Coach stresses need for patience with Kyrgios
Nick Kyrgios' coach sees the 18-year-old's win over Radek Stepanek at Roland Garros as a crucial stepping stone, rather than the start of a rapid rise on the ATP Tour.
Nick Kyrgios’ French Open breakthrough will only fuel talk he’s the next big thing in Australian tennis.
But the 18-year-old’s coach Simon Rea views his win over Radek Stepanek at Roland Garros as another crucial stepping stone, rather than the start of a rapid rise on the ATP Tour.
“I don’t view this as a skyrocketing path to the top 50 for Nick,” Rea said ahead of Kyrgios’ second-round match against world No.10 Marin Cilic.
“This is an important step on his journey but it is just another step. He’s fortunate now to have another opportunity to play one of the world’s leading players and he’s bound to take a huge amount from it.
“I’m sure whenever he’s finished here he’s going to come out the other end so much richer for the experience.”
Rea only started working with Kyrgios in February, after his former mentor Des Tyson opted to take a break from coaching.
Prior to working with Tyson, Kyrgios spent seven years under the guidance of former tour professional Todd Larkham.
His potential has long been noted by many, with comparisons made to former Wimbledon and US Open runner-up Mark Philippoussis, but Kyrgios admits he was held back by being unfit and overweight at the start of last year.
He joined the Australian Institute of Sport program and shed 5kg before joining the likes of Bernard Tomic and Luke Saville as a junior Grand Slam champion in January.
Then he really got the tennis world’s attention in March by winning a senior title at Challenger level in Sydney.
It took a slice of fortune for Kyrgios to earn a crack at a Grand Slam, with John Millman’s injury withdrawal allowing Tennis Australia to hand him a late wildcard entry.
But after overcoming some early nerves, he looked a every bit a player who belonged at the top level in a composed display.
“He’s someone that enjoys the big occasion and a little bit of the spotlight on him,” Rea said.
“He seemed to thrive under the glare.”
Kyrgios will get to test his nerve on an even bigger stage against Croatian Cilic.