TENNIS WIMBLEDON 2014 – 1st of July. N. Kyrgios d. R. Nadal 7-6, 5-7, 7-6, 6-3. An interview with Nick Kyrgios
Q. You were cocky, cheeky today. How are you feeling today?
NICK KYRGIOS: I’m pretty happy. That’s the biggest win of my career obviously, and that’s something I’m never going to forget. I’m going to draw so much confidence out of that no matter where I play now. To have that under my belt, it’s massive.
Q. How would you describe what you were able to do? How were you able to win?
NICK KYRGIOS: You know, I think I had to play a solid game that gave me the best shot. That’s serving big and playing aggressive. I thought today my serve was something that got me over the line. It made me, you know, be able to put pressure on his serve as well.
I think that was very important.
Q. What were your emotions when you wrapped this up?
NICK KYRGIOS: It still hasn’t sunk in yet. I was just overwhelmed with every feeling out there. I turned to my whole box, you know, just shared that moment with them. It still hasn’t hit me what I’ve done.
Q. John McEnroe said he thinks you can win the whole tournament. How do you feel about that?
NICK KYRGIOS: You know, I’m just going to stay grounded. I’m just going to go home tonight and do everything possible for my next round tomorrow.
Milos has probably got the best serve in the world. I’m just going to go out there and have fun again.
Q. John McEnroe may think you can win this whole tournament, but from your flash TV interview afterwards, am I right thinking your mum didn’t think you could win it?
NICK KYRGIOS: Yeah, last night I was actually reading a comment that she thought Rafa was too good for me. It actually made me a bit angry. You would think he’s in a whole ‘nother level compared to me. I just believed in myself that I could create some opportunities. I took them under pressure today.
Yeah, I don’t know – yeah.
Q. Have you spoken to your mum yet since you won?
NICK KYRGIOS: No, I haven’t actually.
Q. What will you say when you do?
NICK KYRGIOS: I’ll just text her a smiley face (smiling).
Q. Are you ever a little afraid when you play to hit a second serve 130 miles per hour? Stepanek last year told me you did something unbelievable in a tiebreak.
NICK KYRGIOS: I remember.
Q. Then nine match points with Gasquet. Today again. You just don’t think or what happens?
NICK KYRGIOS: Yeah, definitely I’m scared. Like I just go through my routine and I just play aggressive. You know, if they play too good on that point, then it’s too good.
But I’m going to go after it and give myself the best chance to win the point.
Q. The other day you said that between you and Rafa, you have won an incredible 14 Grand Slams. People were thinking by the end of Wimbledon it would be 15. What do you think of that?
NICK KYRGIOS: You know, I’ve got another chance to go out there tomorrow and get through another round, but I’m not thinking about any of that stuff yet.
It was just a comment for a bit of a laugh. It’s gone pretty much viral. Yeah.
Q. How hard do you think the recovery will be with a match again tomorrow?
NICK KYRGIOS: Yeah, it’s going to be a tough ask, but I’m going to do everything possible and see how my body responds tomorrow. If I come up short, I come up short. I’m going to give it my best shot, and whatever happens, happens.
Q. Three years ago it was Bernard Tomic being the big thing. What have you learned from his experience and that experience?
NICK KYRGIOS: I’ve learned a lot. I’m just going to, you know, try hard, you know, just give the people what they want, a bit of a show out there. I’m just going to continue to do that.
Q. In Australia everybody was talking about you and Kokkinakis during the Australian Open. Now you are here and we don’t know where Kokkinakis is. Do you think this is strange?
NICK KYRGIOS: Yeah, I actually miss Thanasi. He went back home a couple weeks ago during Nottingham. I think he needed some time at home.
He’s extremely talented, if not more than me. He’s going to have a great career. It’s great that we can train together. I miss him a lot.
Q. You spoke about being grounded. Who are the people around you keeping you grounded right at the moment?
NICK KYRGIOS: You know, my coach, my family, my brother, my friends, my agent. They all know in reality I have another match to play tomorrow. Of course I’m going to soak it up tonight, but tomorrow I’m going to give myself the best shot to win.
Q. What struck most people was how fearlessly you played on that stage. How did you acquire such a fearless attitude? Have you always had such an attitude?
