Nick Kyrgios brings brilliance to a tennis court.
I have never been bored watching Nick playing tennis, I love the variety and skill he brings. I’ve even seen him play shots that I have gone and tried myself. He’s a tournament directors dream, he gets bums on seats and people on court!
My only criticism is, I’ve sometimes come away feeling a little bit disappointed.
Why is that?
Nick has one of the best serves in tennis, his forehand is lightning fast, the way he snaps it is magnificent as his two handed backhand which I could watch all day. Add to that his skill at the net and you have a pretty much faultless game.
However, his return game is one of the worst on tour. But why?
His numbers for 2019 were:
Return Stats – 2019
% of 1st Serve Return Points Won – 21.5% (second worst on tour)
% of 1st Serve Return Points Won – 43.3% (fourth worst on tour)
% of Return Games Won – 13.1% (third worst on tour)
% of Break Points Converted – 44.8% (fourth BEST on tour)
It’s bizarre isn’t it?
Those first three stats are quite interesting especially when it is followed by the fact he is the fourth best converted of break points on the ATP tour last year. He created 143 break points last year and won 45% of them over his 38 matches played.
His serving stats however for 2019:
Serving Stats – 2019
% of 1st Serve In – 66% (9th best on tour)
% of 1st Serve Points Won – 78.8% (7th best on tour)
% of 2nd Serve Points Won – 50.8% (48th best on tour)
% of Service Games Won – 88.2% (6th best on tour)
Average Aces Per Match – 16 (5th best on tour)
Average Double Faults Per Match – 3.2 (54th best on tour)
It does stand out.
Those stats are impressive on both sides. The concern is obviously the lack of points won returning serve which then fuels being the third worst winner of return games last year.
Service stats are pretty good, the non-surprise is the 2nd serve points won and is that because he does go for it more than other players? Probably.
I wouldn’t look at being the 54th best at double faults as a problem. Medvedev is at 55 with the same number and Djokovic 47 with 2.7 a match so it isn’t a major problem.
I think it comes down to focus during a match. If that focus can improve then I can see a lot more success coming his way. I remember watching Cam Norrie against Nick in Sydney. The two are good friends on tour but time and time again when the Brit served into backhand of Nick it came back with interest on.
This small improvement could reap big benefits for Nick who in ATP Cup did look very focused.
His return numbers from ATP Cup were;
17% of 1st serve return points won
58% of 2nd serve return points won
6/10 break points converted
13% of return games won
The numbers are return games won and first serve return points won are pretty much the same. Second serve return points won increased to 58% from a season average of 43% last year which is from a smarter and aggressive positioning.
This piece I have written isn’t there to criticise but as look to what could be and I do have a good feeling about Nick going forward this year. Like I said, I’m never bored watching Nick but in some defeats I have been disappointed from a lack of a challenge on serve.