Welcome to Tennis Elbow, the column that looks ahead to the latest in tennis. Today, Charles Blouin-Gascon previews day 8 of the 2021 Australian Open.
Though he might have lost in the third round, Nick Kyrgios left his indelible mark in his hometown Grand Slam.
As he is wont to do, you might add. Typically, the Australian leaves no stone unturned as he navigates through a singles draw, winning a handful of matches before bowing out against a better opponent who’s also usually more motivated.
This year’s Australian Open was no exception. Before losing a two-set advantage against Dominic Thiem, before he left this year’s first Grand Slam, he gave an interview and ranked the very best players of this era.
What did Kyrgios say this time?
Look, we know we shouldn’t entertain the 25-year-old: at this point, even criticizing him plays right into his hands. But still, let’s humour him just a little bit.
— Michal Samulski (@MichalSamulski) February 8, 2021
What Kyrgios says about Federer is whatever, it’s fine. Ultimately, it’s probably true that the Swiss is as or more talented than any player in history—or at least that’s the impression Federer gives when he plays, which is really half the battle. For Nadal, too, Kyrgios says no lie and we have no issue.
But the genius in Kyrgios lies in the fact that he foregoes Djokovic to first discuss…wait, this can’t be right? He’s ranking Andy Murray ahead of the current best player in the world? Remember Murray and how and when men’s tennis had a Big Four? Yeah, us neither. It’s only then, once he has praised the Brit, that Kyrgios dares to praise Djokovic.
Never change, Kyrgios. You may not always try your hardest on the courts, but you always do off of them and for that, you’ll always make us laugh.
Matches to highlight
As we do every day, find our three watches to watch below. The rest of the day 8 schedule is right here.
Margaret Court Arena: Mackenzie McDonald vs Daniil Medvedev  (Second match of the day)
Look, it’s undeniably great that a player like Mackenzie McDonald makes the fourth round of a Grand Slam, especially considering everything that the 25-year-old has endured to get there. But he’s definitely overmatched here, playing someone who conceivably could lift the big trophy in a few days.
Rod Laver Arena: Donna Vekic  vs Jennifer Brady  (Second match of the day)
Has there been a player on the women’s side who’s seemed more in control over their first three matches than Jennifer Brady? This isn’t the same as saying that Brady has played the best tennis of the first week, which isn’t the case. But the American has won six straight sets in Melbourne and the closest she came of losing was 6-3 twice.
Good luck to opponent Donna Vekic.
Rod Laver Arena: Fabio Fognini  vs Rafael Nadal  (Third match of the day)
Oh look, the wonderful Rafael Nadal is still in the running, lurking in the shadows and minding his own business as he methodically and systematically destroys the field. This match against Fabio Fognini should be a nice study in contrast, between the surgical precision and destruction of Nadal and the loose and wild style of Fognini.
It won’t last more than three or four sets but still, it will be fun.
Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG