Former Australia Davis Cup captain John Fitzgerald says Canberra young gun Nick Kyrgios is in the middle of his most important development phase, but doesn’t think the world No.66 needs a high-profile coach for the next stage of his blossoming career.
Kyrgios is considering a switch from current Melbourne-based coach Simon Rea, after deciding he wants to be closer to his family.
He will leave for Melbourne on Monday to begin a three-week training block with Rea before his next tournament – the Rogers Cup, in Toronto, from August 2.
His first date with Rafael Nadal was a dream come true, knocking Nadal out of Wimbledon and off the top rung of men’s tennis, and the Canberran might not have to wait long for his next outing with the world No.2.
The Rogers Cup is part of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 series and the top 44 men’s players have committed to it, including Nadal, world No.1 Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and the man who knocked Kyrgios out of Wimbledon in the quarter-finals, Milos Raonic.
Rea has coached Kyrgios for the past 18 months, which has seen him climb from outside the top 800 to within sniffing distance of the top 50.
But Kyrgios is considering a switch and Aussie legend Pat Cash, who coached Mark Philippoussis to the 1998 US Open final, threw his hat into the ring earlier this week.
Fitzgerald didn’t want to comment on Kyrgios’ coaching situation as he didn’t know the details, but he did feel choosing a coach was horses for courses.
“Whatever works for the athlete – Roger Federer spent a large part of his career with no coach,” Fitzgerald said.
“I think it’s horses for courses, I really do. You work out along the journey what you need and what you don’t need … just surround yourself with good people.”
But Fitzgerald did think Kyrgios was in the middle of the most important stage of his career, which would decide exactly how high the 19-year-old could climb on the world rankings.
He said a player did most of their development from the years of 15 to 22.
It was a stage when Kyrgios couldn’t afford to be satisfied and needed to keep pushing himself to ensure he got the most out of what Fitzgerald hoped was a long career.
Fitzgerald said the surge to the Wimbledon quarter-finals had been a fantastic step forward and he was excited about what Kyrgios could achieve at the world’s most famous tournament in the future.
“Young players improve mainly at his age – from 15 through to 22 is a massive part of your development and he’s in the middle of that,” he said.
“He’s improving quickly, but he can’t stop improving otherwise the ceiling comes down on the end result, so you’ve got to keep improving to try and keep that ceiling as high as possible.”