Kyrgios welcomes 'warrior' Murray's return

June 18, 2019
Australian Nick Kyrgios has welcomed Andy Murray's return to tennis after hip surgery on Monday.
Australian Nick Kyrgios has welcomed Andy Murray's return to tennis after hip surgery on Monday.

LONDON — Australian Nick Kyrgios has welcomed Andy Murray's return to tennis after hip surgery, saying he could not believe his eyes when he ran into the Briton practicing at Queens Club on Monday.

Murray, who underwent a hip resurfacing operation five months ago, is making his comeback this week by partnering Feliciano Lopez in the doubles.

"Andy was the first person I saw here, doing his drills," Kyrgios told reporters ahead of his opening round match against France's Adrian Mannarino. "I couldn't believe what I was seeing.

"Just to see him back healthy and happy on court is all that matters. He is a warrior. He's good enough to do damage in doubles, especially with Feliciano. I'd almost pay to watch that match."

Kyrgios has a fractious relationship with a number of senior players on the ATP Tour, including Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal, but shares a warm friendship with Murray.

The Scot has defended Kyrgios on a number of occasions when the younger player ruffled feathers with his on-court behavior and barbed criticism of his fellow professionals.

Kyrgios said Murray had spoken to him about the possibility of them playing doubles at Wimbledon when they practiced at the All England Club a few weeks ago.

"I don't think I want to carry him for Wimbledon dubs — I think he can find someone else to do that for him," the Australian said with a smile.

Earlier, Kyrgios said that French Open champion Ashleigh Barty has the talent to dominate women's tennis for years to come.

Barty, who took a hiatus from tennis early in her career to play cricket, ended an eight-year wait for an Australian player to win a singles Grand Slam at Roland Garros earlier this month.

But Kyrgios is not surprised by the sudden rise of a player he has known since they traveled the world together as juniors.

"I think she's probably the most talented tennis player I have seen in a long time," said Kyrgios ahead of his participation at Queen's Club in London this week.

"I played juniors with her. I grew up with her. Literally we were traveling to Thailand through Asia and playing juniors. She was raking up titles in juniors. I always knew that she was going to be a champion at some stage, just how bad she wanted it.

"Obviously she took that break to get her mind right and step back from the sport, and then she came back and was so dominant. I actually think she's probably one of the favorites for Wimbledon, for sure.

"I think Australia has been waiting for that next player to win a Grand Slam and I think she was our best chance. She's amazing. I mean, she's gonna pile them up."

Kyrgios, by contrast, is still waiting for his Grand Slam breakthrough with a series of high-profile on-court tantrums undermining his talent.

The 24-year-old pulled out of the French Open, saying the tournament "sucks" in comparison to Wimbledon, where he reached the quarterfinals in 2014.

Kyrgios, though, believes Wimbledon presents the best opportunity for the younger generation to snap that streak. "I think Wimbledon is probably the most open one," added Kyrgios.

"I say if somebody is serving big and feeling themselves that week, I think for sure they could probably make more of a run.

"I definitely feel like I can do damage. I have had a lot of good wins on grass. Obviously made a quarterfinal run when I was a little bit younger, but I think if the stars align, for sure I can do damage there." — Agencies

June 18, 2019
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