Coco Gauff has given a fascinating insight into the character of Nick Kyrgios, insisting: ‘He’s not the bad guy.’
Kyrgios is arguably the most divisive player in the history of tennis. His talent has never been questioned but he is the most fined tennis player of all time too for his on-court antics, which many believe overshadow his ability.
That mixture has made him a true maverick of tennis and he has become one of the biggest box office draws in the sport.
Coco Gauff has offered another perspective of Kyrgios, though, highlighting his kindness off the court and inviting his detractors to rethink their opinion of him.
“I think he has a great serve,” Gauff said about Kyrgios. “I mean, I don't talk about his on-court game. We all know he's great. I know there's things on the court that he does that people don't agree with. I probably don't agree with some things.
“Overall, I think he's a nice person. At least he's always been to me. I remember I first hit with him, he probably doesn't remember this, I was 13 years old at Miami Open. He finished his practice, hit with me for, like, 30 minutes.
“It's just things like that that stands out for me. That's why I feel like I can never dislike him because constantly when I see him around, he's always saying hello.
“Again, when I was 13 at Miami Open again, he finished a two-hour practice. I think with Frances Tiafoe. I remember saying, There's no way he's going to want to hit with me. Just grind it out for two hours. He actually stayed and hit with me for an hour again.
“It's just moments like that that people don't really see about him. So I think people paint him as a bad guy. I feel around the grounds, at least my experience of him, he's not.
“I think in the end it helped me in the long run as a player hitting with him. He told me good things about my game. At that time I'm like, Nick Kyrgios thinks I'm a good player. You start to believe that and gain confidence in that.
“Yeah, if he keeps it up, I think he can go far. He can win the tournament. We all know he has the ability to. He was close at Wimbledon. I always, always root for him, no matter who he's playing, to be honest.”
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