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Roger Federer has been recognised as a pioneer for tennis players around the world, creating a new outlook on tennis alongside superstars Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic that has never been seen before. But controversial Australian Nick Kyrgios claims his style has been taken too far – with the opinion that professionals such as Grigor Dimitrov even base their playing style on the Swiss icon.
Federer, 40, remains in the top 20 of all players in the world despite having turned professional over 23 years ago.
The Basel-born star won his first Grand Slam aged just 22 at Wimbledon in 2003, and has since romped home to 20 Grand Slam titles – a record shared with Djokovic and Nadal.
His emergence on the tennis scene has influenced young talents throughout the world to try their hand at tennis in order to realise their potential.
And his own style set him apart from the rest of the pack before being emulated by others.
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But Kyrgios believes that this can be a bad thing by telling certain players – namely Dimitrov – who copied him to get their own style of playing if they are to be more successful.
“The most influential player to ever play is [Roger] Federer,” Kyrgios said on his No Boundaries podcast.
“Like people model their game.
“There’s guys like [Grigor] Dimitrov, who literally model their game. Get your own game.
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“I love Grigor, but imitation is the worst form of flattery.”
The pair have squared off four times, with the Bulgarian winning three to Kyrgios’ one.
And they could face each other yet again, especially at such young stages of their careers.
Kyrgios has yet to win a Grand Slam, with his closest efforts being quarter-finals in 2014 and 2015 at Wimbledon and The Australian Open respectively.
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The Australian-born entertainer opened up on his early career, saying his performances weren’t up to scratch due to sexual frustration.
“With my first girlfriend, I was away from her for six months at a time,” Kyrgios said.
“When you’re trying to perform at the highest level, you start missing someone like emotionally, physically and it becomes a sexual frustration.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re in an office job, if you’re not seeing your significant other, it affects you, your work, your mood, everything.”
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