After fighting back to send the match to a third set, the Aussie lost it 6-1, but not before drama when Hubert Hurkacz decided…
Nobody questions Nick Kyrgios’ talent on a tennis court, instead pointing to his lack of maturity as to why he isn’t sitting firmly inside the top ten.
On his day he can – and has – beaten all the big names and is arguably the most exciting player to watch when he is on, but time and time again we have witnessed meltdowns and dummy spits that derail him.
Kyrgios’ summer in Australia has potentially been his best stint as a pro.
Ge helped lead Australia to the quarters in the ATP Cup. His Australian Open finished against world number one Rafael Nadal in four sets in the fourth round of the tournament. The way be bowed out was admirable yet disappointing.
Chalking up wins against former world number 6 Gilles Simon and current 16 seed Karen Khachanov showed great signs and losing to Nadal 3-6, 6-3, 7-6, 7-6 indicates he was right in the match.
There was something about Kyrgios this summer – he looks like he’s having fun and has discovered a love for tennis, which people have often questioned whether he had.
The thing that sticks in the mind after the Nadal loss was the fight, the hunger and drive. Despite losing a heartbreaking third-round tiebreak in which he double-faulted at 6-6, he still got his mind right and fought back from a break down to send the fourth to a tiebreak. A younger Kyrgios probably rolls over and loses his cool to lose much earlier.
Every point mattered to Nick and he wanted that win more than anything.
Against Khachanov it looked like he was throwing it away after failing to convert a match point in both the third and fourth sets. Again, a younger Kyrgios probably loses that match in five, but he willed himself to a fifth set tiebreak victory in possibly his best win in a major.
His growth on the court caught the attention of Nadal, who was glowing in his review of Kyrgios after their match despite their war of words in March of 2019, when Nadal said Kyrgios lacked respect.
Less than 12 months on and the Spaniard has seen Kyrgios grow as a tennis player and as a person.
Perhaps his biggest growth has come off the court. When Australia was ravished by bushfires, he spearheaded ways to raise money for people who were caught up in the tragedy.
His first idea was to have a charity match to raise money, incredibly raising $4.8 million from one evening. He also donated $200 for every ace he served throughout the Australian summer of tennis – fast forward to the end of his Australian Open and he bombed 100 aces, donating $20,000.
His generosity prompted an amazing response from other Australian athletes, as players such as Alex de Minaur, John Millman and Dylan Alcott jumped on to donate for every ace they could deliver.
And it didn’t stop with tennis, with cricketers Chris Lynn and Glenn Maxwell pledging to donate for each six they hit during the Big Bash season.
Kyrgios got on the front foot when his country was in need and many other athletes followed suit to help out.
To think a 24-year-old could initiate such a wonderful cause is incredible. Even the naysayers commended Kyrgios on his leadership and generosity.
Some had written Kyrgios off, saying he just doesn’t have the will to win major tournaments, but he’s only young and up against probably the three greatest players ever.
However, Roger Federer is 38, Nadal is 33 and Novak Djokovic is 32 – all closer to the end than the start of their careers. Nick’s time will come and he will battle the next generation of stars.
Over the past few months, Kyrgios’ growth has been immense but consistency is the key in his development. He can’t pick and choose when he wants to compete at a high level. He is too good to have a world ranking of 26. He peaked at number 13 in 2016 but really has the ability to be a staple in the top ten.
After this Australian Open, we will see Kyrgios in the fourth round or better in most majors he plays in.
The future is bright for Nick Kyrgios and if this is his coming of age, it is time for Australian tennis fans to get really excited.