Nick Kyrgios admits his first impression of Germany’s Alexander Zverev wasn’t that glowing.At just 20, world No.5 Alex Zverev has been hailed by Boris Becker as the man to lead Germany out of the tennis wilderness.
But ‘s Nick Kyrgios has revealed his first impression of Zverev wasn’t as glowing.
Kyrgios, 22, will resume what has the makings of one of tennis’ great rivalries against German No.1 Zverev in their key Davis Cup reverse singles clash in Brisbane on Sunday.
The n No.1 admitted Zverev posed a tough challenge but wasn’t as complimentary about their first meeting back in junior tennis.
“I would have been 17 or 18. I played him in London in a juniors event, the final of a tournament before Wimbledon,” Kyrgios said.
“Honestly, if you want to know my honest thoughts, when I played him in the final I didn’t know he was going to be that good.
“I broke him first game and he was just carrying on.”
World No.14 Kyrgios now says he is not surprised that Zverev is one of the game’s best.
“I knew he was going to be decent though. He was always pretty confident,” he said.
The first meeting didn’t stop the pair becoming mates – a friendship that will again be tested at Pat Rafter Arena on Sunday.
Kyrgios holds a 3-1 head-to-head record against Zverev – all matches played last year.
“I guess for us it doesn’t matter what our rankings are – we played juniors together, we grew up together,” Kyrgios said of the German star.
“And we’re good mates. Rankings go out the window with us.
“I don’t mind playing him. We both know what we bring.
“I had some luck against him last year and that’s all it is.”
Zverev showed why he has been celebrated as the future of German tennis by six-time grand slam champion Becker in the first round tie’s opening singles rubber in Brisbane.
The 20-year-old’s booming serve proved the difference, finally silencing a raucous Aussie crowd when he prevailed over plucky rookie Alex de Minaur in a four hour, five set epic on Friday.
Zverev has emerged as a shining light for Germany which won the last of their three Davis Cup titles back in 1993.
They have lost in the Davis Cup World Group first round the last three years.
The once mighty Germany are now ranked 14th in the world.
“I think German tennis is coming back,” said Becker, now the German head of men’s tennis.
“We have had some years it has been not as good but Sascha (Zverev) is leading the way.
“And he is only 20. I am happy he is committed to Davis Cup, because these days they have so many other options.”