Novak Djokovic would prefer to see Nick Kyrgios ‘later in the draw’

Shahida Jacobs
Nick Kyrgios antics
Nick Kyrgios antics during a match

Nick Kyrgios has had a troubled 2023 campaign so far and it will be a tough ask for him to do well at Wimbledon, although Australian tennis legend Todd Woodbridge admits he will still bring a “fear factor” to the tournament.

Last year Kyrgios headed to Wimbledon high on confidence as he won seven matches on grass in the build-up to the tournament and it paid off as he finished runner-up to Novak Djokovic at the All England Club.

However, this year he will kick off his grass-court Grand Slam having played just one match during the entire 2023 campaign – and that was a straight-set defeat at the Stuttgart Open more than two weeks ago.

Kyrgios will face veteran David Goffin the first round at SW19 on Monday and 16-time Grand Slam doubles champion Woodbridge warns that he is facing an uphill battle.

“I think it’s going to be a tough ask for Nick and I think he probably realises that as well,” Woodbridge told Wide World of Sports.

“When we saw him last year he came into Wimbledon with the best preparation that he’d had for any major championship, so it was no surprise to me that he was able to get through to a final.

“Having only played one match since basically October, he’s just got no miles in the legs and that’s going to be difficult.

“If there was a surface that he can come out and do damage on; it’s grass because he can keep the points short. But, he’ll have to serve really well.”

Woodbridge added that the lack of match practice will have a mental impact on his compatriot.

He added: “I think the biggest thing is about confidence when you haven’t had the match played.

“Last year he had the match play and you saw when under pressure in key moments that he was there.

“I think that’s going to be the tough part about this year’s Wimbledon for him is that he’s lacking in pretty much all of those areas.

“What you need as a player under pressure is just to instinctively create something and here he’s gonna have to think about it and you don’t have time to think at this level.”

Should Kyrgios make it to the second week then he could face defending champion Djokovic in the quarter-final and it will no doubt be another good contest.

Last year Kyrgios took the first set before the Serbian went on to win in four sets.

“The thing is he may end up potentially getting Novak in that round, which would be an interesting matchup for everybody,” Woodbridge said.

“If he was to get Novak, it’s one of the players that Novak does not want to see him early because he knows the danger.

“I think Novak would rather see Nick later in the draw than earlier in the draw and that’s the type of fear factor that he can bring to the tournament.”

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