Nick Kyrgios earned one of the biggest wins of his career at the Cincinnati Masters on Friday, giving us insight to his complicated psyche in the process.
Tennis’ bad boy made the headlines for the right reasons this time when he ousted soon-to-be world number one Rafael Nadal in straight sets in Cincinnati.
What made the victory all the more remarkable is that seven hours prior, Kyrgios was battling against the big serving Ivo Karlovic, eventually emerging triumphant in three sets in a rain-affected affair.
Aside from beating a woefully out of form Novak Djokovic twice earlier in the year, the win is the Australian’s first over a top ten player this year.
This display is far from the petulant behaviour tennis fans have become accustomed to. In fact, it would have almost been par for the course if Kyrgios had tanked against Nadal, stomped off and blamed the ridiculous schedule or the weather for his woes.
So why the change of heart?
The crowd well & truly behind @NickKyrgios today!
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) August 18, 2017
“Being a little kid playing on centre court of Cincinnati against Nadal, that’s the way the best has to come out,” quipped the 22-year-old in his post match interview.
And that appears to be the key. Kyrgios likes the big stage. He seems to enjoy it when the spotlight is on him, he’s not expected to win, then going out and proving those doubters wrong.
The mind is the most powerful tool in a sportsmen’s armoury and Kyrgios has certainly showed he he has the talent to mix it with the Big Four, but his attitude has often let him down.
For tennis fans sake, let’s hope he’s turned the mental corner and finally lives up to his full potential.
Don’t be surprised to see Kyrgios lifting the Cincinnati silverware for a maiden Masters 1000 title come Sunday.