Nick Kyrgios calls Novak Djokovic ‘an alien’ and names Zverev as inspiration

Nick Kyrgios gave his verdict on his rivals as he swapped playing for commentating during the ATP Finals. The 28-year-old has joined Tennis Channel as a pundit this week as he continues to recover from a knee injury. Following a dominant season that saw Novak Djokovic sweep three of the four Grand Slams, Kyrgios branded the world No 1 an “alien”. And he admitted that he was looking to Alexander Zverev to inspire his eventual injury comeback.

Kyrgios has played just one match in the last 13 months, making an unsuccessful return in Stuttgart this year where he lost his only match. The Australian underwent arthroscopic knee surgery back in January and has been trying to recover ever since, also picking up a wrist injury over the summer.

While his return date remains uncertain, with doubts cast over an Australian Open comeback, the former world No 13 has turned his hand to another role in tennis – commentary. Kyrgios joined the Tennis Channel studio on Wednesday to preview and commentate on the round-robin clash between Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev.

The 2022 Wimbledon finalist also gave his verdict on several top players, lauding Djokovic’s dominant year and explaining how Zverev inspired him. “Novak is obviously superhuman. He’s an alien from another planet, obviously,” Kyrgios said, reflecting on the 36-year-old’s season.

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The Australian also addressed Zverev’s return from injury after the 26-year-old suffered a horror fall at the 2022 French Open, snapping several ligaments in his ankle and ending his season. After dropping out of the top 20, the German has since climbed back up the rankings and made it into the ATP Finals field as one of the top eight players of the year.

Asked whether he hoped to replicate Zverev’s successful return following his own injury woes, Kyrgios replied: “I mean I hope so. The stars have to align a little bit and with Zverev, he’s an incredibly hard worker. That’s his reputation. He ticks all the boxes and if someone like that can come back from an injury like that, I think that’s what I have to draw inspiration from for sure.”

Djokovic and Zverev weren’t the only players who impressed Kyrgios this year, as the former world No 13 also lauded the two youngest players at the ATP Finals. “I think we all knew that [Carlos] Alcaraz was going to be a bit of a stud at some stage and to be this young and dominating the way he has I think is incredible,” he explained.

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“There’s always going to be people out there saying we want more, we want more. But you’ve got to be patient with him, I think he’s doing enough for that age. And all the other guys. [Holger] Rune pulled it together towards the end of the year. He went through a little bit of a struggle period, pulled it back and that’s great to see, I like him.”

Throwing some other names in the mix, Kyrgios added: “And obviously [Andrey] Rublev, Medvedev, Zverev. These guys are consistent all the time. [Stefanos] Tsitsipas obviously one of the best ball strikers that we have.”

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