Todd Talks: which Slam can Kyrgios win?
The most frequently asked question of late is whether Nick Kygrios can win a major. Yet as Todd Woodbridge argues, it may not come first at Roland Garros.
The most frequently asked question in the past few months – can Nick Kygrios win a major?
Tracking statistics of age versus performance and ranking throughout his junior and ATP career, they indicate that he’s guaranteed a top 10 place.
Given his meteoric rise since Wimbledon 2014, and being the only athlete to have beaten both Nadal and Federer in first-time meetings while they’ve been ranked in the top 10, I totally believe he can. But which Slam will it be?
His performances in the past couple of weeks on clay have shown his all-court ability and that he has the confidence to perform at all the Slams.
So, can Nick win Roland Garros this year?
Unlike most Australians, he is very comfortable on clay; beating Federer this week indicates how much self-belief he has. Yet there are several reasons why we shouldn’t be fooled by that result.
First, Madrid is a tournament contested at a altitude, which makes the ball fly faster through the air; this works beautifully for the Kyrgios game, giving him lots of free points on serve and the ability to finish points quickly.
Second, the fitness and recovery needed to win at Roland Garros is paramount and at this point Kygrios would need several quick matches to preserve his health if he were to break through this year on the clay.
Finally, weather is also a factor; should the weather be hot and the clay dry, this would make the courts very fast and lively, perfect conditions for Kyrgios. Yet if Paris is cool and damp and the courts heavy, the odds go against him.
Instead, the most obvious venue for Kyrgios to break through for a Grand Slam victory is at Wimbledon.
Kyrgios has indicated that grass isn’t his favourite surface, because of the odd bad bounce and its slickness. Yet I find that intriguing, because for exactly that reason, he has a better chance on grass than the rest of his young peers.
With a quarterfinal already under his belt, he has enough experience to win. And as a junior Wimbledon doubles champion, he has far more skills at adapting in the forecourt and at the net.
That ability to adapt is what sets Wimbledon champions apart.
So, the most likely order for Kyrgios’ Slam success would be Wimbledon, followed by the US and Australian Opens, and with Roland Garros bringing up the rear.
With Roland Garros directly followed by Wimbledon within a matter of weeks, it should make for interesting viewing in June to see how Kyrgios’ progress unfolds.