Reflections on the Kyrgios-Federer Stuttgart Clash

It has been a great privilege to witness once more a clash between perhaps the two most talented men to have ever graced a tennis professional tennis match in the modern era. Paul Annacone - the ex-coach of Roger Federer - himself said that the most talented man after Roger Federer which he has ever witnessed, was the Australian-Malaysian. Here are some of our key takeaways from the match:

1) Kyrgios could just be Federer's replacement as King of Grass

Although the scores between the two have been very similar - they were all played out to three sets of mainly tie-breaks - Kyrgios seemed to have pressurized Federer more in this match on grass with his immaculately timed flat backhands, and vicious forehands. The benefits of such flatness of the backhand are enormous on grass, as such surface accentuates the speed and penetrative weight of such his flat balls. His forehand is of note too given how it travels relatively flat until it kicks up from the ground viciously - as such, he does not suffer from a mutual exclusivity of the spin and penetrative shot that afflicts Nadal. On top of that, he is a serve fast and perhaps as consistently razor sharp as Federer - another tactical advantage which the grass surface accentuates.

2) Federer seems to be the one person who brings out the best in Kyrgios

I have noticed how Kyrgios always seemed to be usually focused in his last two matches against Federer, and thus came up with such a theory. My witnessing their third encounter proved such theory of mine right. Why do we think such? He becomes more apparently fired up in matches against Federer, and his footwork much more sharp. This perhaps also explains the frequency of the tie-breaks in matches between the two - which is typically representative of a contest in which strengths equal, or roughly equal, clash.

3) Would Thiem become Kyrgios' nemesis

If Kyrgios were to take over Federer's de facto position of King of Grass, the interesting question arises about his future relationship with the future King of Clay, Dominic Thiem. Will their rivalry play out in similar fashion to the Federer-Nadal one. We believe that such the Kyrgios-Thiem rivalry (in the early stages at least) would be the obverse of the early stages of the Federer-Nadal one. Instead of the King of Clay severely threatening the King of Grass across all surfaces including his, it would be the King of Grass being in such domineering position. Kyrgios has proven himself the all-surface expert that Thiem has not. Would Thiem be able to play catch-up in this aspect? Federer certain was not able to on clay, so we doubt Thiem would be able to given a lack of perfomance on the other surfaces. What do you thin?

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