Nick Kyrgios has a short response for John McEnroe, who recently discussed the intriguing possibility of a part-time coaching role with him.
McEnroe has been a fierce critic of the mercurial Kyrgios at times, questioning his mental toughness, but he has also been a big admirer of his talent. Commentating at the French Open, McEnroe said that, if he were to take any part-time coaching job: “The guy that would make the most sense on paper would be Nick Kyrgios because we are two head cases.”
He did add: “But mentally we are a bit wacky.”
Asked about that prospect ahead of the Aegon Championships at Queen’s Club in London, Kyrgios was less than impressed.
“He’s dreaming,” Kyrgios snapped.
At No. 20 in the world, Kyrgios has been usurped by fellow young guns Alex Zverev and Dominic Thiem in the race for a spot the world’s top 10. Twenty-year-old German Zverev, 23-year-old Austrian Thiem and Kyrgios, 22, are widely viewed as potential next superstars of the sport, with Zverev stamping his credentials by beating Novak Djokovic in the Italian Open final, but the Australian denies feeling any inferiority as he heads towards Wimbledon.
“I’ve never lost to him so I don’t look at it and think ‘it should have been me’,” Kyrgios said of Zverev.
“He’s a great player and does everything right. He’s very professional. His consistency seems to be pretty good. He’s playing deep through tournaments. He’s so young and has amazing potential and is going to be contending for grand slams. But has he made the quarterfinal of a grand slam? No. I’ve made two.”
Kyrgios’s brilliance and on-court antics make him a box office draw in world tennis, with Queen’s Club tournament preferring him to world No. 1 Andy Murray to front the competition’s main draw on Saturday.
But the Canberran, for all his ability, admits that he is still challenged to retain focus.
“I am not thinking about top five [(ranking] at the moment,” he said. “I am just trying to get through every day, trying to play and put as much effort in as I can, because I know when I start thinking ahead — how much time I have ahead, goals and stuff — I’ll start losing motivation and won’t try.”
Kyrgios, meanwhile, said that fellow Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis, on the comeback trail after injury wiped out his 2016 season and dropped him from No. 65 to No. 993 in the world, could become a top-10 player.
The 21-year-old South Australian has been handed a wildcard for Queen’s, where he’ll play Milos Raonic first up.
“Hitting with him today, his level is so high,” Kyrgios said. “As soon as he gets his body right and as soon as he gets some more luck, he’ll be right up there with Zverev and Thiem. “If he’s healthy he’ll produce. Look at what he did against [Kei] Nishikori at the French Open. He took him to four, nearly five sets in only his second match back.”