Kyrgios reminiscent of Sampras, says Woodbridge

Tue Jul 1, 2014 7:08pm EDT
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By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) - Former Wimbledon semi-finalist Todd Woodbridge described fellow Australian Nick Kyrgios's stunning victory over world No.1 Rafael Nadal on Tuesday as one of the best performances he has ever seen from a teenager.

The 19-year-old wildcard continued his dream Wimbledon debut at the All England Club by overpowering the 14-times grand slam champion 7-6(5) 5-7 7-6(5) 6-3 to book his place in the quarter-finals.

"It's one of the best performances I've seen in my 30 years in tennis from a teenager," Woodbridge, who made the singles semi-finals in 1997 and formed one of the world's greatest doubles partnerships with Mark Woodforde, told Reuters minutes after watching the Center Court thriller.

Kyrgios, a former junior world No.1, has an eye-catching, attacking style that is already drawing comparisons with some of the world's greats.

Three-times Wimbledon winner John McEnroe has likened the athletic Australian upstart to Boris Becker, while Woodbridge believes there are similarities with a young Pete Sampras - the man who ended his run in 1997.

"For me it's a bit like a Pete Sampras when he first made his mark," he said. "We all knew he was good then but he went bang at the U.S. Open and won the tournament (as a 19-year-old).

"I think we are a long way from winning the tournament but it's a long time since we've seen some one do what he's doing. I think back to when a young Rafa burst on to the scene as a teenager, that's what it's like."

When Kyrgios served for the match at 5-3 in the fourth set, many would have expected some nerves.   Continued...

Nick Kyrgios of Australia reacts to defeating Rafael Nadal of Spain in their men's singles tennis match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in London July 1, 2014.                REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth