Former world No 1 Marat Safin has urged Nick Kyrgios to “be a warrior, not an entertainer”. While talking about the potential of Nick Kyrgios, Safin said – “I think he’s a great warrior, he just needs to face the tough moments and once he does he could have a great career.”
Marat Safin is set for a return to Australia for January’s ATP Cup as Russia Captain. Safin feels that he can relate to Kyrgios in more ways than one. For the same reason, he is hopeful and sympathetic for the man.
“I’m not judging and I know it’s sensitive, and you hear three million times that if he gets serious he can be a top 10 player. But I think he tries to hide his doubts by joking around,” said Safin.
Safin’s own career antics are noteworthy in this context. One of the most infamous moments from his career was when he “mooned” the crowd to celebrate a point. The former Australian Open champion admits that he had serious temper problems.
However, Safin was able to defy his on-court temper and theatrics to win two grand slam titles.
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Nick Kyrgios is considered to be one of the most talented players on the planet. However, he has also been scrutinized for underperforming and being inconsistent. He has also faced scrutiny for his on-court behaviour and application. He is currently facing a 16-month ban and a $25000 for aggravated behaviour.
It will be untrue to say he has been completely unable to convert potential into performance. World Number 30 has been as high as 13th in world rankings.
Safin further added that Kyrgios needs to learn to lean on the crowds. “They’re unbelievable, amazing and know how to live the life – it’s a great combination to play the best tennis”, Safin said while talking about the Australian crowd.
Safin further added that he knows its difficult to deal with pressure. However, he explained that to improve you need to make fewer mistakes as you grow up. Safin believes that the suspended sentence could be the reality check that Kyrgios required.
“Time goes fast and he’s not 18 anymore, the years fly, if you don’t wake up now, he’ll look back, be 35 years old and that’s it.”
Australia will face Greece, Canada and Germany in Brisbane from January 3. Kyrgios will partner with Alex de Minaur.
While on the other hand, Russia will play Italy, USA and Norway in Perth. Sydney will also be hosting the likes of Andy Murray’s Great Britain and Dominic Thiem’s Austria.
Do you think Nick Kyrgios can overcome his temper problems and fulfil his potential?