Serving at 5–2, 40–15, Kyrgios already had five aces. His forward momentum carried him toward his chair, as if that were his destination all along.
He hits flat serves more than a hundred and forty miles per hour. He can put on so much spin that the ball arcs in at eighty-four miles per hour and then leaps up above the returner’s head, as if the ground were a trampoline.Across the net from Kyrgios was Nicolas Kicker, a twenty-four-year-old Argentine who is ranked ninety-fourth in the world.“I think deep down, in his own way, he’s becoming more professional,” Paul Mc Namee, a retired Australian player and a former C. I was left with Morris, a compact Englishman with a thoughtful look. Nick’s father, George, a housepainter, came from Greece as a child; his mother, Nill, a computer engineer, was born in Malaysia.They reared three children, Christos, Halimah, and Nicholas, in a split-level house in a suburb of Canberra.A few minutes later, he served and rushed the net, letting Kicker’s return fly by him; the ball landed well inside the lines. Down set point, with a second serve, Kyrgios went for the ace. Kyrgios ran around his forehand to hit a tweener—a between-the-legs shot—from the doubles alley, which Kicker easily blocked back into the open court.
When Kicker broke his serve and took command of the set, Kyrgios slammed his racquet into the dirt. So, perhaps, did his spirit; his grandfather, who helped rear him, had died a few weeks before.“I think Nick is the most talented player since Roger jumped on the scene,” Paul Annacone, a former coach of Federer and Pete Sampras, has said. Jon Wertheim, the executive editor of , once called him “tennis’ id.”It was the second round of the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Lyon, a small tournament in the run-up to the French Open.There was a charge in the air, as there always is when Kyrgios plays.Kyrgios, the twentieth-ranked tennis player in the world, stepped to the baseline.He briskly bounced the ball and rocked forward to begin his serve, his arms swinging.He has a narrow waist and strong shoulders, a greyhound’s look, and a greyhound’s air of languid indifference.