Nick Kyrgios cruised to a straight–sets win in his opening match Tuesday at the 2017 French Open, beating Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-3. After the match, Kyrgios was asked what he likes best and worst about playing on clay.
"I don't really like running. That's one thing," Kyrgios said. "So when the rally gets pretty long I tend to just go for a low-percentage shot."
I can relate to this. Running isn't fun. When I get tired on the court, usually after about three groundstrokes, I'll just try to smash it as hard as I can or hit some stupid drop shot. And if you've ever watched Kyrgios play, you've definitely seen him inexplicably go for a low-percentage shot, though surface doesn't seem to be a determining factor here.
Kyrgios, who acknowledged clay isn't his favorite surface, also doesn't like the fact that his shoes get dirty.
"When I'm back home I don't really train that much on clay because it makes my cars dirty," he explained.
This is totally legit. As someone who grew up playing mostly on clay, I can attest to the fact that clay is the worst. It gets absolutely everywhere. After I play on clay, I leave a trail of it behind me for weeks. I'll find remnants of it in the car, in the house, on random parts of my body—pretty much all over the place. Most clay courts have a small trough of water outside the court to step in, purportedly to wash off clay from your shoes, but I'm not convinced that helps. It might even exacerbate the problem.
You might argue that since Kyrgios is a professional tennis player, the tidiness of his cars shouldn't be a consideration in his practice schedule. But don't forget that he moonlights as a used car salesman (OK, just that once).
I have to imagine the interior of Rafael Nadal's cars look something like the Mojave Desert.