Gone In 37 Seconds, Kyrgios Blows Away Shot Clock
As player after player has praised the implementation of a shot clock on the ATP World Tour in recent weeks, the mercurial Nick Kyrgios must have been laughing.
A shot clock, a device that's meant to speed up play and enforce the 25-second time limit between points?
His play and his motivation, self-admittedly, might vary from match to match and tournament to tournament. But receiving a time-violation warning has never been a worry for Kyrgios, who's one of the fastest servers on the ATP World Tour.
For the Aussie, the stop watch is a reminder to do the opposite: slow down.
“Sometimes when the shot clock is not there, I'll just continually keep going and going and going. And with the shot clock there, I mean, I'm at the line with, like, 20 seconds to go. I'm, like, 'Jeez, I can relax and compose myself a little bit'. I don't even really notice it at all, to be honest,” Kyrgios said.
The 15th-seeded Aussie beat American Denis Kudla 6-7(2), 7-5, 7-6(9) in the first round of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati on Tuesday. Kyrgios was in a speedy mood.
Despite the match going three sets, it took less than two hours, and at 1-1 in the decider, Kyrgios recorded what has to be one of his fastest services games yet. He hit two service winners and two aces in 37 seconds, faster than the world record for the 400-metre sprint (43.03 seconds) and the 100-metre freestyle swim (46.91 seconds).
“A quick game is a good game. I don't really need to think between points. I know what I'm going to do. I mean, I don't really think about it,” Kyrgios said. “Just go up and pick a spot, literally.”
His quick style of playing might come naturally, said Craig O'Shannessy, an analyst for ATPWorldTour.com, among other outlets, but it's also the right idea.
During those 25 seconds against Kyrgios, opponents have little to no time to think about what's working and what they should do next.
“It stops the opponents from cycling through game plans to beat him,” O'Shannessy told ATPWorldTour.com. “When he takes that thinking time away, that game plan formation time away, he's robbing players of the ability to figure out how to beat him.”
Opponents, O'Shannessy said, might try slowing Kyrgios down. Maybe wander to the back of the court after points and saunter back to the baseline before he serves, or find a few more beads of sweat to wipe with the towel. Returners, however, must still play to the server's reasonable pace.
“He wants to play fast, he wants to win fast,” O'Shannessy said.
The style has worked for Kyrgios in Cincinnati. He reached his maiden Masters 1000 final here last year (l. to Dimitrov).
“I have been doing it my whole career,” Kyrgios said, “I like free points, and I don't like to rally too much.”