Has Kyrgios Finally Solved His Self-Puzzle?

Facing Marat Safin

Nick Kyrgios is entering a new stage of his career this week at Citi Open in Washington, DC. He is definitely double downing on his extrovertness and putting on a terrific show for the crowds, even interacting with front row fans, asking where to serve on match point and when it works he runs back and hugs the fan.

This is twilight zone sports, Muhammad Ali type originality and humor. The kids and even adults are loving every minute of it. They can’t believe it, but Nick keeps pulling it off. It’s like he’s finally figured out how to fit his square peg into the round hole of pro tennis.

The oddball enigma upset Tsitsipas 64 36 76 at Citi Open with another sensational display of genius tennis mixed with showtime antics, tweeners, 64 miles an hour service winners, hot dog showboating and crowd engagement.

And this expression of his charisma is a natural benefit for his libido. The more he vents and expresses the better it is for his peace of mind and his tennis. The more he turns the tennis arena into his own personal center stage, it makes him the star of the show, all eyes are on Nick. Nick’s antics can even upstage and overshadow Fed, Rafa and Djokovic. That is the power of his personality and magnetism.

Nick has rare special qualities that Fed, Nole and Rafa lack and, I’m sure, secretly admire. Nobody has more fun on the high stakes pressure cooker ATP tennis circuit than Nick. It’s the Kyrgios Show. The problem for the Aussie has been backing it all up with his best tennis. I think Nick has finally figured out the fine line balance. And it’s all coming together this week in Washington.

I predict a Marat Safin like explosion of all time genius tennis, a major masterpiece of brilliance is about to erupt out of the unique, creative tennis volcano that is Nick Kyrgios.

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  • Andrew Miller · August 8, 2019 at 12:54 pm

    Thanks, Catherine. I had given up on the comments board when it strayed far away from the tennis. I’m glad to see everyone’s still excited about the sport. I hope to throw my bias in the mix again.

  • Andrew Miller · August 8, 2019 at 1:41 pm

    Is Dan a Kyrgios fan?

  • catherine · August 8, 2019 at 1:54 pm

    Haven’t heard from Dan for a while so I’m not sure where his loyalties lie. Maybe Scoop knows more.

    I wondered why Nick was so particular about the colour of his towel (latest contretemps) or was he making a statement about the tournament sponsors ?

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 8, 2019 at 1:55 pm

    Hartt, no doubt Raonic is a great player and possibly the best player to never win a major. And he’s a credit to the sport and Canada. But if he showed his fiery side vs Felix, it could antagonize the Felix supporters and rouse up a heated battle. But I think Raonic respects Felix too much to bring out his rarely seen beast side. But credit to Felix for having such an aura to deter that.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 8, 2019 at 2:07 pm

    Andrew, Yes Dan likes Kyrgios a lot, myself, Dan, Pagliaro and Pete Bodo all watched Kyrgios vs Coric at Miami Open this year under a broiling afternoon sun. And none of us left till it was over and we all loved the magic show Nick put on but then he fell apart after missing a makeable volley on a key point in the middle of the second set which he never recovered from.

  • Hartt · August 8, 2019 at 2:24 pm

    As someone who has watched a LOT of Milos matches, I am trying in vain to think of a time he showed a “beast side.” The occasional fiery moment, yes. But Milos has given the youngster advice when he was asked for it, and he likes and respects FAA, so I would expect him to show that attitude when playing the youngster.

    FAA returns that respect, you could see it in the genuine shock and concern on Félix’s face when Milos told him he had to retire.

  • Hartt · August 8, 2019 at 2:33 pm

    Regarding Bianca and drama, she did have a couple moments yesterday. One I was downright annoyed about. She whacked her racquet on the ground, and it bounced halfway across the court to near where a line judge sometimes was. Fortunately no one was there at the moment. The other came shortly after that when she screamed at herself very loudly.

    Other than those 2 instances, it was just normal yelling at herself in the way most players do.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 8, 2019 at 2:42 pm

    Hartt, nobody dislikes Felix, not even Tsitsipas. He plays the right way, competes the right way and is a positive force in the sport. I like him a lot too despite having a personal preference for the opposite, controversial players like Rios, Hewitt, McEnroe, Hingis, Connors.

  • Andrew Miller · August 8, 2019 at 3:42 pm

    Glad Scoop, Dan, Bodo got to see Kyrgios live. He’s the “Kyrgios Experience”. But I’ve been around tennis long enough to know that before Kyrgios there was Monfils (a more positive spirit), Santoro, Rios, etc. They are worth the price of admission, whether or not they make the Hall of Fame. For two of them, you hedge bets when catching them because never know who shows up.

    Is it Kyrgios the guy that says awful stuff to opponents and refs? Or is it Kyrgios who asks the crowd where to serve next? Kyrgios isn’t alone there in his head. He did the right thing playing doubles last tournament. To some extent he showed Tsitsipas that hey, tennis is more of a team sport than it appears. Not just because doubles, but because even Kyrgios brought out the maximum on Tsitsipas.

    It’s kind of high time to acknowledge that tennis may be a mono a mono sport and it is. But there’s so much more that goes on out there. Kyrgios is only the first to draw attention to it – hey we’re battling crazy agents! Hey the big players have each other let’s stick together as a group of upcoming players, Tsitsipas let’s play doubles so that we put on a show for crowds (arguably that positive vibe carried both of them to a good week).

    Kyrgios can do a lot of good yet in the sport. So far he’s made almost every error possible out there, made a lot of enemies. I’m definitely cheering for him to become one of the elder statesmen, but I am not holding my breath!

  • catherine · August 8, 2019 at 3:43 pm

    Hartt – I know chucking racquets annoys you but I wouldn’t call Bianca’s action particularly dramatic. A lot of players do it (I don’t approve). And as you say, most players yell at themselves – even Angie (‘komm jetz’!! ).

    Svitolina bt Bencic SS which surprised me. Rain delay and also Elina had an MTO for a lot of taping on her ankle. Didn’t seem to hinder her 🙂

  • Andrew Miller · August 8, 2019 at 3:46 pm

    Fritz has had an excellent summer at the small tournaments too. His game looks as bad as it did before to me, but hey, if it works it works. I’d love to see the guy work with someone on his movement. He wouldn’t be caught so flat footed all the time.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 8, 2019 at 4:15 pm

    Andrew, that is what Tim Mayotte about Fritz, his “efficiency of movement.” It’s not his strong suit. But he’s doing something right to be on the edge of top 20.

  • catherine · August 8, 2019 at 4:36 pm

    Bianca bt Bertens in 3 sets. She just goes on and on. Not sure who she plays next. I was rather hoping she’d lose so she could take a rest and not be worn out by the USO.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 8, 2019 at 4:51 pm

    Andreescu is clearly back in top form and notching valuable wins right out of the blocks. Fine win today vs Bertens. Andreescu is showing she is a special player.

  • Andrew Miller · August 8, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    Scoop, a player’s “hunger” aka “relentlessness”, “ruthlessness” matters a lot. Fritz and Raonic both have a killer instinct and it makes a difference in their matches.

    I notice Fritz and have noticed Fritz has some odd stroke production (not uncommon for any ATP player – who doesn’t know a player with “beautiful ground strokes” and a game that doesn’t match up in this cutthroat sport?). But what stands out, in a bad way, are his anticipation and movement.

    He could do worse than ask players like Andy Murray for some tips, or Mauresmo, or someone like Robert Lansdorp, who was a stickler on this stuff. Heck he could ask Mary P or her brother or dad.

    Footwork makes an enormous difference. Get that right and results automatically get better. It matters so much you could have no backhand and get away with it because of good footwork.

    Mayotte could fix this. People should listen to Mayotte. He really knows his tennis.

  • catherine · August 8, 2019 at 5:23 pm

    Andrew – unfortunately Mary Pierce’s father is dead and she lives in Mauritius most of the time so probably not the best sources of advice for Fritz.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 8, 2019 at 5:52 pm

    Andrew is right, Mary Pierce would be a good coach for any player male or female, she was a super hard worker and could help anyone including Fritz. She spends a lot of time in Bradenton too, I have a friend who used to coach her and is good friends with her. Actually two friends of mine in FL are good friends with Mary.

  • Hartt · August 8, 2019 at 6:35 pm

    The reason I was so bothered by Bianca whacking her racquet is that, even though she didn’t mean for it to, it ended up near where a line judge often is. It’s fortunate no one was injured. If I were the dictator of tennis I would be very tough on this kind of behaviour because it is a minor miracle that more people haven’t been injured. After his match with FAA Kyrgios even threw his racquet onto a pathway just outside the court, where people were walking. It is very lucky he didn’t hit anyone, and one of the reasons the usually mild-mannered Félix was so critical of Nick after that match.

  • Hartt · August 8, 2019 at 6:38 pm

    Bianca Andreescu will face Pliskova next, so another tough opponent.

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