JOHN LLOYD: Kyrgios must channel his 'nasty' side against Djokovic

JOHN LLOYD: I’m sure the All England Club will be appalled but in order to win against Novak Djokovic, Nick Kyrgios must channel his ‘nasty’ side in Wimbledon’s final and get in the reigning champion’s face

  • Nick Kyrgios must channel his ‘nasty’ side if he wants to win his first Grand Slam 
  • The Australian can utilise his off-court skills to win a mental battle on Sunday 
  • Though Novak Djokovic has great mental strength, Kyrgios can be unsettling 
  • The Serb will know that he has never beaten Kyrgios in their only two meetings 

If I was in Nick Kyrgios’ coaching corner this afternoon, I would tell him to do his thing. If there’s anyone who can knock Novak Djokovic out of his comfort zone, it is Kyrgios. Djokovic’s mental strength is just great, but when Kyrgios starts winding you up it can be unsettling.

And Djokovic will know he’s never beaten Kyrgios — and Kyrgios will know that too.

Kyrgios is different to anyone else in the way he plays, the way he does things. He’s got one of the greatest serves of all time. He’ll get in your face, he’ll react.

Nick Kyrgios must channel his ‘nasty’ side if we he wants to beat Novak Djokovic on Sunday

He’ll hit some underarm serves out of the blue, serve and volley when you don’t expect it, hit drop-shots from nowhere.

I’m not a fan of when Kyrgios goes too far, as he did against Stefanos Tsitsipas, but when he’s on his game he’s a genius.

I have to say I never envisaged Kyrgios winning a Grand Slam. Not because of a lack of talent, there’s no doubt he has that, but I didn’t think he had the mindset to put it all together for a full tournament. Listening to him, I don’t think even he did.

Now I just hope he doesn’t go into his shell because it’s the final. Go for it. Do your thing. I think he will. If the umpire lets him, he won’t be worried about etiquette. He’s trying to win a final and will do whatever it takes to do it.

Djokovic has yet to win an encounter with the Australian – losing both previous matches

I hear people ask whether Kyrgios winning Wimbledon will be good for tennis. I’m sure there’s plenty at the All England Tennis Club who will be appalled by the idea of him being their champion.

But I can tell you that whenever I talk to kids at junior tournaments, he is the one they like. He’s the one they all talk about. No ifs, not buts. Kyrgios is their guy.

They love everything he does. They love the trick shots, they love the underarm serves. They love the fact he almost takes on the whole world when he plays.

Many who wouldn’t usually sit down to watch the final will do this time because it’s him. Because he’s box office and you don’t know what he’s going to do next. What the lasting effects will be, who knows. The constant intimidation, berating of line judges and umpires can become repetitive and boring.

And that’s not a good habit to form for younger players.

Kyrgios is a master at mental games – demonstrated in the run up to his first Grand Slam final

But people are talking about tennis. I’m for anything that helps our sport grow. If the ratings zoom up for the final, it will show that the rebel man is the one they want to see.

It’s going to be a box-office final. It’s huge for Djokovic too. He’s unlikely to play at the US Open unless he decides to get a vaccination quickly. As it stands, he won’t be allowed into Australia. So, he’s two Grand Slams down in his battle to be the Greatest Of All Time and may not play another until the French Open next year. He’s almost got to win this one. Kyrgios may not agree, but I still think it’s a real shame we only got to see one men’s semi-final.

I have said for a few years now that we should have a rule that one of the four losing quarter-finalists should be made to stay behind for the semi-finals in case someone, like Rafa Nadal here at Wimbledon, pulls out.

Rafael Nadal caused controversy after withdrawing from his semi-final with Kyrgios

Toss a coin to decide, whatever, but one of them should remain on standby. Players won’t like it, tough. Pay them a bit extra.

People will say ‘well, they’ve already lost, they cannot have another go’. It’s no different to someone losing in qualifying and getting through as a Lucky Loser. They can still win the tournament. It’s about the good of the game.

We must make sure the situation we had at Wimbledon on Friday never happens again.




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