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US Open: Why Nick Kyrgios is the player to watch in the men's draw at Flushing Meadows

Nick Kyrgios can go all the way at the US Open; Why? The Wimbledon finalist made a little bit of history at the Citi Open in Washington and he's already up to world No 26; a maiden Grand Slam title is well within his grasp and we all know about fairytales in New York...

Nick Kyrgios of Australia celebrates after defeating Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan in their Men's Singles Final match during Day 9 of the Citi Open at Rock Creek Tennis Center on August 7, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Following his maiden Grand Slam final appearance there is little doubt Nick Kyrgios has found a winning formula which could see him become the King of New York at the US Open.

This has been a year in which he has found a winning-formula and New York has proven a place where dreams can come true - just ask Emma Raducanu!

Not only does Kyrgios possess an armoury of skills - huge serves, touch, tweeners and winners out of nowhere - but the firebrand Australian, who is known for his volatile temperament- on court, now has a new sense of belonging as a major Grand Slam finalist, so what about his chances of going all the way at Flushing Meadows?

"I just feel like I'm really clear on what my game is, and I know how other people are trying to play," said Kyrgios.

"That's the key to it. I feel like me not having a coach has worked. I think the last six months, I don't think many people have achieved that without a coach before, and I feel like that's just something that comes with confidence and knowing your game."

Kyrgios appears determined to avoid any crazy outbursts on court and has re-invented himself as a cool, calm and collected individual who has earned an outright seeding for the final Grand Slam. He has been as low as No 137 this year proving what an incredible turnaround it's been for him.

Kyrgios began 2022 showing little appetite for what was to come. He was unable to trouble Daniil Medvedev at the Australian Open, although it was a very different story in the men's doubles where it became a "dream come true" to win the title alongside his long-time friend Thanasi Kokkinakis.

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His singles form soon picked up during the 'Sunshine Double' where he reached the quarter-finals at Indian Wells before making a last-16 appearance in Miami.

Kyrgios went on to make the semi-finals in Houston, Stuttgart and Halle before reaching the Wimbledon final where he lost out to Novak Djokovic in four sets. His surprise run was littered with controversy, featuring run-ins with umpires, line judges, the media and even spectators.

His exceptional form came amid the 27-year-old being charged with common assault over an alleged incident in January 2021 involving his former partner Chiara Passari. The matter has been adjourned until October 4.

He is also facing a separate legal case for defamation from a spectator who the Australian accused of having "about 700 drinks" during the final at the All England Club.

I've been in some really dark places. Just to be able to turn it around. There are so many people who have helped me get there, but myself, I've shown some serious strength to just continue and persevere and get through all those times and be able to still perform and win tournaments
Nick Kyrgios

Despite his trials and tribulations, Kyrgios believes his "level is right there" having given Djokovic a stern test.

"I feel like you look at what Novak has done to some other opponents, it's not a good feeling. But I'm right there," he said.

"I'm not behind the eight ball at all. I played a Slam final against one of the greatest of all time, and I was right there.

"[I will take] confidence. I thought I dealt with the pressure pretty well."

His run on the lawns in London also further signified the belief that he is moving in the right direction.

"I feel like my fire's been lit this whole year. I've obviously met a lot of amazing people this year who have just given me extra motivation," he said.

"To find people that have my back, that I just love being around, and they just want to push me to be a better person and to be a better tennis player. They realise that I'm immensely talented and feel [I have] a lot more to do in this sport."

The 'Special Ks' Thanasi Kokkinakis and Kyrgios were back to do some more damage in the men's doubles at the Atlanta Open and extend their record to 13-2 in 2022.

Kyrgios then made a little bit of history by becoming the first person to win the Citi Open men's singles and doubles titles in the same year.

It was a triumphant return for the Australian to the US capital as he defeated Japanese opponent Yoshihito Nishioka in the singles final and a short time later he was back on Stadium Court at Rock Creek Park Tennis Centre to help American Jack Sock win the doubles.

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In singles, the 27-year-old dropped just one set in five matches, never had his serve broken and led the tournament with 96 aces, including 12 against Nishioka.

"It's just very emotional for me," Kyrgios said. "To see where I was at last year to now, it's just an incredible transformation.

"I've been in some really dark places. Just to be able to turn it around. There are so many people who have helped me get there, but myself, I've shown some serious strength to just continue and persevere and get through all those times and be able to still perform and win tournaments like this one."

Kyrgios' untouchable week in Washington

  • With 64 consecutive service holds, Kyrgios was never broken on his title run, saving all 10 break points against him.
  • The last player with at least 64 service holds was Ken Carlsen, who claimed the 2002 Tokyo title behind 70 consecutive service games won.
  • Kyrgios hit 96 aces during his run, including a tournament-high 35 in the quarter-finals.

His nine-match winning streak eventually came to an end in the National Bank Open quarter-finals in Montreal when Pole Hubert Hurkacz blasted his way to victory.

Kyrgios shrugged off the end of his winning streak, saying in his usual blunt fashion that he could not care less and was more interested in getting home after the US Open to see his mother and father, who are not well.

"I honestly don't care," said the Australian. "I've been away from home, away from my mum, away from my dad.

"They're not very well at the moment. So I don't really care about 'no winning streak'. I've got two more tournaments left before I can go home," he said, referring to Cincinnati and the US Open.

Kyrgios' change in mindset was evident in Cincy after bowing out to Taylor Fritz in 51 minutes, condemning the Australian to his second defeat since losing to Djokovic in the Wimbledon final.

But now attention quickly turns to the US Open where Kyrgios will hope to get his body and mind back in tip-top condition for what he hopes will be another memorable fortnight.

His record in the Big Apple is nothing to write home about having never been beyond the last 32. He has an 8-8 win-loss record. However, with everyone talking about Kyrgios for the right and wrong reasons, there's no time like the present for the Aussie to finally prove to the world that he belongs at the top of men's tennis.

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