Breaking it down…….

Tonight on Rod Laver Arena there is a major storm brewing for all to see. On a day where the rain has come down and play has been limited to the show courts it is fitting that tonight on center court a hurricane is set to erupt. Nick Krygios has arrived in Melbourne with the usual hype and entourage but there is something different beneath the surface. A more quiet, subdued and relaxed approach appears to be the focus but all in all it is the calm before the storm because tonight on RLA the Krygios factor will be on display. Standing in his way is the powerhouse Czech Tomas Berdych who’s Grand Slam resume reports that big matches he has played aplenty. Grand Slam finals and Semi finals are not foreign to him but even he knows that in the air tonight a sense of uncertainty will be present.

Both players come into this encounter in sublime form and the two going head to head tonight will bring fireworks. Krygios comes in as the unknown. The time bomb waiting to explode at any moment. He brings the show while Berdych will have the approach to stay focused and not get involved in the antics and drama. Berdych has the experience on Tour to come in with the mindset that this is all business and if he’s going to break thru at Grand Slam level then a 3rd round encounter such as this needs to be regulation. This though will be anything but. The reason it won’t be is because Krygios is anything but regulation. The boy wonder from Canberra is even better then advertised. He has the ability to roll thru ATP Tour level opponents like they are a nuisance and holding him up from hanging out with his boys or watching the next NBA blockbuster on ESPN. Players with that ability are unique and the Krygios antics could even be excused and come about down to sheer boredom. He flys thru his service games at lightning speed as in his weaponry he has a world class serve that appears unplayable at times. Standing 6 foot 4 and with extremely long arms Krygios has the levers to rock serves down at frightening speed effortlessly. A mechanically sound and efficient motion helps this but the athleticism is also key. A whippy forehand that he can accelerate and pull the trigger on at any location in the court causes serious complications for opponents. He has the ability to play it with safety with solid net clearance or unleash the flat ball with maximum velocity. The two handed backhand technique appears rather flat with little margin for error but the Krygios hands allow him to hit it consistently when the heats on. The biggest suprise in the Krygios package is the movement. For an athlete of Krygios size he moves very well and even though the lateral movement is not world class yet he has exceptional perceptive skills and always appears in position due to his anticipation. This skill alone is generally a natural adaptation that players either have or they don’t.

Tonight’s heavyweight contest will tell us a lot of things. They will tell us for the first time in the tournament whether Krygios can put all the weaponry together to get another prime time scalp. Tomas Berdych will be ready. He hits the ball from the baseline like a sledgehammer and will come out of the blocks hot. Berdych is a tremendous athlete in his own right and he will be ready for a high level match that he knows he must get thru if he is to break his Grand Slam hoodoo. Krygios is a much more dynamic and explosive athlete and he has the weaponry, game and the flash to signal to the rest of the field that he is not waiting for anybody. He is indeed ready now for the Big Show. The hurricane may indeed erupt tonight. Be ready for it and make sure you don’t forget the flash.

Jade Culph is a former Collegiate All-American athlete in the sport of tennis. He is currently a High Performance Sports Coach and Consultant with a Bachelors degree in Sport Management and a Masters degree in Exercise Science. He is the Founder and Managing Director of JC Visionary Sports and is the Director of his own Tennis Academy in Australia. He is a sort after sports writer and motivational speaker.

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