Nick Kyrgios vs. Alex de Minaur: The match Australia has been waiting for

Australia’s current top two male tennis players, Nick Kyrgios and Alex de Minaur, will finally meet for the first time in the round of 16 at Friday’s Canadian Open (AEST).

Although they’re both Aussies and capable of beating anyone at the top of their game, that’s where the similarities between the two players pretty much end.

Kyrgios is a fiery player on and off the pitch, capable of putting off stunning shots but also allowing his temperament to get the best of him.

De Minaur, on the other hand, rarely loses his composure, keeping his shots simple and making up for lack of overwhelming power with sheer hard work.

Their career paths have also been quite different, with Kyrgios peaking at 13 in his roller coaster rankings in 2016 and just 137 earlier this year. De Minaur is a much more steady climber, peaking at 15th in 2021 and not dropping out of the top 50 since August 2018.

There’s also an almost four-year age gap between the pair, with De Minaur just reaching his prime at 23 and Kyrgios trying to make up for lost time at 27.

Neither has won a Grand Slam tournament despite their undisputed potential, but are finding form at the right time before the US Open begins at the end of August.

De Minaur won his first ATP title in over a year at the Atlanta Open earlier this month, while Kyrgios ended his three-year losing streak at the singles titles with a win at the Citi Open and defeated world number one Daniil Medvedev to set up the all-Australia showdown.

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Nick Kyrgios

While De Minaur has been consistent in recent years, Kyrgios has generally been a wild card but found some much-needed stability in 2022.

Early success at the Australian Open in men’s doubles with Thanasi Kokkinakis appears to have created a new side in the 27-year-old who have since won two more doubles titles.

Kyrgios and De Minaur appeared to have a fight at Wimbledon earlier this year, but Cristian Garin came two sets down to beat De Minaur in the round of 16.

Kyrgios didn’t have that much trouble against the Chilean before finally falling short in the final against Novak Djokovic.

Story of Kyrgios and De Minaur

While Kyrgios and De Minaur have not played each other before, they previously played together at the ATP Cup in early 2020.

The unlikely doubles pairing came from a serve against Brits Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury 3-6 6-3 18-16 in a crucial match that saw the two Australians celebrate wildly.

Following their win together, De Minaur praised Kyrgios as he acknowledged the differences between them but stressed they could bring the best out of each other.

“We’ve always had a great relationship. Nick has always done everything in his power to help me and I’m always grateful for that,” De Minaur said at the time.

β€œAs everyone knows, we are not the same person. We’re actually quite different, but we complement each other very well.

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“When it comes to team environments, there’s nobody out there you’d rather have than Nick.

β€œHe will always have your back in all phases and will do everything for you. It’s the things you don’t see because it’s all behind closed doors and in the shadows. You almost wish we could have a camera in there, in the dressing room, in the squad room, on the bus rides and you’d see him involve everyone.”

De Minaur was subsequently forced to withdraw from the Australian Open in 2020 following her ATP Cup success, with Kyrgios dedicating his first-round win of the tournament to him.

While they may be friends off the pitch, the two can’t be much different and Australia will finally see which style comes out on top at the Canadian Open.

Will Kyrgios prove he really can be king? Or will De Minaur show the power of stubborn determination?

It’s the match Australia have been waiting for and the result could well determine which of these players can be serious contenders for the US Open in 2022.

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