Australian Open: ‘Most talented player in last 10 years’ – John McEnroe hoping Nick Kyrgios fulfils potential
“He’s got great game. I would say tennis-wise, the most talented player I’ve seen in the last 10 years. But you also have to bring what it takes to compete on a day in, day out basis,” said seven-time major champion John McEnroe after seeing Nick Kyrgios' latest blockbuster at a Grand Slam end in a familiar first-week exit. Stream the 2022 Australian Open live and on demand on discovery+
‘Between his ears, that’s what’s missing’ – McEnroe willing Kyrgios to fulfil potential
'He's got it!' - Kyrgios does victory lap after epic point as fans go bonkers
As the interview cut away to footage of Kyrgios’ best moments in the match, which included a sensational volley at the net that brought up two break points and a crazy celebration, McEnroe continued: “I feel bad in a way because you see him make shots like this, play points like this, look at the crowd…
“The guy brings it. I would absolutely love to see him fulfil his potential or get even close to it.”
When asked what stopped Kyrgios from winning the match, McEnroe replied: “Between his ears, that’s what’s missing.
“He’s got great game. I would say tennis-wise, the most talented player I’ve seen in the last 10 years. But you also have to bring what it takes to compete on a day in, day out basis.”
'That's just genius' - Kyrgios pulls off incredible volley
McEnroe conceded that Kyrgios was not doing enough to rival the top players at the biggest tournaments.
“Look at Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. These consummate pros who do whatever it takes to win and they look at Nick, they realise he’s great for the game,” he continued.
“He’s got a personality, he’s a smart kid, he’s a good kid, everyone likes him. He’s a fantastic talent but you’ve got to be able to put it together, you’ve got to be able to compete on a regular basis and unfortunately Nick hasn’t been able to do that for a while.”
Kyrgios, for all his entertainment value, has failed to reach the second round of a Grand Slam since 2015 – and has never progressed beyond the quarter-finals.
His performance against Medvedev was ominously predictable – the tweeners, underarm serves and brutal groundstrokes were undone by him faltering in the biggest moments, with his challenge finishing on a limp note in the fourth set.
“I would have predicted this a million miles away. He would rise to the occasion and show Medvedev he’s got the ability to stick with him for a while, play with him,” added McEnroe.
“But then at the end of the day because he played, what, Liam Broady [his first round opponent], he didn’t have enough left in the tank? I mean, come on.
“At this point, I’m more concerned because I like Nick as a person and I want him to be healthy and happy. And if he goes on the court to be able to compete to the best of his ability. What it appears is this is the best of his ability right now – that’s the problem.
“But having watched him over the course of the last five, six years and to see him play these top-level pros like Medvedev who he should be competing with for majors and whatever comes up, he retires. It’s like ‘OK, what a surprise’.”