Nick Kyrgios (R) and Rafael Nadal (L) after their four-set epic. Picture: Jonathan DiMaggio/Getty
Nick Kyrgios (R) and Rafael Nadal (L) after their four-set epic. Picture: Jonathan DiMaggio/Getty

The underarm mix-up which sparked feud

The icy relationship between Rafael Nadal and Nick Kyrgios is thawing after the Spanish world No.1 praised Kyrgios for having the ability to contend for every tournament.

 

Speaking after the pair's gripping fourth-round Australian Open clash which the Spaniard won in four sets, Nadal said his criticism of Kyrgios stemmed from setting bad examples.

 

But he qualified his comments by outlining his appreciation of the Australian's rare talent.

 

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He may have lost but Nick Kyrgios still won plenty of fans.
He may have lost but Nick Kyrgios still won plenty of fans.

"When I criticise him in the past is because I think he did a couple of things that are not right and are not the right image for our sport and for the kids," Nadal said.

 

"But when he's doing the right things, I am the first one who support this.

 

"Personally I saw him playing during the whole tournament almost every match, and he has been great, with very positive attitude.

 

"Personally, I like to watch him play when he's doing that way. I think everybody likes to watch Nick plays when he's able to play like this.

 

"His talent is to be one of the best of the world, without a doubt, with good chances to fight for every tournament."

 

 

Nadal noticed a difference in Kyrgios during the summer, especially at Melbourne Park.

 

"Honestly, as I said, today I think he played very serious, he played very focused, and he tried all the time his best," the Spaniard said, revealing Kyrgios' underarm serves in Acapulco wasn't a problem.

 

"When he was serving his way, this thing, when I criticise him in Acapulco after the match, people understood that was because he was serving sometimes like this.

 

"I never criticised that. Is part of the game.

 

"I criticised at that moment his attitude on the match, not that he was serving one way or another way. I think it's part of the game. If he wants to serve like this, honestly, better for me. That's all."

 

Nick Kyrgios wished Rafael Nadal luck for the rest of the tournament. Picture: Jonathan DiMaggio/Getty
Nick Kyrgios wished Rafael Nadal luck for the rest of the tournament. Picture: Jonathan DiMaggio/Getty

Kyrgios said he had been inspired to help bushfire victims and that, in turn, had helped his tennis.

 

"I always had pretty good perspective," he said.

 

"If anything, it did fuel me and made me play harder. They're (fires) still going, everything is still going.

 

"Yeah, I mean, the last month for me has been pretty hectic, been pretty emotional.

 

"I'm pretty tired. I want to try to continue to help where I can."


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