Tennis Prose



Kyrgios: “I don’t think, I just play”

B. CORIC/N. Kyrgios

4-6, 6-3, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You hit some unbelievable shots out there. How do you merge that shot-making skill with trying to play more consistent point by point? Or is that a weapon for you, the unpredictability of not knowing what you’re going to do next?
NICK KYRGIOS: Honestly, today, I mean, just a more disciplined — a more disciplined player just won. He’s an unbelievable competitor. He doesn’t give you any free points. He played solid.

I just lost concentration. Kind of got a little bored in the second set, like my concentration just started veering off. Like, I was 40-15 up. I think it was maybe at 2-1 in the second. I started hitting, like, a Federer serve and stuff. I just lost a bit of concentration.

He’s a good enough player to just capitalize. And, yeah, I mean, I lost the match on my racquet today, no doubt about it. But, you know, it’s no surprise, honestly. I have done it before.

You know, it’s a tough loss. I mean, there were some really cool points, obviously. I just have to be better mentally. Simple as that. I’ve got to lock in, just take care of 40-15 points, not screw around so much.

Q. You play a little bit like you’re just inventing the game for the first time. Yet, like every other player out there, you have spent your whole life being trained and hitting thousands and thousands of balls, probably maybe a little bit different way, the conventional way. So what changed? How do you see that process playing out in you?
NICK KYRGIOS: No one taught me those shots, Man. No one taught me how to play, really. Not like that. You just told me someone told me how to play.

Q. Right.
NICK KYRGIOS: I just told you no one told me how to hit those shots.

Q. So you every never hit conventional strokes off both sides?
NICK KYRGIOS: Yeah, I did, of course. So are you asking me, like — what are you asking me?

Q. Well, something changed. Did you decide you weren’t satisfied playing that way? Did you want to get more out of the game? Did you feel you had more creativity to bring to the game than you were able to express as a by-the-books junior?
NICK KYRGIOS: What’s different? It’s a talent in itself for, like, Coric to come in here every day and do everything to an absolute T and be professional and work hard. I don’t have that. I don’t have that. He’s got that.

Like, we’re all just different. Why do we have to ask questions all the time? Could that just not be the answer?

Q. You talked about losing your concentration a little bit in the second. There was a little bit of fan interaction you weren’t happy with in the third. Just talk about that a little bit. People getting on you a little bit. Similar to Delray a little bit, would you say?
NICK KYRGIOS: Yeah. Yeah, I mean, again, they paid money to see me play, and they just scream out ridiculous things. I’m just not going to take it anymore.

Q. The point penalty at 5-2. What was said to provoke that reaction from you?
NICK KYRGIOS: I mean, I’m playing for two hours and 20 minutes, and a guy yells at me, like, Play some tennis. I’m not going to take it. So I said, F you, to him.

Probably not needed, but at that time, like, when you’re competing and in the heat of the moment, it’s probably not what you want to hear.

Q. The shots, memorable shot you hit between your legs for the crosscourt winner when Coric was up at the net, and then the basking, standing there at center court, is that some of the reasons why you play, that you have those kind of moments?
NICK KYRGIOS: Um, honestly, I wasn’t going to run for the lob. Then I just ran for it and somehow I hit shot. I don’t really think when I’m out there. I just play.

Q. Other than the actual shot-making, do the distractions, the fans, how much does that affect you?
NICK KYRGIOS: Doesn’t affect me, but of course I’m going to respond to a fan. Like, if they say something that I obviously take offense to, like on center court or something like that, for sure.

Q. (Question off microphone.)
NICK KYRGIOS: Well, I mean, I lost the point. Doesn’t really affect me, but that’s just the rules. If I swear or something, then I’ll lose the point. That’s why I didn’t argue it. I just walked to my chair.

Q. You said that no one can teach you your shots. Can anyone teach you to focus better or to be more mentally engaged, or is that just part of who you are?

Q. And have you spoken to anybody?
NICK KYRGIOS: For sure. I mean, people — that’s what coaches, mentalists, people are there for, to draw on their experiences, tell you how to do these things, techniques and how to do it.

But at the end of the day, it just comes down to if I want to do it. Yeah, for sure there is people out there that can teach you.

Q. (Question off microphone.)

Q. (Question off microphone.)
NICK KYRGIOS: I haven’t really asked them. I want to focus, so…

Q. I think we spoke about this last time, after the last match, and I asked is heckling a problem from the crowd? Because that guy got ejected last time around. Can anything be done? Obviously it’s having an effect.
NICK KYRGIOS: I don’t know, Man. I’m so tired.



  • catherine · March 27, 2019 at 9:35 am

    A lot of the time players are asked questions they can’t possibly answer because so much of what they do is below the level of consciousness – you can’t introspect about actions and then translate into ordinary language. We’ve no vocabulary for it.

    Nick knows this. ‘How do you see that process playing out in you ?’ (I’ve no idea what that means.) ‘I just told you, no one told me how to hit those shots.’

    ‘I’m so tired.’ And just think, if he’d won Nick would’ve had to go through this whole business all over again.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 27, 2019 at 2:15 pm

    Well said Catherine, a lot of times these top players must feel like doctorate level experts trying to talk to kindergartners about tennis. it’s a waste of time really. Non tennis players could never understand their level of mastery. I get this sense from Nick and Rios.

  • Thomas Tung · March 27, 2019 at 5:12 pm

    Perhaps, Scoop, but there’s “tanking the interview questions” just like there’s “tanking on the tennis court”. This is where guys like “Fedalovic” shine …

    Nick reminds me a lot of a young Agassi, who would pull out his personal portable “tank”, if you matched his level early on, as Borna was able to do. Problem for Kyrgios is, the overall level of the Tour is a LOT more difficult now, than it was during the 80s/90s …

    Unfortunately, it looks like Nick is very much down the “wakes up in mid-30s, wonders just what the heck was he doing for the last two decades” road. I sure don’t see Shapo, FAA, De Minaur, and the rest of the NextGen “politely kowtowing to King Kyrgios” by giving him bespoke matches for his amusement …

    Playing “Harlem Globetrotters Tennis” doesn’t win you matches, and Nick isn’t Dr. J (Julius Erving), either …

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 27, 2019 at 5:40 pm

    Tanking press conferences…spot on Mr T2! He tries at first and then after a couple of poor questions he just tanks. Being fragile it’s all it takes, just one bad error or one lousy question. Will he ever change? We all will happily watch to see what happens.

  • Hartt · March 27, 2019 at 8:23 pm

    One thing about players like FĂ©lix and Shapo, is they will provide entertaining matches where the emphasis is on high quality tennis, like their matches against Basilashvili and Tsitsipas, rather than trick shots and other antics. These matches are much more satisfying to watch, and several of these youngsters are starting to develop compelling rivalries that will be fun to follow for many years.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 27, 2019 at 8:42 pm

    Tsitsipas is the leader but he’s the target now, he’s got the big X. Felix or Shap will take over as leader after this tournament, whoever goes deeper. The #nextgen race is very interesting, the race within the race.



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