Kyrgios ‘crucial’ in filling Federer, Nadal and Murray gap as legend weighs in

Nick Kyrgios has been told that he is “crucial” for the sport of tennis as Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray leave a gap with the Big Four dominance coming to an end. Fellow Australian Wally Masur believes that the 2022 Wimbledon finalist has an opportunity to return and win big tournaments.

Kyrgios has been sidelined for the whole of 2023, returning for just one match in Stuttgart which he lost. The 28-year-old has been wiped out of the rankings entirely with his last match win coming more than 12 months ago in Tokyo but he is still hoping to return following multiple injury setbacks.

Former world No 15 Masur is also hopeful that Kyrgios can make a successful comeback as he believes the seven-time title winner has the chance to fill a void left by the Big Four. With Federer retired and Nadal and Murray both struggling with injuries over the last few years, only Djokovic has been able to remain consistent at the big events this season.

As a result, Masur believes that Kyrgios has what it takes to play a part in being one of the new dominant players. “I honestly don’t know [what his plans are]. I’ve heard that he’s been training and doing rehab in Canberra,” he said.

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“Roger has retired, Rafa is a little busted and Andy is playing with one hip, so the Big Four have been pretty much dismantled, although Novak [Djokovic] is obviously still there, so there are opportunities [for Kyrgios to come back and win big events].”

“I thought it might have been the next group of Taylor Fritz and Stefanos Tsitsipas, but Carlos Alcaraz has been the one who has busted through and emerged. Can Nick come back and play a part in all this? Absolutely, because anyone who serves like he does is always competitive. He might even have the best serve in the game right now.”

But Kyrgios will need to avoid more injury setbacks as he started the year by undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery. After returning on the grass in Stuttgart, he picked up a wrist injury and was forced to pull out of Wimbledon. He hasn’t played since losing to Wu Yibing in Germany.

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Masur is aware that the 28-year-old’s body could let him down. But Australia’s former Davis Cup captain thought that Kyrgios was an important figure for the sport in his home nation and beyond.

“Can he do it? Yes, but it probably comes down to motivation and making sure his body doesn’t let him down,” he added. “He’s pretty crucial for Australian and world tennis, so it would be good to have him back.”

The former world No 13 enjoyed a career-best season in 2022 which saw him reach the Wimbledon final and win his seventh career title. He also made strides in doubles – winning the Australian Open with Thanasi Kokkinakis and qualifying for the ATP Finals. It remains to be seen whether Kyrgios can recover in time to return at his home Grand Slam tournament in January.

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