Federer: “Kyrgios going to be tough to beat”

Published by Vivienne Christie

Wimbledon warning: Roger Federer is wary of Nick Kyrgios, an occasional practice partner; Getty Images
Seven-time champion Roger Federer believes that Nick Kyrgios, the No.20 seed, is a legitimate title threat at Wimbledon.

As Nick Kyrgios looks to become the first Australian champion at Wimbledon in 15 years, he has a powerful believer in seven-time champion Roger Federer.

At a pre-Wimbledon event in London, the Swiss star noted that if Kyrgios stays mentally and physically strong, he could claim a first Grand Slam title at the All England Club.

“He’s one of top contenders,” the world No.5 and reigning Australian Open champion told AAP. “He’s got a great game on grass. He’s going to be really tough to beat.”

Asked what advice he would deliver to the 22-year-old Australian, Federer offered that Kyrgios should: “Just played focused, play inspired and believe in himself.”

History certainly favours Federer’s view. In three appearances at Wimbledon, Kyrgios has amassed a 10-3 match-winning record, including a quarterfinal run in 2014 that delivered a centre court win over then world No.1 Rafael Nadal.

Still, just 19 years old at the time, Kyrgios saved nine match points in the second round against world No.19 Richard Gasquet.

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The following year, Kyrgios saved match points en route to a second Grand Slam quarterfinal at the Australian Open. It made him the first teenager to reach the last eight at separate major quarterfinals since Federer in 2001.

There have been signs of similar form from Kyrgios in 2017, including multiple wins over two-time Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic and a stunning Miami semifinal against Federer in Miami, where he pushed the eventual champion to three tiebreak sets.

“He’s played great this season when he’s on, so I hope we’ll see that Nick this week – or the next couple of weeks,” Federer noted.

A challenge for Kyrgios could be injury: troubled by physical ailments throughout the cay court season, the Australian fell heavily while competing against Donald Young at Queen’s less than two weeks ago, forcing his withdrawal in the first round.

“To win the tournament, I mean look, he’s never been to the semis of a slam, (just) a quarter. So that’s the next hurdle for him,” Federer added.

But Kyrgios, the No.20 seed at the 2017 Championships, is determined to break through and his confidence was boosted by a straight-sets victory over Philipp Kohlschreiber at the Boodles exhibition.

“Some would say I’m probably not in the best shape this year to go in and expect something, but I feel like if I’m serving well and I’m playing the right style of tennis, the sky’s the limit at Wimbledon,” Kyrgios said.



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