Esteemed coach Darren Cahill believes Nick Kyrgios “cares too much” and “really wants to win”, while declaring that tennis needs the Aussie to return.
Cahill, who currently coaches Jannik Sinner, also compared 20-year-old American star Ben Shelton to Kyrgios and expressed the importance of having personalities on the tour.
The Australian has coached Andre Agassi, Lleyton Hewitt and Simona Halep to Grand Slam titles, while also working with players such as Andy Murray and Ana Ivanovic.
Kyrgios’ only match of 2023 so far was a loss to Wu Yibing in Stuttgart in June, having been sidelined following a knee surgery earlier in the year. The talented Australian then suffered a wrist injury ahead of Wimbledon and has been unable to compete since.
The 28-year-old compiled a stellar 37-10 record in an excellent 2022 season – during which he won the Citi Open in Washington and reached the Wimbledon final, losing to Novak Djokovic.
Speaking on an episode of the Advantage Connors podcast, Cahill argued Kyrgios cares much more about the sport than he sometimes suggests.
“You feel like he doesn’t care. In fact, he looks like he cares too much because he ends up blowing up with his box – his coaching box throughout the course of a match because he really wants to win and he receives that support from his coaching box,” insisted the Australian.
“We need him back. It’s you know, the game is bigger than any one player of course, but certainly he’s a loss to the sport at the moment and if he’s playing well and physically feeling good – he brings a lot to every tournament he plays. So I’m just wishing him the best. I hope he gets healthy and we hope to see him back really soon.”
The two-time ATP singles titlist was also full of praise for world No 19 Shelton, who made a surprise run to the semi-finals of the US Open earlier this month.
“He’s like Kyrgios, you like Kyrgios, you hate him, I don’t care. On the tour, he brings something different and people will go out and buy a ticket, and watch these guys play,” said the former world No 22.
“And Ben brings a real joy in what he’s doing on the court, he’s not scared, he doesn’t care who he is playing. I love him, I think the fact that Novak [Djokovic] took him up a little bit [by imitating his celebration] was awesome. You can’t have robots on tour, you can’t have no personalities on tour.
“Incredibly brave in the big moments, he was certainly playing to the crowd, enjoying the crowd. Again, you need to put those results week after week to be a factor in the top 10.
“I think Ben is so young, maybe he’s not used to it, maybe a little bit too many expectations came onto his shoulders after the Australian Open. Now we’re going to see Ben consistently improve every week. I’m not saying he’s gonna race into the top 5. I think eventually he’s a definite top 10 player.”
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