Sport Nick Kyr­gios: ‘I wasn’t as scared of Rafa and Roger as I was Andy Mur­ray’

The Guardian Australia - - Front Page - Page 21

The first time I met Andy was when he just ab­so­lutely de­stroyed me in Toronto [in the Masters 1000 event there in 2014]. I lost 2 and 2, I got de­stroyed. Ever since then we’ve been mes­sag­ing and hang­ing out a bit. It seems like for­ever that I’ve known him, I feel like I’ve known him for a long time, but that was the first time I met him, on the court.

We just had a lot of ban­ter be­tween each other. There would be times in the locker room that we would be say­ing the most out­ra­geous things and there would be about 20 peo­ple in the locker room just lis­ten­ing to us go back and forth for about half an hour. We knew when we were to­gether it was go­ing to be a lot of fun and a lot of ban­ter and some good vibes. He’s hi­lar­i­ous, he’s so funny.

His ten­nis gets enough recog­ni­tion. He was an un­be­liev­able player. He was one of the tough­est peo­ple I ever played against. But I don’t think he gets enough credit for how he was off the court, just as a nor­mal per­son. He was so hum­ble, he was so down to earth, he just loved to have some fun, he loved to have a good time.

I gen­uinely got ex­cited to be at the courts and maybe see him dur­ing the day and have some lunch with him and just catch up. He made your day bet­ter.

He took me un­der his wing when I was young, but then when he knew that I was kind of a free spirit, do­ing what­ever I want to do, it just be­came more of a friendly-type re­la­tion­ship. When we were to­gether, we never talked about ten­nis. There was just so much shittalk­ing and ban­ter, it was so good.

Ev­ery­one knew that when we were to­gether it was just good vibes, ev­ery­one knew that it was so laid-back. It was so easy to be around him. It was awe­some and I’m go­ing to miss him a lot.

When I played him the first cou­ple of times, I just felt so young on the court. I al­most was beaten be­fore I went out there. When I played Roger [Fed­erer], when I played Rafa [Nadal], I wasn’t as scared of those guys as I was of Andy. I knew that his game was a lot tougher for a guy like me to play, I knew he was go­ing to make a lot of balls, so I felt so young when I played him the first cou­ple of times. I didn’t re­ally be­lieve in my phys­i­cal­ity.

I knew that I couldn’t play long ral­lies with him and I knew I couldn’t last against him. I would have loved to have played him when he was in his prime as I am now, it would maybe have been a much more com­pet­i­tive match.

I’m not say­ing I would have won. To get one win over him [in the first round of the Ae­gon Cham­pi­onships at Queen’s Club last sum­mer] was good and I beat him [in 2016] at the Hop­man Cup [the mixed team event in Perth] – I know that’s not an of­fi­cial event – but I did play well there.

I al­ways tell him, I look at [No­vak] Djokovic, I look at how many grand slams he has won and the re­sults he has had and I’m just think­ing … I al­ways tell him: ‘Dude, you’re so much bet­ter than Djokovic, you should have a way bet­ter ca­reer.’ I give him shit about it all the time. I’m al­ways telling him that, you’re a tough player to play against. But he def­i­nitely had my num­ber on the court.

He played while three of the great­est of all-time played [Fed­erer, Nadal and Djokovic], which is never easy, and guys like Stan [Wawrinka] in grand slams al­ways step up to the plate. But Andy got the most out of his ca­reer, he ticked all the boxes, he did ev­ery­thing to the ab­so­lute T, so it’s mis­for­tune for him that his body kind of let him down. But he’s not go­ing to re­gret any­thing that he did.

It would have been cool to play dou­bles with him once. I’m not sure where it could be and sin­gles is a pri­or­ity for him but you never know.

Who knows, maybe it could hap­pen at Wim­ble­don. Fingers crossed, if his body stays good, I would love to play dou­bles with him there. I’ve never played dou­bles at Wim­ble­don be­fore and I think it would be cool.

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