Serena Williams' ex-coach disagrees with Nick Kyrgios' take on ex-Slam champions

Kyrgios suggested that past champions such as Pete Sampras wouldn't have as much success as they did if they played in this era.

by Dzevad Mesic
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Serena Williams' ex-coach disagrees with Nick Kyrgios' take on ex-Slam champions
© Getty Images Sport - Julian Finney

Rick Macci has seemingly responded to Nick Kyrgios' take on past champions as Serena Williams' former coach is certain that players such as Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras and Jimmy Connors would be great in these times as well.

Kyrgios, the 2022 Wimbledon runner-up, revealed in an interview with The Athletic that he is not a big fan of hearing former players break down the game. While explaining his point, Kyrgios said "the game was so slow back then" and suggested that players such as Sampras and Boris Becker wouldn't really have as much success as they did if they played in this era.

"Was asked if past Grand Slam champions like Agassi, Sampras, Connors could be right in there with the top players today. 100%. Everybody has to understand any champion in the past is wired different mentally as they have delivered the mail on time at every Grand Slam address," Macci wrote on X.

Macci disagrees with Kyrgios' take

Kyrgios, who has a very big and powerful game, thinks the times have changed and tennis has evolved as a sport. Specifically, Kyrgios mentioned the serve-and-volley style as the style that wouldn't land a player much success today.

“Sometimes it’s hard to watch these old heads kind of break down the game all the time for new fans. It’s like some of the stuff they say doesn’t make sense. Jim Courier is really good, the way he articulates things, but some of these other people, I’m just like, ‘What are you talking about?’.

Like, ‘How do you know?’ The game was so slow back then. I’ve watched Boris Becker and I’m not saying they weren’t good in their time, but to say that they would be just as good now, it’s absurd.

A big serve back then was like 197 to 200 (km/h). People like me, we serve 220 consistently, to corners. It’s a whole different ball game. I’m not saying they wouldn’t have found their way … but serve and volley, to do it all the time now, you need to be serving 220 because if you serve anything less than 220, bro, [Novak] Djokovic eats you alive.

He eats you alive. Bro, Lleyton Hewitt destroyed Sampras one year at the US Open. That was the first prototype of someone who could return serve. He made Sampras look miserable. And what would Djokovic do to someone like Sampras? It would be a cleanup. If Hewitt was doing it, Djokovic would destroy him. He would eat him alive," Kyrgios told The Athletic.

Serena Williams Nick Kyrgios Pete Sampras
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