Roger Federer put on a show in the US Open third round on Saturday that his opponent Nick Kyrgios admits he almost enjoyed witnessing the Swiss magician pull off impossible shots against him.
The No. 2 seed, seeking a first US Open crown since 2008, shrugged off four break points in a tight first set before storming to a 6-4, 6-1, 7-5 victory over Kyrgios.
A stunning around-the-netpost shot in the middle of the third set was the highlight from Federer on Arthur Ashe stadium on Saturday, and it left Kyrgios in absolute awe.
“I was trying to tell him that the shot wasn’t that good (smiling). No, it was almost unreal. Almost got to the point where I wanted him to start making shots like that, and I finally got it. I was pretty happy with myself,” said Kyrgios.
“Tt was unbelievable. I’m probably going to place it on Instagram.”
Kyrgios was arguably the better player in the opening set but losing it made things tougher for the 23-year-old to keep up his level, and Federer was clutch when he needed to be.
The No. 30 seed rushed the net 30 times but was only successful on 14 occasions as Federer cleanly executed one passing shot after the other.
Federer out-aced Kyrgios, slamming 16 to the Aussie’s 13 and hit 51 winners in total against just 24 unforced errors.
Kyrgios was overheard saying “I need to hire a coach” during the match, but during his press conference he denied saying that. He has been coach-less for years and was asked if he thinks hiring one would help his career overall.
“Maybe. I think more of my tennis is more to do with the mental side of things rather than technique or, you know, tactics or anything like that. You know, we’ll see. Maybe,” he said.
“I get told a lot, ‘What do you want from your career?’ I wouldn’t say I’m satisfied with my career. I think there is a lot more to be done and there is a lot more to be, I mean, explored.
“In my career, I don’t think I have — I have been around for about four years now. I have barely done anything. I think I can do a lot more. As I said, it’s all mental with me, I think. If I want it enough, you know, I have a coaching option, psychology option.
“I think there is a lot more things to explore. But, I mean, obviously I want to achieve more in the sport. I don’t think I have done anything.”
Meanwhile, Federer was pleased with how focused he remained throughout the match but he did notice when Kyrgios started imitating his service motion — something the Canberra-native tends to do from time to time.
“Well, doesn’t matter if it’s a Grand Slam match or a first round of any other 250 tournament or any place. We have all imitated serves. Sure, it’s unusual to happen against you with your own serve,” said Federer.
“Yes, of course, I knew right away when he imitates my serve, and I have seen him doing it several times over the last few months. Also that he’s been using my serve sometimes to great effect, which I’m very happy to see. It’s a technique that worked (laughs). No, I’m joking.
“It’s good fun. Look, I take it like just as it is. I think in Stuttgart, maybe or some other place, he warmed up against me only hitting my serves. I know it’s about warming up the shoulder. Other guys probably use their own technique. Other guys probably use it differently. It’s all good.”
The 20-time Grand Slam champion takes on another Australian in round four, John Millman, who defeated Mikhail Kukushkin in four sets on Saturday.