Jim Courier: 'Nick Kyrgios has to improve physical strength to chase Slams'

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Jim Courier: 'Nick Kyrgios has to improve physical strength to chase Slams'

Following a great start of 2018 season that saw him winning the first title on the home soil in Brisbane, Nick Kyrgios was not on the same level in the rest of the year, struggling with right elbow and hip injuries that reduced his abilities and motivation.

2019 brought nothing new and Nick won just two matches in the first three tournaments, heading to Acapulco with low expectations and proving his critics wrong after winning the fifth ATP title in a career. Ranked 72nd, Kyrgios defeated three top-10 players en route to the trophy, saving three match points against Rafael Nadal and ousting John Isner and Alexander Zverev to become the lowest-ranked player with three top-10 wins at the same event since the start of the ATP Tour in 1990.

Almost retiring in the first set against Nadal due to knee troubles, Nick endured all the efforts to go all the way and earn a much-needed title that propelled him towards the better ranking positions again. With the momentum on his side, Kyrgios will try to shift an excellent form into Indian Wells where he could face Novak Djokovic in the third round, although we should watch his physical shape closely and will he be able to stay on the winning path.

A former world no. 1 and multiple Grand Slam champion Jim Courier believes Nick has to improve his physical strength to challenge the guys from the top at Major tournaments, possessing the abilities to match them on the court when he is focused and determined to show his best, which is not always the case.

"If we expect this guy to win Majors now, I think that's a bridge too far unless he addresses the physical gap between him and the other guys," Courier said at Indian Wells. "But from a talent, shotmaking show point, he showed there is no gap there because that was a tough draw he went through.

Those are pressure-free matches for him. He has that first strike ability to take the racquet out of their hands with his serve and then he can shock-absorb with his backhand. He's dangerous but he's also dangerous to himself at times in the matches on the outside court when he goes walkabout as an Aussie can, and he's not as focused. Big picture, it's nice to see him engaged. Hope Acapulco title is a kick starter for him."