By Richard Pagliaro | Monday, August 8, 2022
Nick Kyrgios did not drop serve in his inspired run to his second Washington, DC crown.
Kyrgios knocked off Yoshihito Nishioka in the Citi Open final collecting his seventh title to climb back into the Top 40.
More: Kyrgios Captures Second Washington, DC Crown
Afterward, Nishioka said Kyrgios’ service game is second to none.
Asked to rate Kyrgios’ serve, Nishioka, who has known the explosive Aussie since they were 14-year-old juniors, replied: “I think he has the best service on tour, No. 1.”
Stats support Nishioka’s claim.
Wimbledon finalist Kyrgios leads the ATP in service games won (94.42%).
John Isner is second in service games held this season at 91.52% followed by Reilly Opelka (90.83%), Hubert Hurkacz (90.13%) and serve-and-volleyer Maxime Cressy (89.43%).
At Wimbledon, Isner surpassed Ivo Karlovic as the all-time ATP ace leader. Ace king Isner has rocketed 13,854 career aces.
Isner leads the ATP in aces this year with 759 in 33 matches putting him nearly 200 aces ahead of Opelka, who has launched 573 bombs in 36 matches.
Kyrgios slashed 35 aces, saving five match points along the way, in his Citi Open quarterfinal conquest of hometown hero Frances Tiafoe.
Nishioka says the totality of Kyrgios’ service game—and the fact he backs up his serve with better groundstrokes and superior court coverage—makes him the toughest man to break on the ATP Tour and a superior server to towering Americans Isner, Opelka and Cressy.
“It’s I think most tough to break his service game on the tour. That’s what I think,” Nishioka said of Kyrgios.
The Japanese left-hander said when it comes to solely serving, Opelka is the best, but he rates Kyrgios’ complete serve game as the most dominant in the sport.
“I think just service, I think Opelka is the best. But service game is different,” Nishioka said. “Nick can move, as well. He’s not gonna miss ground stroke that much. He can make a lot ball, as well, when he got pressure.
“Sometimes he going to be crazy, but when he very focused on racquet today, he not gonna miss easy ball. …Opelka or Isner, they can also play ground stroke but not like Kyrgios. That’s big difference. Yeah.”
Hall of Fame tennis historian Steve Flink told Tennis Now this year he regards Pete Sampras as tennis’ greatest all-time server with Isner and Roger Federer rounding out the list of Top 3 servers he’s seen.
“In the book, Martina Navratilova said Isner, Sampras and Federer are the three best servers though she didn’t necessarily rank them,” Flink told Tennis Now. “I would rank Sampras as the best.
“Okay you can argue that Isner or a Karlovic with their height and speed on both first and second, I think Sampras’ placement is probably superior to either of theirs and his ability to serve well under pressure and not suddenly get broken at 5-6. I believe the combination of the first and second serve of Sampras, there’s never been anything like that.”
Photo credit: Citi Open