Tennis Prose



Todd’s Tennis Takes: Caution! Mad Genius At Work

By Todd Robinson

I was planning to preview the upcoming Magical Monday at Wimbledon – 16 of the best players in the world playing each other on the same day….it is a vastly underrated day on the list of best sports days in the year.

But I watched the entire Kyrgios / Tsitsipas match Saturday, and it was the most entertaining sports I’ve watched in years…I think of the Djoker / Nadal 3rd set at the French last year…absurdly dramatic, high-quality, and historic….but Kyrgios brings such a different brand of tennis supremacy, along with the circus drama….genius feel combined with a whip of arm that can make every shot a flat missile stinger – his serve, forehand, and backhand. John McEnroe mentioned early he’s a top 5 server all-time, and I wholeheartedly agree. Add in the pace at which he plays – very tough on the returner, no time to ponder adjustments. And how violently hard and flat he hits those 1st serves….and swings similarly on his 2nd serve, just adding the wrist. No one currently in the game swings that hard on a 2nd serve – and I can think of no one who hits it flatter, that hard…no one ever just like him. His arm swing thru his serve seems superhumanly fast – a ridiculously fluid blur….he’d be an awesome volleyball hitter.

His shot-making is absurd and again – can’t think of anyone nearly similar. Much of it is actually borne of his awful footwork at times…if a ball comes ‘kind of’ to him, rather than take the little steps to adjust (think Kei Nishikori/Ferrer) and hit a strong FH/BH, he’ll just lean over and try some fancy wrist flick drop shot or funky low slice, or whatever opportunity the situation might present to him. He misses many, but at times will make more than enough of them.

 Then you add in the drama and high-quality play against the often brash, outspoken Tsitsipas, and Nicky K’s finest master class in gamesmanship and mental warfare…and you have the match of the year. Tsitsipas needs to realize that if he feels Nick is being a bully on the court, he needs to call him out on the court. Step up. Stop your serve motion and tell him to shut up – because the ump wasn’t. Don’t wait for the presser to bitch about it – tell Nick while the match is at stake!

 And the finish! Set point in the 4th for Tsitsipas, then three great shots from Nick and the match was over. Notice on his stand-still volley, set point against him – you teach kids to bend down to the ball – Nick stood straight up, totally still, and relied on his amazing touch and hand eye coordination. Then came an amazing heavy wrist short angle FH that drew an easy put-away BH…then finally the beautiful FH inside-out drop shot on match point.

BTW, Nick served a 2nd serve down set point, and Tsitsipas had a great down-the-line pass opportunity on an easy running FH, but didn’t do much with the ball and Kyrgios came up with the fundamentally unsound but brilliant volley. Massive mental error not going for a down-the-line FH there by Tsit. God knows what a 5th set would have brought us….

Spellbinding entertainment…

P.S. Kyrgios is now 19-6 on the year including his three wins here so far – a shade over three wins for every loss. He hasn’t been over two wins for every loss since 2016 when he went 39-15. His combined record in 2020-21 was 13-11. He still remains a massive ‘what if’ ball of potential, but if his serve can take him to the final here….at 27 now, does he re-evaluate his attitude?????? Probably not…

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  • Scoop Malinowski · July 3, 2022 at 5:11 pm

    Agree fully Todd, yesterday was one of the most intriguing fascinating dramatic entertaining thrilling matches I have seen in a very long time. Nick is saving tennis with his mad genius, uncontrollable unpredictable rebel attitude. I love it. Finally we get to see Nick where he belongs, in the spotlight in the big show competing for majors. This guy can change the image of the sport and taking it to a new level, like Ali and Tyson did for boxing. Everybody is absolutely sick of all the boring Federer Nadal nice talk cliche PR image baloney. They want reality, they want mano a mano warfare and all the drama that comes with it. Tsitsipas should have confronted Nick on court about the behavior he whined about after to reporters. Wimpy behavior by Tsitsipas, hope he learns from this and shows bigger cojones next time.

  • Todd S Robinson · July 3, 2022 at 5:58 pm

    Totally Scoop – man up Tsit – tell him then and there! Nick is great….draws the broader audience – love your comparisons. It’s a war….he’s using all the tools to make up for his carefree training/discipline.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 3, 2022 at 7:25 pm

    Todd, Nick looks super fit now I bet he’s training hard, he has shown a few training videos, I believe he’s all in and his sick of the label of being called “the biggest waste of talent in history.” He won his AO doubles title and I believe that title sparked his fire and appetite for more destruction.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 3, 2022 at 7:32 pm

    Todd I don’t care about Brad Gilbert’s establishment opinions. About six or seven years ago I said to him on twitter than “Nick Kyrgios has Muhammad Ali qualities” and for some reason he was offended by that and we passed by each other by the big fountain at US Open and chatted a bit and he told me “I was disheveled by your comment about Kyrgios.” I can’t understand why anyone in tennis would not adore Nick and the rebel image he represents. He is the modern day McEnroe Connors figure, who both helped elevate tennis to the highest heights in the history of the sport. Nick has that power too, especially if he can win a major in singles. Go Nick!



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