Nick Kyrgios has claimed he is a better tennis player than Serena Williams and said playing doubles with the US star made him feel “uncomfortable.”
The Australian teamed up with the 23-time Grand Slam champion back in 2014 at the International Premier Tennis League, where they lost 6-3 to Kirsten Flipkens and Daniel Nestor.
Speaking about the match on his No Boundaries Podcast, Kyrgios said: “I’ve hit with Serena before. I played mixed doubles with her at the IPTL and it was the most uncomfortable experience for me because she was trying to do everything. And I was like ‘I’m better than you’.
“There are some sports where the levels [between men and women] are quite similar…but deep down I was like ‘Serena you have to get me involved here, we’re getting snipped, give me the ball!’”
Williams and Kyrgios have both played very little tennis in 2021. The US icon remains in search of a 24th major title but has struggled with injuries for much of the year and has had to manage her schedule as a result.
Meanwhile, Kyrgios did reach the third round at this year’s Wimbledon, though he was forced to retire in his match against Felix Auger-Aliassime because of an abdominal injury.
A first-round loss at the US Open then followed and after the conclusion of the Laver Cup, the Aussie announced his season was over.
While Kyrgios didn’t enjoy his partnership with Serena, he has been far more complimentary about her sister, Venus, with whom he played doubles at Wimbledon this summer.
Kyrgios described Venus as a “legend” of the sport and said playing with her was a “dream come true.”
The former Wimbledon quarter-finalist also admitted he is happy with the way he approaches the game and isn’t worried about his lack of motivation compared to others.
“I love the game but I’m not as passionate or driven as they [the top players] are. They’re like once in a generation, once in a decade athletes.
“There’s no chance that [Roger] Federer or [Rafael] Nadal or Novak [Djokovic] or [Andy] Murray don’t love it. If you watch Murray’s documentary, he’s having phone calls in the middle of the night at 3am to his team saying, ‘I’m scared to not play, like I don’t know what I’m going to do without the sport.’ That’s not me.
“You have to pick what you want, do you want fun or more titles? You can have a little balance but I have picked my poison. I am happy.”
Kyrgios could make his return to action at his home Slam in Melbourne next year.
The 26-year-old reached the quarter-final of the Australian Open in 2015 but may fancy his chances of going deep in the competition, especially with the crowd likely to be on his side.
Serena may similarly make her return to action as she continues to chase women’s tennis history.