Former Australia Davis Cup captain Wally Masur has praised and thanked Nick Kyrgios for finally “venturing forward” with the tennis commentator highlighting just why he has become such a dangerous opponent.
The days of Kyrgios adopting a couldn’t-care-less attitude on the court appear to be gone as the Australian has been at his brilliant best so far this season.
He won the Australian Open men’s doubles title alongside friend Thanasi Kokkinakis at the start of the year while he finished runner-up to Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon. He has carried that form over to the North American hard-court season as he won the Citi Open singles and doubles titles and now finds himself in the quarter-final of the US Open.
The 27-year-old reached the last four of the season-ending Grand Slam on the back of an emphatic four-set win over defending champion Daniil Medvedev – his second win over the world No 1 in the space of a month.
Former Australian Open and US Open semi-finalist Masur, who captained Australia to the semi-final of the Davis Cup in 2015, explained why Kyrgios is now such a dangerous opponent on hard courts.
“He’s inside the court, he’s taking the ball on the rise, he’s being aggressive, it’s playing hard-court tennis, he’s playing hard-court tennis, and Nick, after all these years, you are venturing forward. Thank you,” he said on Stan Sport’s Grand Slam Daily.
“He’s had the ability to do this but has chosen not to. He’s chosen to kind of go toe to toe with people from the back … of course he has this brilliant serve that keeps him in every match.
“He showed us his full range of creativity and flare [in the Medvedev clash].
“I mean, he’s more Roger Federer than Rafael Nadal. Play like it, be creative, just take the match away from your opponent and play it on your terms — and that’s what he did.
“Now, it’s all very well to say that, but you’ve got to execute — and execute he did.”
Many believe Kyrgios is favourite to win the title at Flushing Meadows, especially now that he has experience of playing in a Grand Slam final.
“People were really starting to doubt my ability to pull out matches like this at majors. I’m really proud of myself honestly because it hasn’t been easy dealing with all the criticism,” Kyrgios said after his win.
“I’m just trying to not let people down. I’ve said it before, I was in this press conference room a while back and I lost in the third round, it was the worst feeling because I’ve just got so much expectation. I’m finally able to show it now. I feel like I’ve been working really hard. I’ve just got a lot of motivation at the moment.
“Yeah, as I said, if I win a Grand Slam, I don’t know how much motivation I’d have afterwards because it’s extremely hard to do.”
The Australian will face 27th seed Karen Khachanov in the quarter-final on Tuesday and the winner of that clash will face either Casper Ruud or Matteo Berrettini for a place in the 2022 US Open final.
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