Rod Laver says he thinks Nick Kyrgios didn't believe he could win the Wimbledon final earlier this year against Novak Djokovic.
Laver, fresh from being present at the eponymous Laver Cup event in London which saw Roger Federer's farewell from tennis, now believes however that the experience of appearing in his first Grand Slam final could be the making of Kyrgios ahead of the 2023 season.
Kyrgios was last in action at the US Open where he lost in the quarter-finals to Karen Khachanov, but is expected to appear at the Tokyo Open early next month.
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Speaking to the Telegraph, Laver said: “Kyrgios has all the ability in the world, every shot that you could wish to make.
“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 realised, 's***, I am good enough, I can do this'. That was the greatest thing that happened to him.
"Unfortunately, he said that he wanted to go back to Australia and not play in the Laver Cup.
"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.’”
The tour will have to get to grips with life without Federer next year and with his racquet hung up, Laver speculated on future career paths for the legendary Swiss.
“Not too many people retire like that,” Laver said of the emotional Laver Cup event in London that saw Federer play his last match in the doubles with great friend and rival Rafael Nadal.
“Roger had such a long, successful career, he knew he wanted there to be something where he said clearly, ‘OK, that’s enough'.
"What he’s going to do in the future is anybody’s guess. His avenues are open everywhere. He could become a movie star.”
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