Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon 2014 files: Australian teenager Nick Kyrgios has hit a winning streak on grass but playing Rafa Nadal will expose how green his technique still is
Kyrgios has weapons – and guts. But Nadal will come at him like a Spanish raging bull
Monday 30 June 2014
This is the sort of match you imagine as a kid out hitting on your local court, playing the world No 1 in the second week of a Slam. And you know what? It’s not long since Nick Kyrgios was a kid playing on his local court. Hell, Nick Kyrgios is a kid. The boy is 19 and he is going to play against Rafa Nadal for a place in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon. Holy cow, it’s a dream come true.
All of Australia will be watching and from what I’ve seen of him – and nobody outside those closest to him has seen that much because this kid is green – he does not look the type to be fazed by what awaits him this afternoon. He looks confident and he plays pretty damn confident too. “I have nothing to lose,” he says, and that is the only way he can play on Tuesday – get out there and fire those weapons, kid.
Kyrgios has weapons, a big serve and a big forehand from a powerful guy who is 6ft 4in. And he has guts too. Look at those nine match points saved in the second round against Richard Gasquet, look at lasting seven minutes short of four hours against a wily old pro who knows every trick in the tennis book. Kyrgios lost the first two sets and still came out on top. You take your hat off to that.
Then in the next round – when it would be so easy for a kid to collapse in a heap – he comes through again. Three-love down in the opening set and you could see the ground opening up in front of him but Kyrgios clearly has balls. He came back from a set down to take that one. So in his very first Wimbledon he has played three, won three, making it 11 wins in a row on grass after coming through qualifying to win the Challenger in Nottingham and earn himself a wild card to the big one. This is a surface he can play on.
But this afternoon is a whole different ball game. Nadal will be right at him, coming at him like a raging Spanish bull, and I’m not sure the kid has the footwork yet to deal with a player of Nadal’s class. He will need to move better than he has ever moved before. Get the dancing shoes on, Nicky baby.
Video: Preview of day eight at Wimbledon 2014
Nadal was tested in week one. He lost the opening set in each of his first three rounds. It seemed as if he needed to shake himself down for each round. Once that first set was out of the way then the rest has gone as you would have expected. I like a player being given a good run-out, it keeps them on their toes. But it is always a balancing act – you don’t want to use up too much juice too early in a two-week Slam. There is one hell of a lot of tennis still to be played. Roger Federer has had three three-setters in a row and has lost just 23 games to Nadal’s 45.
I have to give the final word to Kei Nishikori, who we all love so much at the IMG Academy. The Japanese dynamo had to kick his heels all Sunday with that one deciding set against Simone Bolelli to come. That does not make for an easy night’s sleep but you did it, boy, you did it. Well done.
Rafael Nadal Tale of the tape Nick Kyrgios
Spanish Nationality Australian
28 Age 19
Majorca Residence Canberra
6ft 1in Height 6ft 4in
Left-handed Plays Right-handed
1 World ranking 144
64 Career titles 0
$70.5m Prize-money $235,084
39-7 Wimbledon record 3-0
Winner (2008, 2010) Wimbledon best Fourth round (2014)
0 Head-to-head 0
Bolly’s prediction Nadal in three
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