Saturday 16 February 2019

Federer chides Kyrgios for wasting talent in commentary box

Roger Federer. Photo: Reuters
Roger Federer. Photo: Reuters

Simon Briggs

Having outlasted most of his contemporaries, Roger Federer is now in the business of educating the next generation - not just with the tennis he plays, but his clear-eyed analysis, which he used yesterday to gently chide Nick Kyrgios.

Asked about Kyrgios's presence in the Channel Nine commentary box during his rapid 6-2, 7-5, 6-2 win over Taylor Fritz, Federer expressed mild frustration at all the talent being wasted.

"We need him to play first before commentating - for the next 10 years," said Federer.

"Look, I like Nick. I like the way he plays.

"Yeah, I was happy to hear that he was in the commentary booth. He's got a bit of time, sticks around, shows he's passionate about the game. But we wish he was on the court rather than in a commentary booth."

It was a telling intervention from Federer, who has a way of making his point with such subtlety that his target barely realises that he has been skewered.

In this instance, the key point about Kyrgios is that he loves all the trappings of the game - the commentary stints, the charity foundation, the banter in the locker room - without seeming particularly keen on the tennis itself.

Beating

In his first round here, Kyrgios was easy meat for Milos Raonic, who beat him 6-4, 7-6, 6-4.

And, if that wasn't bad enough, he swore repeatedly on the court while having treatment on his right knee, then posted a picture of himself playing basketball with David Lee - the former Golden State Warriors professional who is now engaged to Caroline Wozniacki - just two days later.

Federer needed only 88 minutes to surge past Fritz - a 21-year-old American prospect - and thus earn a fourth-round meeting with another young pin-up in Greek whizz kid Stefanos Tsitsipas.

In the interview room yesterday, Federer commended the 20-year-old Tsitsipas - who stands second only to Alexander Zverev in the parade of rising young talent - on his adventurous style and the way he performed when they came face to face at the Hopman Cup in Perth, just over a fortnight ago.

"I like how he mixes up his game and comes to the net," Federer said.

"So will I. I think we will see some attacking tennis being played."

© Daily Telegraph, London

Telegraph.co.uk

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