Aussie Nick Kyrgios is ready for biggest challenge of his career. Image courtesy of: couriermail.com.au
At just 19 years of age, Australian prodigy Nick Kyrgios is beginning to take the tennis world by storm. Everyone in Australia knew who the kid was, but after making it through to the fourth round of Wimbledon on Saturday, the youngster from Canberra will soon be a household name. But his fourth round match-up is definitely a David v Goliath battle. For his dream to continue at the world’s biggest tournament, the tenacious teenager has to topple World No.1 Rafael Nadal .
Starting last year at 828 in the world, Kyrgios has soared up the rankings, with two second round eliminations in both the French Open (2013) and the Australian Open (2014). After beating fellow wildcard Jiri Vesely in four sets, Kyrgios is set to be vaulted into the world’s top 100, as his career moves to another level on and off the court. While he still has a lot to learn, the young Aussie definitely seems to have an old head on his shoulders. Dropping the first set 6-3 might have knocked his confidence around a bit, but he didn’t let it get to him. Using his massive serve to advantage (finishing with 26 aces), Kyrgios fought back, winning the next three sets 6-3, 7-5, 6-2. Collapsing to the court in Nadal-esque fashion, the elation on the kid's face said it all.
But he is about to face the biggest challenge of his young career. Defeating World No.13 Richard Gasquet in the second round was only a glimpse of what he can expect when he goes toe-to-toe with Spain’s 'Raging Bull'. Nadal is by far the best player in the world at the moment. Coming off another Grand Slam win in June (French Open), he is playing better than ever. The only problem for Rafa at the moment - slow starts. He hasn't won the first set in any of his outings thus far at the All England Championships. But he obviously just needs a little time to warm-up, because once he find his groove, there is no stopping him. Against Mikhail Kukushkin on Saturday he dropped the first set 7-6, but when he stepped back onto the court for the second set, the Spaniard put the foot down, dropping only 3 games in as many sets (6-1, 6-1, 6-1). 'Raging Rafa' has his eyes focused solely on the prize, and look out anyone who stands in his way!
Kyrgios has nothing to lose. He has already exceeded all expectations in London. His youth and enthusiasm will only go so far. With Nadal aiming for his third Wimbledon title, all we can say is “Good luck kid”.