It’s fair to say that men’s tennis is in a transitionary era. Roger Federer has retired. While the man who helped him define 21st-century tennis, Rafael Nadal, is not quite ready to hang up his racquet yet, injuries have taken their toll. Nadal’s uncle Toni Nadal, who acts as a kind of agent and spokesperson for the Spaniard, recently confirmed that the future is uncertain for the 22-time Grand Slam winner. Novak Djokovic is, of course, still competing at the top level. But he, too, has been forced to adjust his schedule.
In short, the era of the Big 3 has come to an end, even if there may be more Grand Slams on the menu for Djokovic and Nadal. But the fact that dominance has eased leads to an opportunity for players who have missed out on the past. One of the players who should be sensing that opportunity is Nick Kyrgios, the Australian whose reputation seems to be more focused on his temperament than tennis skills. But if you know Kyrgios and know tennis, you’ll be well aware that there is a very good player underneath the fiery temper. He has a Grand Slam or two in him, should he keep his cool.
Kyrgios among betting chances for Wimbledon
Kyrgios is now 27. Technically, he should be at his peak. He has broken into the world’s top 20 (again), and he played in his first Grand Slam Final last summer at Wimbledon. Djokovic is the clear favourite for that title in terms of the tennis betting odds, but Kyrgios is priced around 12/1. The odds for the Australian show that he is respected. If it were to be considered a shock for him to win Wimbledon 2023, it would only be a minor one.
There are, of course, other Grand Slams that Kyrgios might win, but Wimbledon seems to be his best opportunity. He has his best win percentage (71%) on the grass courts of Wimbledon, and it was at SW19 in 2014 that Kyrgios first stepped into the limelight. As a wildcard entrant, he reached the quarter-finals. That included the biggest win of his career at the time, defeating then-world number one Nadal in the 4th Round.
Injuries have taken a toll on Australian
Still, it’s clear to all that Kyrgios’s Grand Slam record has been patchy overall, certainly not befitting a player with his underlying talents. He has reached the quarter-finals or better in just four of his 31 Grand Slam appearances, which is a fairly miserable record. Injuries, too, have got the better of the Australian on a number of occasions. In fact, it can be frustrating for his fans as injuries tend to come just when he is getting into a run of form.
A case in point is the current injury to Kyrgios, who has pulled out of upcoming ATP Masters events. He finished 2022 on a roll, almost breaking into the top 10 again. But a forced surgery in January has meant that he is yet to make an appearance in 2023. There will be a race for the Australian to get match fit for the French Open and Wimbledon in the summer.
Nonetheless, a fit and firing Kyrgios should sense an opportunity in this era where Grand Slams are more open than ever before. Yes, Djokovic and Nadal are still major threats, and players like Carlos Alcaraz and Stefanos Tsitsipas will rightly consider themselves ahead of the Aussie in tennis’s pecking order. But you should not bet against Kyrgios, a player who was pinpointed for greatness many years ago. The chance is there for him, should he have the will to take it.