ATP Tour

Philippoussis: If asked I would mentor Kyrgios

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Nick Kyrgios (Getty Images)
Nick Kyrgios (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Former Australian tennis player Mark Philippoussis has said he is open to mentoring world number 13, Nick Kyrgios, if the young troubled Australian tennis star asked him.

Kyrgios, who has been without a coach since the eve of Wimbledon 2015 when he stopped working with Todd Larkham, has often been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

At the 2015 Wimbledon Championships, after failing to return numerous serves, Kyrgios was accused of "tanking" – deliberately not playing up to his abilities – during his fourth round loss to Richard Gasquet. 

Then during a match at the 2015 Rogers Cup, Kyrgios generated controversy for insults directed at his opponent Stan Wawrinka when he told the Swiss: "Kokkinakis banged your girlfriend. Sorry to tell you that, mate". 

Then in October his year at the Shanghai Rolex Masters, Kyrgios was fined US$16,500 and banned for eight weeks for 'lack of best efforts' against Mischa Zverev in the second round.

Kyrgios and Philippoussis have similar styles of play and temperament, both with massive serves and while the 21-year-old Kyrgios has not struggled with any major injury issues, two-time grand slam runner-up Philippoussis was never able to totally fulfil his potential due to injuries amongst other things.

The two will be playing together at next month's World Tennis Challenge exhibition event in Adelaide and in an interview with Fox Sports News 500, the 40-year-old Philippoussis said he was open to the idea of working with Kyrgios.

“He’s someone that’s very intriguing to think about coaching, of course,” Philippoussis told Fox Sports News 500.

“But you’ve got to know what’s involved and be sure that you’re ready for that.

“For me to be away from my family, it’s got to be for good reason. I would like the person to listen to me. So we’ll see.

“I know him and I think it’s very important for him to pick the coach and for him to say he’s ready to have a coach. It’s not going to work if his agent or his manager picks a coach for him.

“It (coaching him) is a very interesting thought because I know what he’s capable of and, to be quite honest, I know what he’s going through at stages because I’ve gone through the same thing.

“If anyone can understand what he’s coming from on a personal level, and what he’s going through, I believe it’s me because I guarantee I’ve been there.

“I believe that I could definitely help him but also his game, because as good as he is and as talented as he is, there’s still room for improvement.”

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