Where there is a swagger, there is also a driven, focused individual with the work ethic of a champion.
Nicholas Hilmy Kyrgios, or, the renowned Aussie youngster, Nick Kyrgios, has been touted as the next big thing of ATP tennis, ever since he broke into the scene courtesy his maiden Grand Slam quarter-final run. At 20, with little experience by his side, the Quarterfinal run at Wimbledon last year, is so far the high point of his career. In the current state of men’s tennis, where, young teenage players drawing attention is a rare scene, Nick Kyrgios broke the monotony and enjoyed a rather sensational 2014. In fact, his sudden uprise in ATP tennis paved the way for other up and coming teenagers like Borna Coric, Alexander Zverev, and a few others.
The Journey of Nick Kyrgios
Soon after turning pro in 2012, a 17-year old Nick enjoyed success. He had a fairly successful 2013 in the men’s tour, courtesy some good results in ITF Futures and ATP Challengers. An unexpected victory at a challenger tournament in Sydney rocketed his rankings up the ladder, as he improved more than 200 places to be placed at #328. Continued good results, helped him earn a Wild Card at Roland Garros, where he won his maiden ATP World Tour match against veteran Radek Stepanek in 3 difficult tiebreaks, before losing to Marin Cilic. He carried on his good form till the end of that year, to end the year at world no 182, aged only 18.
Talent never fails to speak for itself
Kyrgios’ unorthodox skills with the racket, his uncanny forehands and his never-ending thirst for Nick-esque hot shots have done a whole world of good. Standing tall at 6’4” (193 cm), Nick is a natural athlete. Nick’s on-court swagger has only helped emphasize on the fact that he loves to showboat – be it with his cool Gen Y style, or with his flamboyant tennis; he loves to draw the attention of the cheerful spectators. Based primarily on his charismatic exuberance and “I don’t give a damn” attitude, Nick enjoyed, as stated earlier, a sensational 2014. He entered the coveted Wimbledon Championships as a Wild Card, banking on the experience of winning a few Challengers that year, and enthralled everybody associated with the tennis world as he saved 9 Match Points in the 2nd round to defeat talented Frenchman Richard Gasquet.
“This boy is meant for greatness”, the social media chanted non-stop on July 1, 2014.
Nick Kyrgios overwhelmed the crowd at Center Court at Wimbledon from the very word “go” as he set out on the court to face then #1 Rafael Nadal. Stakes were high on the in-form Nadal, but, banking on his ginormous self-belief, Nick pulled out an upset. In 4 sets, he defeated Rafael Nadal 7-6(5) 5-7 7-6(5) 6-3 in 2 hours and 58 minutes.
He created a few records by winning this match
- 1st teenager to beat a World #1 at a slam since Nadal defeated Roger Federer in the ’05 French Open.
- 1st player outside top 100 to beat a World #1 at a major since #193 Andrei Olhovskiy beat Jim Courier in the ’92 Wimbledon.
- Became the 1st player to reach Wimbledon QF on debut since Florian Mayer last did it in 2004.
How Nick Kyrgios made it to the top stage?
Nick started displaying his flamboyant skills ever since he embarked on a junior career, before turning pro. Beginning to play professionally on the Juniors circuit at a very little age of 13, Nick Kyrgios got his first tournament win at the age of 15 at a Grade 4 event, in Fiji. It took him more than a year and a half, to put up a good result at a Grade A event when he lost a close semifinal in Osaka to French young gun Lucas Pouille. Continued success on the doubles circuit meant that his overall ranking always was getting better. On October 28, 2012, he won his first Grade A event in singles at Osaka, and never looked to cease his valiant run, as he went on to the Junior Australian Open Championships at the age of 17. His arrival at the top spot in the Juniors’ circuit, aptly complimented by his nickname ‘The Wild Thing’, raised his stakes for a good future. He continued to enjoy success on the Juniors’ circuit, winning the doubles title at Wimbledon, until he was no more a junior player.
Expectations and Pressure on Nick Kyrgios
Born to Greek father and Malaysian mother, Nick has been touted as the next big superstar of tennis. At a time, when Aussie tennis was at an all-time low, with, Lleyton Hewitt giving in to age-barriers and hopeful Aussie Bernard Tomic in a disgruntled state for quite some time, Nick Kyrgios’ arrival into the scene, was a breath of relief for Aussie fans. His blustering display of tennis, his on and off court floridity drew critical acclaim and earned applause from all over the world. As straightforward as he can be, Nick is unnerved when he opens his mind about embracing the pressure of being a rising youngster.
“I feel, me and Thanasi (another highly-touted Aussie young gun) have the ability to do something special in the sport but it’s a bit early to say that. We need to stay grounded, stay humble and keep working hard”, Nick Kyrgios states.
He is well poised on winning first major as soon as he can since he already believed that he could win the Australian Open earlier this year.
2015, Surging ahead!
Kyrgios enjoyed to continue ‘rare teenage success’ this year too, as he rallied from 2 sets to loved down, twice at the Australian Open, and advanced to the quarter finals, thus becoming the first teenager in 14 years to have multiple Grand Slam quarter-finals by his name, since the great Roger Federer did it in 2001. He lost to 6th seed Andy Murray in a rather disappointing display of tennis. Injuries made life difficult for him again as he was sidelined for quite a few weeks this year. Now, as he looks to leave behind his teenage days, he sets his eyes on achieving bigger and better dreams with his unorthodox tennis.
Like his mother said, “Nick was tubby because he didn’t like to run. But that helped him hit super hard in a place where the other guy couldn’t hit it back to him”, Nick’s hard-hitting skills, hopefully, will get even better and he will achieve all that he wants to.