NICK KYRGIOS: Yeah, I think on the big stage, it’s something I thrive on, the atmosphere, the crowd. I just love it when at 5-3, I think it was in the fourth set, they erupted, the crowd. I just love that feeling.
At that stage you just think about all the work you put in. You know if you believe in yourself. Especially with my serve, if I just go after it, hit the right spots, I’m going to have a pretty good shot to close out a match like that today.
Q. There’s been a lot of great Australian champions over the years. It’s your first experience of Centre Court today. Any thoughts of you following in the old guy’s footsteps?
NICK KYRGIOS: I wasn’t thinking of any of that at all when I was out there. Playing Rafael Nadal is a big enough task. You don’t really think about anything else. When I’m serving, he goes through his routine, he touches his nose, all that stuff.
It’s just tough playing him, and that’s all I was thinking about out there: competing and sticking to the game plan.
Q. How happy are you today that you chose tennis in front of basketball?
NICK KYRGIOS: Very.
Q. Can you say a bit more?
NICK KYRGIOS: Best choice of my life. Yeah.
Q. Again and again Rafa just said that you were fearless, you had nothing to lose. Talk about that. Did you feel that way? Did you feel a sense of joy or freedom?
NICK KYRGIOS: Yeah, I definitely had nothing to lose out there. My first Wimbledon making fourth round, playing Rafa on Centre Court, I definitely had a sense of even if I get broken here – I was actually thinking about it in the fourth set. If I get broken here, it’s not the end of the world. There’s another set to play.
Even if I end up losing that match – you know, having that sort of pillow to fall on even if I got broken, I think that definitely played a big part, you know, having nothing to lose out there.
Q. How would you compare what you’re feeling now to when three weeks ago you lost in the first round of a challenger to John Patrick Smith?
NICK KYRGIOS: Well, I don’t know. It’s just extraordinary. I’d never think after that match I’d be in the quarters of Wimbledon three weeks later.
It just shows that, you know, my coach has done such a great job. I’m just staying persistent, working hard, and yeah. I’m losing my voice.
Q. That win will take you to 65 in the rankings. How will it feel that you won’t be playing in front of one man and a dog?
NICK KYRGIOS: Yeah, I have had a bit of trouble in the past playing those low-end tournaments on the back courts. I really like having a big crowd, having that spark. So, yeah, hearing that is music to my ears.
Q. I know you tennis players only want to think about the next match, but it could be Roger Federer in the semifinals now. He’s your big idol, isn’t he? How would that be?
NICK KYRGIOS: Yeah, that would be extraordinary. If I manage, you know, to pull the win out against Raonic, to play Roger would be a dream, yeah.
Intriguing Team-Ups Lure Eyes Doubles’ Way. Will They Stay For The Problems, Too?
Will the recent surge in high-profile double partnerships have any impact on the long term future of the discipline?
In one of his press conferences at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati, Andy Murray said he would not be playing the US Open. His announcement came a day or so after his initial declaration that he would be playing only the two doubles events in the final Major of the season. A few things came out of Murray’s remarks. The first and the obvious was that the former world no. 1 was ready to give it his all (yet again) to play singles. The second, the understated aspect, was that doubles while seeming easy vis-à-vis singles required just as much focus, if not more. Then, there was a third.
In tennis’ continuity though, the relevance of the doubles game is not a recent epiphany. However, the last few tournaments of the 2019 season that featured some eclectic partnerships – Stefanos Tsitispas and Nick Kyrgios, Andy Murray and Feliciano Lopez, the Pliskova twins, Andy and Jamie Murray, and so on – has made doubles slightly more prominent than singles.
Singles has become monotonous with the same set of players making it to the final rounds. On the other hand, doubles has brought in more verve to the existing status quo of the Tour, with each player’s individuality adding to the dynamics of the team. After his first outing as Kyrgios’ doubles partner at the Citi Open in Washington in July, Tsitsipas pointed this out.
“It’s the joy of being with a person who thinks differently and reacts differently. I would characterise him (Kyrgios) as someone who likes to amuse. I’m very serious and concentrated when I play, but he just has the style of speaking all the time. It’s good sometimes to have a change,” the Greek had said.
These changes – as seen with Murray’s recent decision – may not extend for a longer period. The culmination of these short-term team-ups does – and should – not mean the end of the road of doubles piquing attention, per se. At the same time, these transitory partnerships also reroute the discussion back to the financial side of the doubles game.
In a recent interview with Forbes, Jamie Murray – a doubles specialist – shared how conducive it had become for players to take up doubles as the sole means of a tennis career these days, as compared to in the past.
“Because the money is always increasing in tennis, it is a much more viable option to go down the doubles route a lot earlier than previous generations. Before, people would play singles and then when their ranking dropped, they played an extra few years of doubles. Now it is a genuine option to start off much younger and have a career in doubles,” the 33-year-old said.
Despite Murray’s upbeat attitude, these increases have not exactly trickled towards doubles, especially at the Slams including the upcoming edition of the US Open. For 2019, the USTA showed-off yet another hike in the prize-money coffer. The men’s and women’s singles champions will be awarded $3.8 million. In comparison, the men’s and women’s doubles teams winning the respective title will get $740,000. This sum gets further diluted for the mixed-doubles’ titlists who will get $160,000 as a team.
This is the third and final takeaway that emerged from Murray’s US Open call. For several of these singles players, intermittent doubles play is an option. For those who play only doubles, that is the only option they have. The doubles game requires similar effort – travel, expenses and fitness – the costs continue to outweigh the benefits. These momentary team formations are a gauge revealing the disparity of tennis’ two sides, visible yet obliviated beyond tokenism.
Svetlana Kuznetsova upsets Ashleigh Barty in Cincinnati to reach the 42nd final of her career
Russian wild card Svetlana Kuznetsova edged top seed this year’s Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty 6-2 6-4 in the semifinal of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati to reach the 42nd final of her career.
Two-time Grand Slam champion Kuznetsova, who is now ranked world number 153, scored her third win against top 10 players this week after beating former US Open champion Sloane Stephens and Karolina Pliskova.
Barty missed her chance to regain world number 1 spot from Naomi Osaka, who was forced to retire from her quarter final.
Barty earned the first break of the match in the second game of the opening set, when Kuznetsova netted a backhand. Kuznetsova broke back in the third game with a smash winner and earned another break at 2-2 when Barty netted a backhand. Kuznetsova hit a return winner to build up a 5-2 lead. Barty asked a medical time-out to treat he right leg. Kuznetsova held serve at 15 to close out the opening set after 30 minutes.
Kuznetsova went up a break in the first game of the second set. Barty won just three points on return in the second set. Kuznetsova closed out the second set with three winners in the 10th game.
“I am really happy. I am not really an analyzing person, but on my intuition, I am doing so much better, not repeating so many of my mistakes, just playing smarter and wiser now. It’s been so many different things when I was off, so I just enjoyed time off. Honestly, I was not missing at all the travelling and all the stress when you play tournaments, but now I have missed it and I feel good. I feel joy staying here and being here. It definitely helped me to have some time off to see other things outside tennis”, said Kuznetsova.
Kuznetsova set up a final against Madison Keys, who beat Sofia Kenin in straight sets. The Russian 34-year-old veteran player has qualified for her first final since last year, when she beat Donna Vekic in Washington.
“Madison is extremely tough. When she is on fire, it is really hard to play against her. It’s going to be a difficult match-up”, said Kuznetsova.
David Goffin reaches his first Masters 1000 in Cincinnati
David Goffin beat Richard Gasquet 6-3 6-4 on an overcast afternoon to reach the first Masters 1000 final of his career and his 13th title match at ATP Tour level at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati. Goffin has dropped just one set en route to the final.
Goffin is returning to his best form this summer under the guidance of former Swedish player Thomas Johansson. He reached the final in Halle and his first quarter final at Wimbledon. He received a walkover after Yoshihito Nishioka was forced to withdraw from the match due to food poisoning.
The Belgian player started the match with two consecutive holds before breaking at love to open up a 4-1 lead with a backhand winner down the line.
Goffin held his next service games to seal the opening set 6-3. Gasquet earned an early break to open 2-0 lead, but Goffin won five of the next six games with two breaks. The 2017 Nitto ATP Finals runner-up served out the win at love in the 10th game after 1 hour and 16 minutes, as Gasquet sent his backhand long.
Goffin reached the semifinal in Cincinnati last year, but he was forced to retire due to an arm injury.
“I am very happy. It’s a tournament I like and I have played the best tennis in the past few years. I am really happy to reach my first Masters 1000 final here. It’s a great moment for me.”
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