After falling short in the Wimbledon final two months ago, Nick Kyrgios will have another chance to claim his first Grand Slam singles title at the US Open over the next fortnight.
Kyrgios wasn’t even in the Grand Slam conversation at the start of 2022 but has rediscovered his potential in recent months.
With another ATP singles title to his name, the Australian will enter the US Open as a genuine contender and there’s a number of reasons why Kyrgios is capable of becoming champion.
1. In the best form of his career
Since his defeat to Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final, Kyrgios has come back to the court better than ever.
After a brief holiday in the Bahamas, the 27-year-old marked his return to action at the Atlanta Open where he opted to just play doubles with Thanasi Kokkinakis.
The Australian Open champions ended up taking home the title and dropped just one set across their four matches.
From Atlanta, Kyrgios then jetted off to Washington where he juggled playing singles and doubles at the Citi Open.
Even wet weather and delayed matches couldn’t stop his incredible run in both as he became the first man to win singles and doubles at the tournament in the same year.
Kyrgios then headed to the Canadian Open where he came from a set down to beat world number one and reigning US Open champion Daniil Medvedev.
While Kyrgios would eventually fall in the quarter-finals and fail to progress past the round of 32 at the Cincinnati Masters, the Aussie has played some of his best tennis over the past few weeks.
His winning 10-2 singles form over the past month should have the entire US Open field on red alert.
ALL THE FEELS 🔥
The moment @NickKyrgios became the champion in Washington! 💪@CitiOpen | #CitiOpen pic.twitter.com/Xuiqe50K4a
— ATP Tour (@atptour) August 7, 2022
2. Not the same old Kyrgios
After losing the Wimbledon final, some may have expected Kyrgios to slump back into bad habits.
But rather than regress, the 27-year-old has made some notable progress with how he handles setbacks on the court.
While still prone to occasional outbursts and umpire callouts, he has shown a calmer side over the past month.
During his successful run at the Citi Open, even the commentators were impressed at one point when Kyrgios showed some of his new-found restraint.
“It’s remarkable, the silence is deafening,” they noted on air.
“It’s a bit unsettling isn’t it. This is what we’ve been talking about. This is what we have seen. There’s been a few moments of frustration but he’s got himself back on track and this is obviously the goal to try and keep himself settled, calm and focused.”
A key reason for that appears to be the fact Kyrgios has got his mental health back on track after a tough 2021.
“To see where I was at last year to now, it’s just an incredible transformation,” Kyrgios said in August.
“I’ve been in some really dark places and just to be able to turn it around. There are so many people that have helped me get there, but myself I’ve shown some serious strength to just continue and persevere through those times.”
3. Off-court relationship blooming
As Kyrgios makes progress on the court, he has been helped off it by the stability of his relationship with girlfriend Costeen Hatzi.
The pair have been inseparable this year, with Kyrgios clearly in love and seemingly grounded by her presence on tour.
Hatzi can often now be spotted in Kyrgios’ box during matches and that addition may well be helping him keep his cool at times.
Some players need a partner to bring out their best and this past year suggests Hatzi is doing just that for Kyrgios.
What a week 🏆🏆 pic.twitter.com/0CHr9VLW1k
— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) August 8, 2022
4. Seeded and rested
Kyrgios’ good form in August saw the Aussie’s ranking soar so much he secured a seeding for the US Open this year.
That makes his initial path at the tournament considerably easier with Kyrgios set to avoid a fellow seed until at least the third round with Medvedev looming in the fourth round.
After securing his seeding, Kyrgios made the wise decision to make the Cincinnati Masters his last tournament before the US Open.
The 27-year-old was looking fatigued after such a busy few weeks but will now head into a golden Grand Slam opportunity rested and raring to go after a fortnight off.
5. Few players capable of stopping Kyrgios
Having already beaten Medvedev this month, Kyrgios looms as a player few will be able to stop when he’s in full flight.
Australian Alex de Minaur found this out the hard way at the Canadian Open when he was rolled 6-2 6-3 – a scoreline that didn’t do Kyrgios’ domination justice.
Novak Djokovic, who beat Kyrgios at Wimbledon, has been ruled out of the US Open this year due to his decision not to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Another big name in Rafael Nadal has spent much of the past month sidelined with injury and his returning match at the Cincinnati Masters saw him beaten by unseeded Borna Coric.
Kyrgios himself has backed young Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz as his US Open favourite and a battle between the two power players would be quite the sight.
Polish star Hubert Hurkacz, meanwhile, has beaten Kyrgios twice already this year and seems to have the Aussie’s number but the pair won’t meet in the opening rounds due to their placement in the draw.
6. US crowd loves Kyrgios and he loves them back
Kyrgios has always had an affinity for playing in the US and in front of Americans who have often admired his swagger and showmanship.
That positive relationship has been evident over the past month with Kyrgios often interacting with the crowd to his benefit rather than detriment.
The Aussie has often referred to the US as a second home and has won three of his seven ATP titles to date in the country.
Former world number two Alex Corretja is expecting big things from Kyrgios at the US Open this year and believes he will be backed by the fans with the Aussie not set to play an American until at least the round of 32.
“The crowd in New York will love him. I mean, for sure, because he’s the perfect type of player to play in New York,” Corretja told Eurosport.
“It’s huge and Nick suits perfectly that ambience and that crowd. So I think he could be easily one of the home crowd favourites.”
7. Double the threat
Should Kyrgios fail to win the singles title at the US Open in 2022, you’d be brave to bet against him also not triumphing in the men’s doubles with Kokkinakis.
The two close friends won the Australian Open earlier this year before also winning in Atlanta.
Kyrgios himself then won the Citi Open doubles title with American Jack Sock and clearly has a knack for playing well with a partner.
The Aussie has in fact used doubles previously to work on his serve and returns with that practice paying dividends in his recent singles matches.
So whether it be singles or doubles, there are plenty of reasons why Kyrgios has a real chance of leaving the US Open as a champion and finally living up to his ‘king’ nickname.