Nick Kyrgios is having quite the year. Having reached the Wimbledon final last month, he continued his fine form in Washington as he became the first player to win the men’s singles and doubles titles in the same year.
This success in the singles ended a drought of three years without an ATP title for the Australian, who has turned his career around and enjoyed his most successful year to date in 2022. On home soil, he won the doubles title at the Australian Open, but it was his run at Wimbledon where we saw the best of Kyrgios.
Playing right on the edge, he produced some wonderful tennis but ultimately came up short against Novak Djokovic in the final. However, the next two tournaments provide the perfect opportunity for the Australian to become a Grand Slam champion. At the US Open, which starts at the end of this month, the unbeatable obstacle that was Djokovic currently will not be playing, due to his vaccination status.
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You must be fully vaccinated to enter the US and those rules seem unlikely to change ahead of the 29th August. Although the Wimbledon champion won’t be around, the world number one will. The US Open has ruled that Daniil Medvedev can play, after Wimbledon banned all Russian and Belarusian athletes following Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Having beaten Djokovic in the 2021 final, the reigning champion will be desperate to defend his crown, especially having been locked out of the SW19 event. But there’s something special going on with Kyrgios this year. He beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in London and has shown before he can produce some spectacular displays on the hard court, which is why in this form he cannot be ruled out.
No male player has ever done what he did this weekend. Just hours after winning the singles title against Yoshihito Nishioka, he strolled back out onto the court to win the doubles. That shows mental resilience and desire not usually associated with the temperamental Australian.
Speaking openly about his mental health struggles on social media earlier this year was an indicator that he was in a better place, but it also shows maturity and makes him a role model for others struggling.
“Most would assume I was doing OK mentally or enjoying my life ... it was one of my darkest periods,” Kyrgios wrote on Instagram in February.
“If you look closely, on my right arm you can see my self harm. I was having suicidal thoughts and was literally struggling to get out of bed, let alone play in front of millions.
“I’m proud to say I’ve completely turned myself around and have a completely different outlook on everything, I don’t take one moment for granted. I want you to be able to reach your full potential and smile. This life is beautiful.”
Clearly those issues had affected his game in the past and although he still struggles to contain his anger in moments on the court, on the whole what we are seeing is somebody who has progressed and matured as a tennis player.
However, the assault allegations held against him by his ex-girlfriend Chiara Passari cannot be ignored and will need clearing up before he can fully focus on his tennis, and he is due in court just days before the start of the US Open.
But if he is proven innocent, he has the chance to go well in New York. If he can’t end his wait for a Grand Slam in the big apple, perhaps a home tournament in the New Year could see Kyrgios lift major silverware. This form is sensational, and surely now it is only a matter of time before the Aussie finally turns massive potential into Grand Slam trophies.
*18+ | Be Gamble Aware