In their quarterfinal match in Miami Alexander Swerev left a shot short and his opponent Nick Kyrgios charged the net to presumably end the point. Kyrgios could have ripped a full forehand that Swerev would have little chance of returning. Instead Kyrgios did a very Kyrgios thing: he hit the ball weakly between his legs, having fun yet prolonging the point (which he eventually won anyway). Suffice it to say, Roger Federer would never do that. Not that he couldn’t — there’s nothing Federer can’t do with a tennis ball. It’s just that given a chance to put away a point, Federer puts away the point.
So it’s new era style versus old school in a hot Friday night semifinal at 7pm in Miami, as Kyrgios — a commanding athlete with great gifts — takes on Roger Federer, the greatest player in men’s tennis history — who happens to still be winning Grand Slams at age 35. Kyrgios might be wise not to go between his legs unnecessarily against Federer, but then again, who knows? At one point in the Zverev match, Kyrgios recommended his opponent challenge a call that went against him. It was a moment of fine sportsmanship from Kyrgios, and he wanted to be rewarded for it. Kyrgios told the crowd he wanted to “see it on social media.” Federer has not yet asked a crowd to help publicize him this way. There was plenty anyway on social media about Federer winning his 18th major in Australia in January.