Nick Kyrgios' four-set win over world No. 1 Rafael Nadal in the Wimbledon 2014 round of 16 will go down as one of the most memorable upsets in Grand Slam history, and plenty of pundits are already touting the 19-year-old as tennis' next big thing.
We've seen this before: a teen prodigy arriving on the biggest stage with a bang. And more often than not, players like Krygios go on to achieve far bigger and better things.
Kyrgios' history indicates he's headed in the same direction. The Australian won tournaments on a variety of surfaces as a junior, and his raw power and pace translate well to the harder surfaces and grass courts of Wimbledon.
It's not his history or pedigree that gives him the biggest chance for success, however. It's his confidence and fearlessness going up against the very best players in the world.
Appearing in the biggest match of their careers, how many youngsters would pull something like this, per BBC Sport?
Kyrgios wasn't brash or arrogant. But he wasn't taken in by the circumstances either. He believed in his ability to win this match, and that belief was visible in his play.
His reaction after pulling off the upset of the year? This tweet:
The youngster isn't unflappable. As shared by BT Sport's Archie Rhind-Tutt, Kyrgios even considered flying back home just three weeks ago:
Overcoming adversity is a sign of confidence and is something every great player (in any sport) has to be able to do. Kyrgios stayed in the UK, started his Wimbledon campaign and even saved nine match points in his second-round victory over Richard Gasquet (also a top-10 player, by the way).
Sure, Nadal has struggled with back problems in 2014. And sure, he had failed to reach the quarter-finals at Wimbledon in the past two editions, perhaps making this upset slightly less shocking.
But going into a tie-break at the end of the first set against the most dominant player of the past half-decade, none of that matters. Holding your nerves in a situation like that would be difficult for anyone—for a 19-year-old making his debut on Centre Court, it should be impossible.
Not for Kyrgios, who kept serving like a man possessed, putting tremendous pressure on Nadal. The youngster already has a strong, athletic build, able to fires aces clocked as high as 133 miles per hour against Nadal, but he still has much room to grow into his large frame.
Yet all of the physical tools pale in comparison to his mental fortitude, which is what will help him grow into the player many are now predicting he will become. This momentous win will serve as a tremendous boost and reminder of what he can achieve when he puts his mind to it.
Krygios is here to stay, tennis fans. Not just because he has an excellent serve, great size and the technical tools to be an all-time great, but because he knows how great he can be. And on Tuesday, he showed the world that such confidence is justified.
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