Tennis enigma Goran Ivanisevic wants the naughty Nick Kyrgios to reconcile with the outrageously gifted Nick Kyrgios to ensure he becomes a grand slam champion.
Ivanisevic remains the only player in history to win Wimbledon as a wildcard, having famously harnessed the talents of “good Goran with bad Goran” for his historic march to the 2001 title.
Three times a Wimbledon runner-up before breaking through with a titanic victory over Australian Pat Rafter, Ivanisevic was ranked a lowly 125th in the world when he finally prevailed at The All England Club.
Tellingly, the Croatian hot-head said that was the first time he’d felt at peace on court, having struggled to control his emotions during a truly turbulent career.
“I was able to separate these two things: Good Goran and bad Goran and they were helping each other for the first time,” Ivanisevic told the Australian Open YouTube.
“Usually they were against each other and they created a lot of bad losses, a lot of stupid losses.
“I lost so many matches especially against big players – Pete (Sampras), Andre (Agassi), Jim (Courier) – tight matches but they always waited for me to make some stupid, crazy mistakes.
“But in that two weeks they (good Goran and bad Goran) were friends – enemies but friends – and they helped each other a lot.”
Almost 20 years on and now part of Novak Djokovic’s coaching team after guiding countryman Marin Cilic to 2014 US Open glory, Ivanisevic sees a lot of himself in Kyrgios, tennis’s modern-day Jekyll and Hyde.
And he believes the new and improved Kyrgios showed enough during his cool run to the Australian Open fourth round to suggest the 25-year-old is also on the way to parlaying his enviable potential into grand slam spoils.
“He has some issues deep down – he is the worst for himself and I know how he feels,” Ivanisevic said.
“He is fighting with 100 people, sometimes he wants to prove something that is impossible to prove.
But there is no sense to talk about his talent because he is one of the biggest talents. He is the guy who can win grand slams. He can beat anybody any day.
“He is, for me, the best server in the game. He can do whatever with the ball.”
But, as Ivanisevic said, Kyrgios “has his demons”.
“He is getting better and better and he will honestly regret one day if he’s kind of not be able to change.
“Because the guy’s so talented, to not be able to win a grand slam would be a shame for tennis.
“Hopefully he can change and do it because deep down he’s a good guy and tennis needs Nick Kyrgios and Nick Kyrgios needs tennis.
“But hopefully he can manage to do it better on the court and I think he could definitely in the future win a grand slam.”