam champion McEnroe on Eurosport.

“If you go out and do your thing and compete and get yourself in shape and focus on your capabilities, it’s going to be unbelievable for you and it’s going to be unbelievable for tennis. He moves the needle in a way that very few players do.

“There’s so many people that have come up to me in the last couple of months saying: ‘I love Kyrgios. I don’t care what he does on the court! I want him to win.’ Every time I see Nick I’m always like, ‘Did I do that?’

“But it is a classic better late than never, because you’re thinking almost every player on the tour does that don’t they? ‘I get to sleep, I train harder, I watch what I eat, I’m committed’. That’s what it takes, but look at what’s happening now. This guy has been playing incredible, most of this year actually.

“When I saw him three months ago after the clay season, I was like: ‘Wait a second. What has this guy been doing? Because this is night and day. This is beautiful’.”

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Kyrgios, though, will face a formidable opponent in the fourth round of the season-ending hard-court Grand Slam on Sunday as he takes on defending champion and world No 1 Medvedev.

The Australian leads their head-to-head 3-1 while he also won their most recent encounter – a three-set win at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.

McEnroe added: “That match is going to be incredible – him and Medvedev. The winner of that to me is in the finals, for sure. I’d be surprised if they lose [from there], either one of them.”