Kyrgios: „Hitting with Roger was unreal“

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Nick Kyrgios belongs to a group of young guns who are touted to make life more difficult for the established names in the near future. The big-serving 19 year-old from Australia is regarded as a great talent and supposed to be next in line of many high-flying tennis players from down under. Currently ranked No. 160 in the world, Kyrgios received a wild card for the French Open where he lost in straight sets to Canada’s Milos Raonic. „Milos was too good for me, but I’ll go away and get better“, Kyrgios told LetsTalkTennis after his 1st round exit.

A real highlight, however, awaited Kyrgios in advance of his main draw appearance at Roland Garros. Kyrgios got invited by Roger Federer to spend a week practising with him in Zürich. In this interview with LetsTalkTennis, Kyrgios talks about his time with Roger in Switzerland, the rocky road to being a pro and reveals the names of his best friends on tour.

What was the toughest aspect of your transition from junior to pro?

I still feel I am in that transition really, until I am well established inside the top 100 I would say that I have not fully transferred. The obvious thing is going down to the smaller events again although I have managed to move through the levels pretty quickly. The men’s game is so much more physical too and I’ve had to work hard and keep working hard to improve my physicals.

Have you set any specific goals for 2014?

Top 100 to start and then a solid crack at the top 50. It’s easier said than done but you have to aim high in order to create high standards of yourself.

As a tennis player you travel a lot. What do you miss most about home?

My family, my friends, my mums cooking and my dogs. I also miss being able to shoot some hoops with my mates.

Who are your best friends on tour?

A lot of the Aussies, Thanasi Kokkinakis is one of my best mates. I’m close with James Duckworth too as well as Dustin Brown and also Gael Monfils.

You played some great matches in front of a great crowd at the Australian Open this year. Can you describe what it was like to play in Australia in front of so many fans?

Ah man, it was unreal, that crowd was made for me. I love a big noisy crowd and the atmosphere was electric. I have to say it was the best crowd I’ve ever played in front of and I look forward to more of it. I encourage and embrace that sort of thing and I think it’s great for the sport of tennis.

What would you consider the best win of your career so far?

That’s a tough one, I’ve had some decent wins so far but I would have to say my win against Radek Stepanek was pretty special to me. (2013 French Open 1st round)

In advance to the French Open you spent a week practising with Roger Federer. How did that come about?

Someone in Roger’s team contacted Josh Eagle (Australian Tennis coach at Kyrgios‘ Munich training base) and he helped arrange it. I was headed to Munich anyway so it was an easy detour.

What impressed you most about him?

The intensity Roger brings to the court is unreal, you don’t feel it or see it when he’s on TV but hitting with him was unreal. He works until he is satisfied, has nailed something rather than stopping because the drill or exercise has come to an end. He strives for perfection and often attains it.

How did you like Zurich and Switzerland? Did you get to see anything other than the tennis courts?

Unfortunately I only saw the courts, the hotel and the coffee shop that Roger took me too. I felt comfortable in Switzerland though, it’s a beautiful country with beautiful people and I look forward to going back. Hopefully Roger will invite me again!

What are your next tournaments? Do you plan on playing Wimbledon qualifying?

I will head to Nottingham to play on the grass. Then most likely Queens and then either Wimbledon qualifying or if I am granted a wild card in to the main draw I will play Eastbourne, Wimbledon and then Newport before heading home for a well-earned rest!