Jan/18

7

Is Kyrgios Taking Tennis To New Zenith?

nickk

By Scoop Malinowski

Nick Kyrgios, who just decimated the Brisbane field, to win his first ATP title in two years with a straight set final win vs Ryan Harrison, holds a very rare, most impressive distinction in his career.

Kyrgios is the only man in history to beat prime Federer, Nadal and Djokovic the first time he played each. That is an incredible achievement and most likely a feat that will never be matched. Lleyton Hewitt is the only other player to beat Fed, Rafa and Djokovic the first time he tried but Hewitt’s version of the “hat trick” is misleading because neither of the super troika were at their prime best at the time.

This monumentally rare accomplishment is further proof of how extraordinary and devastating Kyrgios is – when he’s playing his best.

With his lethal arsenal of weaponry – the serve, the slap shot forehand, the punishing backhand, the easy hefty power, the uncanny volleying, the creativity in different forms such as the use of the Fed Saber – Kyrgios is a tennis wrecking machine.

At his best, you have to wonder of Kyrgios could beat any player from history? Well, why couldn’t he? He has shown he can beat prime Fed, Rafa and Nadal in his very first opportunities.

Of course, we know Kyrgios when not focused or disinterested could lose to any grinder or journeyman, out on court seven at eleven o’clock in the morning.

But it’s reasonably plausible that Kyrgios, on center court in a showcase night match, could inflict on Laver, Lendl, McEnroe, Agassi, Sampras, Tilden, Connors, the exact same thing he did to Fed, Rafa and Djokovic the first time he played each.

So one has to wonder: Is it possible that this super-talented enigma with the flamboyant game and persona, when operating at his very best, is actually playing the highest level of tennis we have ever witnessed?

Maybe.

Yes, maybe.

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62 comments

  • Moxie · January 10, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    Let's be honest: the men's game is being played at a much higher level right now. That has not always been the case. And even if you can't be bothered to compare their games, Serena, surely, is a stunning champion. I've already told you why longevity in the women's game is actually dicier, and so should be more highly praised. I don't know any male player that has taken maternity leave, or had problems coming back after having children. The men and women play very often in parallel, and it's incredibly condescending of you to act as if the women's game is a unicorn to the men's lion. Plenty of women have distinguished themselves, irrespective of gender, and plenty of women have propped up the game with their marquee names, across the years.

  • catherine · January 11, 2018 at 12:12 am

    This argument has become bizarre. It started off about Kyrgios and has now bogged itself down into the men/women thing.
    There’s no end to that.

    Stop, please :)

  • El Dude · January 11, 2018 at 12:18 am

    Oh please, Moxie – you're reading something into what I'm saying that I'm not actually saying. I don't want to be your stand-in for whatever you need to work out. The lion/unicorn thing is just pure rubbish – or rather, I am saying nothing of the kind.

    And never did I say that Serena isn't a stunning champion. Nor did I make any comment on whether longevity is more or less impressive in the women's or men's games. I think that would require more data points than the one you offer.

    As for the history of the sport, I don't know if the game's were closer in level at some point in the past – I've never researched that. That would be hard to quantify. As far as I know, other than the Battle of the Sexes matches, we don't have much to go on – and those hardly support your statement. (That said, the men's game before the Open Era was much less power oriented, so I could see the gap being closer).

  • El Dude · January 11, 2018 at 12:59 am

    Back to Kyrgios, after watching the highlights of his win against Grigor, any softening I was having towards @mrzz's view has hardened again…the dude looked nasty, with some just crazy shots. I think that is what impresses me the most: he's able to come up with some amazing shots. On one hand this looks like Monfilsian luck, on the other hand this is the type of playing that the greats are capable of.

    Here's a video:

    A nice, competitive match with the type of tennis I enjoy.

  • Front242 · January 11, 2018 at 3:51 am

    Have to say I'm not one bit impressed with Kyrgios in those highlights. Way too much puke making pushing. Lame pushes into the court and then just stands there as the ball flies past him. Massive serve but he won't win any big titles being a pusher. Movement looked well dodgy there and I reckon he'll be gone by round 3 at the absolute best in the AO.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 11, 2018 at 9:05 am

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    And we don't even know for sure if the Riggs vs King match was on the level. But we do know that Braasch whooped both Serena and Venus. And we know Serena has been avoiding a match with McEnroe. I am going to ask Serena about the possibility of playing McEnroe in Miami. Might ask Maria too if she would be willing to step in if Serena opts out.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 11, 2018 at 9:09 am

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    Front243; Nick goes into push mode when he's tanking or he's trying to get the opponent out of his rhythm. Sounds like Nick is saving his best for Melbourne, as he should.

  • catherine · January 11, 2018 at 1:47 pm

    Scoop – you won’t leave this Serena/Mac thing alone will you ?

    If I were you I wouldn’t ask Serena in Miami.I wouldn’t ask Maria either. Might spoil your trip :)

  • Front242 · January 11, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    Just looked not fully fit to me and I doubt he goes far next week personally. Ps, Front243. Nice. Guess I am a year older in 2018 or will be. Might as well be 243.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 11, 2018 at 6:36 pm

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    Catherine, Battle of the sexes is a good thing for tennis, the public find it intriguing. It happens rarely but when it does it generates tremendous buzz, curiosity and excitement.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 11, 2018 at 6:39 pm

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    Front244; Nick loves to pretend he's hurt. He did it in his first match at Brisbane but won the title. I think he's playing possum this week and will be running on all cylinders next week. Though he may feign like he's injured I think it will be a phantom.

  • catherine · January 11, 2018 at 11:35 pm

    Scoop – not rarely enough for me :)

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