In what has to be, in most probability, the most stunning endorsement of the effectiveness of sports psychologists, Aussie bad boy Nick Kyrgios has beaten Novak Djokovic, not once, but twice.
Only a few short months ago, Kyrgios, for all intents and purposes, seemed on the verge of becoming a poor man’s John McEnroe. All the talent, all the temper, just not the results.
Kyrgios beat the current world number two and former number one Djokovic in Mexico – in straight sets, no less – and then dispatched him again by straight sets when the two met in the quarterfinals at Indian Wells, California.
The recent shift in demeanor and fortunes against top ranked opponents has Roger Federer hopping on the Kyrgios bandwagon as he and the talented by temperamental Aussie head toward a showdown later in the tournament.
Just prior to beating Djokovic, Federer dispatched none other than Rafael Nadal. Ahead of the tournament, Kyrgios’ draw seemed to predict an early exit, but perhaps all he needed was the challenge to keep his focus where it belongs, on tennis, not basketball.
The three remaining Grand Slam events of the season, the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, figure to prove quite compelling as rejuvenated veterans Federer and Nadal, along with Andy Murray, Djokovic and a rising Kyrgios will stage some epic meetings.