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Nick Kyrgios’ emergence over the last few months came as no surprise to those who have watched the Australian tennis star progress into one of the top players in the world.
Kyrgios finished runner-up to Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon and followed that up with a win at the Citi Open in Washington and a quarter-final loss at the Canadian Open. His pre-US Open tune-up will end with the Western & Southern Open later this week.
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While Kyrgios’ critics have pointed to his outbursts and unruly behavior during matches as a reason to brush him off, tennis legend John McEnroe said Kyrgios’ development and style are good for the sport.
McEnroe spoke to Fox News Digital on Saturday as he partnered with Mixhalo to team up with Will Ferrell to broadcast part of LAFC’s match against Charlotte FC. He had glowing words about Kyrgios.
“Nick’s brought interest to the sport for people that wouldn’t normally watch it and that’s sort of what you’re hoping for. The traditionalists are going to have their opinions as they did about me. He’s probably the most talented player that’s come out in the last 10 years.
The American tennis legend said he believed Kyrgios was starting to break through some of the mental barriers he appeared to put up.
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“He’s had trouble dealing with expectations at times. We all have that fear of failure. It’s how you handle it. It seems like he’s finally coming to grips with how to go out and compete on a consistent level and when he does that to me he’s gonna be one of the top couple people in the world,” McEnroe told Fox News Digital.
“If he can do this with what we’ve seen in the course of the last three or four months from Nick, because he’s a good kid, players like him, he’s a great team guy, I’ve coached him in Laver Cup four different years, it would really be helpful for the sport if he stuck with it mentally and really dug in as I’ve seen. If he can do that for a couple years, it would be incredible for tennis.”
The Western & Southern Open is one of the final tournaments before the last Grand Slam event of the tennis season – the US Open.
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Kyrgios has made it as far as the third round four times, the last coming in 2019. He was bounced in the first round of last year’s event by Roberto Bautista Agut in straight sets.