Sport

Federer impressed by Kyrgios performances

Nick Kyrgios plays a
Nick Kyrgios plays a "tweener” against Novak Djokovic. Clive Brunskill

ROGER Federer offered Nick Kyrgios a stunning compliment on the eve of their mouthwatering showdown at Indian Wells, declaring the enigmatic Australia has finally "arrived” at the top of men's tennis.

Kyrgios set up a quarter-final showdown with his idol Federer after a superb 6-4 7-6 victory over five-time champion Djokovic on Thursday (AEST).

It was the Australian's second win over the Serbian world No.2 in a week - having also triumphed in straight sets in Acapulco - and Federer led a chorus of praise suggesting the fiery youngster was now finally starting to fulfil his potential.

The Swiss great has always been a big fan of Kyrgios, however he's been more conservative in his praise recently amid Kyrgios' many controversies. Federer, though, didn't hold back when asked about the 21-year-old's latest performance.

"(It is) very impressive to beat Novak in back-to-back weeks, basically on Novak's best surface,” Federer said of Kyrgios after the Swiss legend scored an equally impressive straigh-sets win over Rafael Nadal.

Roger Federer has praised Nick Kyrgios.
Roger Federer has praised Nick Kyrgios. LARRY W. SMITH

"It goes a long way for all the players - not that he needed to prove his point - but I think now he has really arrived on the scene.

"He's beaten all the guys: Novak, myself, Rafa. It's very impressive.”

Kyrgios has long spoken of his admiration for childhood hero Federer and was invited to train with the 18-times major winner in Switzerland three years ago.

Kyrgios won his only previous encounter with Federer, in a tight battle at the Madrid Masters in 2015, but it's the current form of both men that make this match-up so exciting.

"I love his serve,” Federer continued on Kyrgios.

"He came to Zurich way back when before he beat Rafa at Wimbledon a couple of years ago now. I was very impressed with how good he was already and now he's showing it.

"The goal for him needs to be to do that point for point, week for week, year for year from now on. Then he can achieve great things.

"I'm looking forward to (this meeting). The time when we played it was in Madrid. Super bouncy, super fast clay court at altitude. I had match point and I ended up losing.

"This is a bit more normal conditions for both of us. So I'm actually quite excited to see what it's going to be.”

On the prospect of facing Federer again, Kyrgios said: "Roger is one of my favourite players of all time.

"(But) it's just another match for me. I have to get ready for tomorrow. "I am serving really well. That is creating chances for me to put pressure on their service games.

"My mentality is improving and I am trying really hard to fight for every point and just compete.”

Topics:  atp tour indian wells nick kyrgios novak djokovic rafael nadal roger federer

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