By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Friday, March 10, 2023
Even when Nick Kyrgios is out of sight, he’s still a pivotal player, says Jordan Thompson.
World No. 87 Thompson rode strong serving toppling second-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6(0), 4-6, 7-6(5) today in the biggest upset of the BNP Paribas Open so far.
More: Thompson Stuns Tsitsipas
Thompson’s victory comes eight months after Kyrgios knocked Tsitsipas out of Wimbledon 6-7(2), 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(9) in one of the most controversial major matches of the 2023 season. Kyrgios went on to become the first Aussie man since 2002 champion Lleyton Hewitt to contest the Wimbledon final.
Talking to Tennis Channel’s Prakash Amritraj after his win today, Thompson was asked his view of Kyrgios.
The 28-year-old Thompson says Kyrgios continues creating profound impact on player participation back home in Australia.
“He’s Nick, but everyone wants to play tennis in Australia because of him—they want to be like Kyrgios—I think that’s only a positive,” Thompson said.
Toni Nadal, Rafa Nadal’s uncle and original coach, has called Kyrgios an important player because he draws so many kids to tennis.
While Kyrgios, who partnered Thanasi Kokkinakis to the 2022 Australian Open doubles title, has helped grow the game in Australia, he says he hasn’t felt the love from past Aussie champions.
During his run to the 2022 Wimbledon final, Kyrgios claimed legendary Aussie players not only turned their back on him, they have a “sick obsession with tearing me down for some reason.”
“As for the greats of Australian tennis, they haven’t always been the nicest to me personally,” Kyrgios said at the 2022 Wimbledon. “They haven’t always been supportive. They haven’t been supportive these two weeks. So it’s hard for me to kind of read things that they say about me.
“For instance, when I saw Ash Barty in the final of Australia, I was nothing but happy. I would never say a bad word about an Australian making a final. Like that’s just me.
“And the kind of only great that’s ever been supportive of me the whole time has been Lleyton Hewitt. Like he knows. He’s our Davis Cup captain, and he kind of knows that I kind of do my own thing. I’m definitely the outcast of the Australian players.”
Kyrgios, who withdrew from the Sunshine Double as he continues recovery from knee surgery, is still basically the same guy he was when they were growing up together, Thompson said.
“I love it,” Thompson said of…
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