June 22, 2018 / 5:37 PM / a month ago

Tennis: No practice makes perfect for serving king Kyrgios

LONDON (Reuters) - Nick Kyrgios’s ace tally for the week moved towards the century mark on the slick Queen’s Club grass as he felled Feliciano Lopez on Friday but the fiery Australian revealed he rarely practises his most lethal weapon.

Tennis - ATP 500 - Fever-Tree Championships - The Queen's Club, London, Britain - June 22, 2018 Australia's Nick Kyrgios celebrates after winning his quarter final match against Spain's Feliciano Lopez Action Images via Reuters/Tony O'Brien

The 23-year-old’s fluid delivery has worked like clockwork in his three victories so far and he has already fired down 82 aces — 32 of them to oust defending champion Lopez.

That equalled his record for a best-of-three-set match, set the previous day against Kyle Edmund.

Few will want Kyrgios anywhere near them in the Wimbledon draw next week — such is the pace and disguise of arguably one of the greatest shots currently in tennis.

Yet Kyrgios is dismissive of suggestions he must practise his serve to keep it functioning at such a lethal level.

“It’s always been like this for me. My serve’s been like this ever since I was a little kid,” he said.

“It was one shot where I didn’t really practise much at all. I would hit maybe 10 or 15 serves a day, you know, would just relax and hit it as hard — I used to just throw the ball up and hit it as hard as I could. I guess just one day it started winning me easy points. I was, like, this is better than running, and that’s it.

“I will never, ever go out on the practice court and hit serves just for the sake of hitting serves. I mean, I warmed up, probably hit about eight serves before I played today.”

Apart from a wayward first set against five-times Queen’s champion Andy Murray on Tuesday, when Kyrgios’s mind appeared to wander and his choice of shots defied logic, the world number 21 has been impressively focused so far at the Fever-Tree Championships and will a formidable semi-final opponent for Croatian top seed Marin Cilic on Saturday.

It follows an impressive week in Stuttgart where he lost a final-set tiebreak to Wimbledon favourite Roger Federer.

His form vindicates his decision to pull out of the French Open at the last moment because of injury concerns.

“I’m in a good place right now on the grass. I’m serving well. I feel good from the back. I want to just stay focused for this tournament,” Kyrgios, who has never bettered his 2014 Wimbledon run of reaching the quarter-final at a Grand Slam, said.

“I definitely feel like my preparation for Wimbledon maybe hasn’t been this good before. I have never won a round (at Queen’s). I have always gone into Wimbledon maybe a little bit underdone match-wise.”

Reporting by Martyn Herman

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