Nick Kyrgios
Nick Kyrgios

Legend whacks Kyrgios on Wimbledon eve

AUSTRALIAN tennis legend John Newcombe hopes the thought of reigniting his feud with Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon will light the fire in the belly of Nick Kyrgios.

Kyrgios is preparing for an all-Aussie opening round at the All-England club after he was drawn to meet Jordan Thompson in the opening match.

Thompson is in hot form having made the final of the s-Hertogenbosch tournament before a semi final appearance at the Antalya Open in the lead up to The Championship.

But with Australia desperate to see the unmistakeable talent of Kygrios in full flight, Newcombe hopes Nadal will spark some form.

Kyrgios and Nadal had a heated battle at the Acapulco Open with a furious encounter that led to the Spaniard slamming the Aussie.

"He's a player who has enormous talent, could be winning grand slams or fighting for the No. 1 ranking," Nadal said at the time. "He lacks respect for the crowd, his opponent and towards himself. I don't think he's a bad guy, but he lacks a little respect for the public and the rival".



Kyrgios hit back on a podcast with another feud opponent, the New York Times' Ben Rothenberg.

"He's my polar opposite, like literally my polar opposite. And he's super salty," Kyrgios said.

"Every time I've beaten him … when he wins, it's fine. He won't say anything bad, he'll credit the opponent, 'He was a great player'."

Nadal deflected from the match up, saying in his pre-Wimbledon press conference "I don't know Nick, being honest".

He continued: "I don't want to talk about Nick much because I am not playing against Nick. I am playing against Sugita."

Newcombe said the spark of the feud could lead to fireworks and inspire Kyrgios to play with the immense talent he was born with.

Asked where Kyrgios's tennis and head were entering his sixth Wimbledon tilt, Newcombe said: "About where his ranking is."

"You don't know. You wouldn't know what was going to happen, so it's anybody's guess.

"I would imagine that he would see that draw and he would bust his guts to beat Jordan because he fancies himself against Rafa, especially on grass.

"He seems to play his best tennis when he's got nothing to lose. It could be an interesting match after all the talk."

Unseeded at the All England Club for the first time since 2014, when he upstaged Nadal as a 19-year-old on debut, Kyrgios is at a career crossroads, according to Newcombe.

"He's been at one for a few years," said the former world No. 1 and triple Wimbledon champion.

"He got his ranking to 13 a couple of years ago and now he's 43. I mean, that sort of speaks for itself.

"He's 24. He should be reaching his peak."

- with AAP

News Corp Australia

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