Nick Kyrgios’ career-best run of form has prompted an inevitable debate around one big question — is he a legitimate contender to win the US Open.
The 27-year-old Australian made history by winning both the singles and doubles titles at the ATP event in Washington, a month after he reached his first grand slam final at Wimbledon.
Kyrgios’ ranking has jumped to 37 and a strong performance at next week’s Montreal Masters could clinch him an all-important seeding at the year’s final grand slam in New York.
The enigmatic Aussie caught many by surprise with his run at the All England club and how he’s backed up that performance has prompted discussion about whether Kyrgios may now be emerging as the grand slam force many have always thought he could become.
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Former world No.1 Andy Roddick is among those who believe the hype is real when it comes to Kyrgios’ prospects at Flushing Meadows, where Wimbledon champion Nick Kyrgios and injury-riddle Rafael Nadal may be absent.
“It’s a big, big deal to me that he goes into Washington, which is a pretty big event in the lead-up to the U.S. Open,” Roddick told Steve Weissman of Tennis Channel on The Rich Eisen Show.
“Brutal conditions….To go through singles and doubles and not to tap out mentally or physically is a big, big sign.
“I think it puts him into the top two, maybe three, favorites for the U.S. Open.”
Stuart Fraser, writing for The Times, said many of Kyrgios’ rivals will be relieved he is on course to be seeded at the US Open — removing him as a nightmare early round potential opponent — and agreed Kyrgios was shaping up as a legitimate force in the singles.
“Whether Kyrgios is seeded or not at the US Open, he will be considered a contender after showing at Wimbledon that he has what it takes to come through several consecutive matches in the extended best-of-five-set format,” Fraser said.
“A potential second-round meeting with Medvedev in Montreal this week would help to determine where exactly he will sit on the bookmakers’ list.”
Tennis Podcast co-host Matt Roberts said Kyrgios’ Washington performance showed he was likely to build on his success at Wimbledon, rather than it being a flash in the pan.
“I know it’s the first time he’s won a title this season but he has been playing very well whenever he’s played and I do think, I go back a lot to that quote he gave, kind of jokingly, straight after Wimbledon but it was serious at the same time, where he said that if he’d won Wimbledon he might have lost his motivation,” Roberts said.
“I actually think that losing that final, in a way, is probably the best thing in terms of prolonging his career. I think he’s got a little bit of a taste for it now in terms of wanting to see what happens when he properly dedicates himself and really does put his mind to it.
“I think he wants to find out how good he can get. A week like this, he played players that were kind of comfortable for him I think. He’s still only beaten Tsitisapas as a top 10 player in this run. We haven’t really seen him play those absolute top players I suppose.
“I’m interested to see next week when he plays potentially Daniil Medvedev in potentially his second match in Canada.
“That would be a fantastic test for both of them. it’s kind of tough to judge just exactly where Kyrgios’ level is but — an unmotivated Kyrgios is a dangerous player. A motivated Kyrgios is a different thing altogether.”
Co-host David Law warned, however, that history was not on Kyrgios’ side when it came to going all the way at slams.
“I think he is playing the most professional, consistent tennis of his career. Whether that means anything we’ll have to wait and see,” Law said.
“… I still think, best of five sets where you don’t have the help of the surface, he is going to malfunction.
“He is going to get in his own way. Somebody is going to hang on in a match, players peak at grand slams. He’s going to play against players who are playing their best stuff at that tournament and he is going to come apart at the seams, most likely, because that is the history.
James Gray, writing for iSport, agreed despite acknolwedging the Kyrgios hype train “might never have had such a head of steam up as it currently does”.
“Entertainment has never been Kyrgios’s problem: attainment has,” Gray wrote.
“Has he finally got over that hump? There are certainly results in his 2022 record to suggest he might have done, beating Stefanos Tsitsipas (twice), Casper Ruud and Andrey Rublev, but his record against the top 20 in 2022 remains six wins and seven losses.For that kind of form to equal victory in New York, Kyrgios will need some help from the draw.
“He is likely to get some as well, since his world ranking will now almost certainly earn him a seeded spot, protecting him from the world’s top 30 players in the opening two rounds. And circumstance – injury to Alexander Zverev and the unvaccinated status of Novak Djokovic – will protect him from two of top 10 for the duration of the tournament.”