Nick Kyrgios has spoken out about Serena Williams’ farewell to tennis at the US Open and the fact he will be playing after her on center court on Monday night in New York.
Williams will step away from professional tennis in the wake of the US Open and is set to bid an emotional farewell to the sport at her home grand slam.
Kyrgios will square off with great mate Thanasi Kokkinakis in an all-Australian showdown straight after Williams plays the 1012th (and quite possibly last) match of her illustrious career on Monday night (11am Tuesday AEST).
The 23,771-seat Arthur Ashe Stadium will be packed to the brim to pay homage to the legendary 23-time grand slam champion.
Despite US Open organisers facing backlash for scheduling Kyrgios and Kokkinakis on centre court and shunting 2020 champion Dominic Thiem out to court 17, Kyrgios was unconcerned.
The Aussie star admitted on Sunday that he knows it will be an emotion-charged night, but said he can’t afford to get swept up in the occasion and he probably won’t even be watching Williams’ clash with Danka Kovinic.
“It’s obviously a very special moment for her. She’s probably the greatest of all-time. Whether or not we see anyone deliver the career that she has, I don’t think that’s possible,” he said.
“I’ll just kind of chill out, follow the score to see what my warm-up is and all that, but that’s for her. I don’t know the amount of emotion she’s dealing with. I couldn’t imagine it.
“It would be so exhausting. Everyone’s talking about it, everybody wanting to know how she feels.”
Nick Kyrgios wants to enjoy Serena Williams’ moment
Turning 41 in September, Williams announced earlier this month that her 21st US Open would likely be the last of her career as she “evolves away from tennis”.
Currently ranked 605th in the world after barely playing over the past 14 months, the long-time former world No.1 looks destined to finish up one grand slam title shy of Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24.
“So I just want her to enjoy the moment,” Kyrgios said of possibly Williams’ last competitive tennis match.
“I’m sure she’ll have a lot of nostalgic feelings out there. Hopefully, she wins. I wouldn’t want to see her lose.
“It would be a pretty cool story if she went out with a great result.”
Williams has won the US Open six times, first in 1999 as a teenager, then again in 2002, 2008, 2012, 2013 and 2014.
She has also lost in four major finals – including at the US Open in 2018 and 2019 to Naomi Osaka and Bianca Andreescu respectively – while trying to match Court’s record that has stood since 1973.
But Williams made the staggering claim on Friday that she feels like she’s ‘already broken’ the record – most likely because 13 of Court’s 24 titles came before the Open era.
“I’ve already broken the record,” she said on the Today Show.
“So I think it’s just someone else’s vision and mine is just to … I never dreamed of having this many grand slams or titles
“I just thought I would just play tennis and maybe win a grand slam or two. So for me, it’s all a bonus.”