Andy Murray last night warned that Nick Kyrgios, his opponent in today’s fourth round at Wimbledon, is the best of the next generation and capable of winning a Grand Slam tournament.
And the Australian, whose temper has got the better of him on occasions in SW19, reckons he can beat the Scot and take home the big prize on Sunday. The 21-year-old, seeded 15, is a fiery, flashy player who will present a serious challenge to Murray following the latter’s three straight-set victories to date.
So long as he directs his frustration to what is happening on the court it can be a positive thingAndy Murray
Asked if he thought Kyrgios could go all the way to a Slam title, Murray said: “I think so.
“I know how difficult these events are to win but he will definitely give himself chances.
“He’s improving all the time. He has performed, out of the younger guys, probably the best in the Slams. [Dominic] Thiem, obviously, at the French did very well but Nick played well in Australia, played some good stuff in Paris and also here.
“He’s been pretty consistent so, yeah, I think he will have a few chances.”
Kyrgios’s on-court flare-ups – against third-round opponent Feliciano Lopez he was heard to call one of the entourage in his box “retarded” – have marked him down as a Wimbledon bad boy.
Did Murray think a fired-up Kyrgios would be more dangerous? “I don’t know, to be honest. Some days it helps, some it doesn’t. So long as he directs his frustration to what is happening on the court it can be a positive thing.”
But Murray, speaking before the most recent incident, did say he thought Kyrgios had received an unfair press. “Sometimes he gets a hard time.
“When you see what some of the other players have done here – players that are better than him and have won a lot more than him – the coverage they get for destroying a racquet is much less than he does for saying to the umpire: ‘You have done a bad job or you were terrible today’. But because it’s him it’s a bigger story.”
Kyrgios said he was grateful for Murray’s support. “It’s awesome that he backs me up a lot. It’s good to have one of the best players in the world [as a] good friend.”
That Murray was one of the elite, a player who erects a “brick wall” on the court, made Kyrgios’s task today all the more difficult.
So can Kyrgios win? “Yeah,” he said.