Roger Federer just paid Nick Kyrgios the ultimate compliment: He plays 'just like me when I was young'

Getty ImagesRoger Federer.
  • Roger Federer and Nick Kyrgios could be putting a tennis rivalry aside in favour of an unlikely friendship.
  • The two competitors squared off in the semifinal stage of an ATP competition earlier this month, but they have since been gushing over each other in the press.
  • Kyrgios has marveled at Federer’s tennis style – praise that has since been reciprocated by the Swiss superstar.
  • Federer even said Kyrgios reminded him of himself when he was young.
  • Federer is competing in the Halle Open in Germany, while Kyrgios is at the Queen’s Club Championships in England.

An unlikely friendship is developing in tennis.

The ATP tour rivals Roger Federer and Nick Kyrgios have been gushing over each other since Federer beat Kyrgios in straight sets at the Stuttgart Open semifinal in Germany earlier this month.

Federer went on to win the title in his first ATP tour competition since March, but his 23-year-old foe left a good impression.

Federer said he did not want to meet Kyrgios again in the near future because he knows Kyrgios is a tough competitor.

“I’d rather not play five-set matches against Nick because they would last too long and we would probably both grow beards before the end,” Federer said, according to Tennis World USA.

Kyrgios has a reputation as the bad boy of world tennis, and though Federer has an ambassadorial image, he said he could relate to the younger pro.

“I lost to Franco Squillari in Hamburg 2001,” Federer said. “I complained a lot. I was disappointed [with] my performance, and so I decided to calm myself down.”

But the comparisons do not end there – Federer complimented Kyrgios by saying their styles were similar.

“I’m a fan, really,” he said of Kyrgios. “He plays very relaxedly, just like me when I was young.

“Fortunately, I changed then, so I could become really successful. But it’s good to have guys like him on the tour. With him it’s more about being focused to motivate himself again, doing the same on every point.”

Nick KyrgiosGetty ImagesNick Kyrgios.

Federer’s praise comes hot on the heels of a glowing report from Kyrgios. The Australian, who recently stunned Andy Murray in the round of 32 at the Queen’s Club Championships in England, reflected on his semifinal loss to Federer by saying he “looks so comfortable on the grass.”

“I have never played anyone with a better sort of serve and first ball, especially on the grass,” Kyrgios said of Federer, adding, “His block return on his backhand side is money.”

Federer has been winning money all year long, though he did not compete from mid-March to mid-June, as he wanted to skip the clay season so he could be as fit and fresh as possible for the Wimbledon Championships in July.

So far, he’s been flawless. He dropped just two sets en route to the Stuttgart Open title, defeating Mischa Zverev, Guido Pella, Kyrgios, and Milos Raonic along the way and adding€117,030 ($US135,655) to his overall earnings for the year ($US4.5 million).

Federer is competing in the Halle Open and is due to compete against Benoit Paire in the second round on Thursday, having beaten Aljaz Bedene in the first round earlier this week.

Kyrgios has a men’s singles match against the British player Kyle Edmund on Thursday.

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