Australian tennis legend Rod Laver acknowledged that Nick Kyrgios has the game to compete for the biggest accolades but added he felt the Australian simply didn't believe he could beat Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final.
Kyrgios, 27, has been playing the tennis of his life this season as he reached his first Grand Slam singles final at Wimbledon. In his first Grand Slam singles final, Kyrgios put up a good performance versus Novak Djokovic but the Serb found a way to beat the Australian in four sets.
"Kyrgios has all the ability in the world, every shot that you could wish to make," Laver said of Kyrgios, per Tennis365. “He’s probably one of the biggest servers in the game. He’s accurate, he can play under pressure.
I was thrilled that he reached the final, but he didn’t think he could win Wimbledon. In my mind, I said, ‘Hey, put in your best performance. You may surprise yourself’. A month or two later, I said: ‘You can win some of these matches.
Why don’t you apply yourself, man?’ It hit home for him, I think. He realized, ‘s***, I am good enough, I can do this’. That was the greatest thing that happened to him."
Laver: You're going to see a different Kyrgios at 2023 Wimbledon
This past weekend, Kyrgios didn't represent Team World at the Laver Cup.
Laver was disappointed that Kyrgios skipped the Laver Cup, but believes we will certainly see more of great tennis from the 27-year-old in the foreseeable future. “Unfortunately, he said that he wanted to go back to Australia and not play in the Laver Cup," Laver added.
"But he knows that he can play and compete now. Don’t walk on the court thinking: ‘If I get three games, that’s enough.’Now he’s thinking: ‘Next year? Wimbledon? You’re going to see a different player.’”