Nick Kyrgios Proving His Big-Time Potential Against Tennis’ Elite Players – Bleacher Report

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Nick Kyrgios is proving his big-time potential against the ATP World Tour’s elite players. 

The youngest player in the Top 20, Kyrgios, 21, is in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Madrid Open after impressive wins over No. 5 Stan Wawrinka and Pablo Cuevas. 

Kyrgios moved to 8-13 against Top 10 players en route. His winning percentage (.400) against the Top 10 is better than that of Wawrinka (.358), David Ferrer (.325), Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (.348), Kei Nishikori (.375) and Marin Cilic (.256). 

Former ATP player and ESPN Commentator Brad Gilbert tweeted that Kyrgios is headed for the Top Five. When asked on Twitter which young star—Nishikori, Milos Raonic or Kyrgios—posed the biggest threat to No. 1 Novak Djokovic, Gilbert chose Kyrgios, whom he likes to call “Kyrgios George.”

Djokovic has never played Kyrgios. However, Djokovic has acknowledged his talent. He told Jim Slater of AFP (via Yahoo Sports): “He’s young but he’s managing to perform his best in the big matches lately. He has got the firepower from more or less every corner. He has got one of the best serves. I think he’s picking his spots very efficiently. His second serve is very impressive in tough moments.”

The numbers underscore Kyrgios big-time potential. The 21-year-old is checking off all the boxes on the soon-to-be elite player card. He’s marching up the rankings and achieving milestones. With his win over Wawrinka, Kyrgios became the youngest player to reach the quarterfinals in Madrid since Juan Martin del Potro in 2009, according to the ATP. 

He’s also beating his contemporaries. In their first meeting, Kyrgios defeated Borna Coric 6-4, 6-4 at the Millennium Estoril Open in April. Earlier that month, he knocked off Raonic in the quarterfinals in Miami. 

After that match Raonic told ATP staff: “I think he has a big, big amount of talent. … He probably has one the biggest upsides in his group. It’s about putting it together and making it count week after week.”

In February, at the Open 13 Provence, Kyrgios defeated Richard Gasquet and Tomas Berdych back-to-back without facing a break point.  

Australian tennis fans think Kyrgios could end the country’s 47-year title drought at the French OpenLiam Fitzgibbon wrote for Fox Sports Australia that Kyrgios is the country’s best hope at the French Open since Rod Laver. 

Going into this season, Kyrgios was 8-10 on clay. Going into his quarterfinal match against Nishikori on Friday, Kyrgios has just one loss on the surface this year.

When asked about his chances on clay, Kyrgios told reporters: “I thought my clay season last year was pretty good. I had the biggest win of my career. I’m confident I can play on that surface. I’m just going to not change anything I usually do.”

Retired Australian tennis doubles great Todd Woodbridge told the Sydney Morning Herald‘s Kyle Mackey-Laws that he believes in Kyrgios’ performance on clay: “Clay is a tough surface, but he’s showing everybody that he can outplay people on every surface, and that for me has been a real highlight.”

Nick Kyrgios Proving His Big-Time Potential Against Tennis’ Elite Players – Bleacher Report