Is Nick Kyrgios a legitimate chance to upset the Novak Djokovic apple cart 🍎🛒 in the Wimbledon men’s singles final on Sunday?
Anything is possible, but the Super Serb is looking to win his fourth Wimbledon in a row and seventh overall. Djokovic has experience to burn. This will be his 32nd Grand Slam men’s finals appearance, which is the most of any player on the planet.
When you look at the big picture, Djokovic ticks all the boxes. But when you drill down and look at their simple head-to-head results, it’s Kyrgios who takes the honors.
- 2017 Acapulco Rd16 Kyrgios def. Djokovic 6-4, 7-6(3)
- 2017 Indian Wells QF Kyrgios def. Djokovic 7-6(9), 7-5
So what did Kyrgios do so well in those two matches that forged his pathway to victory?
Glad you asked…
Kyrgios’ serve is unreadable. You can’t read his toss. You can’t read his alignment. You can’t read his mind. If he serves wide or down the T, you have no idea which one is coming until the ball is off the strings. And oftentimes, that’s simply too late to do anything about.
Unreadable. Unpredictable. Unstoppable.
I was on Djokovic’s coaching team for these two matches in 2017, and I did an analysis of his serve after the matches to see if there was something I missed with his serve. When I ran a microscope over it, I discovered it was even better than I thought.
Let’s look at the first video. It’s Kyrgios hitting a first serve to Djokovic in the Deuce court of their Indian Wells match.
VIDEO 1: Deuce Court Simulcam in Slow Motion
Now let’s look at the two serves side by side.
Deuce Court Side By Side in Slow Motion
Now let us look at the two serves at normal speed.
Deuce Court – Simulcam Normal Speed
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Let’s start the Ad court analysis with a side-by-side comparison of a T serve and a wide serve.
Side By Side Normal Speed
Now it’s back to the Simulcam view.
Simulcam Ad Court Slow Motion
Now, let’s go so side-by-side in slow motion.
Side By Side Ad Court Slow Motion
Djokovic thrives on reading serves and getting into the server’s mind to figure out what’s coming next. Good luck against Kyrgios.
- In their two matches played in 2017, Kyrgios won an impressive 62% (29/47) of 2nd serve points.
- Djokovic could not break Kyrgios in either match.
- Kyrgios only faced one break point in 23 service games.
And lastly, there is the unpredictability of speed on Kyrgios’ second serve.
In their Indian Wells match, Kyrgios had a substantial 46 mph (70 km/h) difference between his slowest second serve and his fastest. What’s startling is that these two extremes happened in succession late in the second set, helping the Aussie secure victory.
With Kyrgios serving at 5-6, 40-30 in the second set, he hit an 83 mph (134 km/h) second serve wide in the Ad court that Djokovic barely made contact with above his head.
Kyrgios’ next second serve came at 3-2 in the tie-break. It was an extremely fast 126 mph (203 km/h) ace right down the middle. Djokovic even moved in that direction, but the heavy slice put it well outside his reach.
Djokovic’s first-serve average speed at Indian Wells was 115 mph (185 km/h). Kyrgios hit 11 second serves that were faster than that! Djokovic’s fastest first serve was 128 mph. Kyrgios hit one second serve faster – a 129 mph delivery down the middle of the ad court at 1-2, 40/0 in the second set. Kyrgios’ second serve did yield four double faults, but it also contributed three of his 14 aces.
Kyrgios was lights out serving in their Acapulco match, hitting 25 aces while yielding just one double fault. It’s basically impossible to try and read Kyrgios’ serve. And he mixes so well that you have no idea what’s coming. Djokovic is the heavy favorite, but Kyrgios possesses one of the best serves of all time. Djokovic has never broken him and never beaten him.
Let’s hope for a battle of the ages! Good luck, gentlemen!
PICTURES: Deuce Court Side By Side
PICTURES: Ad Court Side-By-Side