Rafael Nadal has backtracked on his verdict of Nick Kyrgios’ underarm serve after beating the 24-year-old at the Australian Open.
In Acapulco last year the world No 1 slammed Kyrgios for executing several underarm serves, which is a frowned upon tactic in the tennis world.
Nadal claimed his rival was disrespectful to his opponents and the crowd.
Kyrgios used the same move when the pair met at Wimbledon six months ago and again in their Australian Open clash earlier today.
But Nadal has changed his opinion on the matter as he looks to end the feud with the world No 26.
“Probably at the beginning of his career maybe yes, but not now. I am used to seeing him,” Nadal said.
“Honestly, as I said, today I think he played very serious, he played very focused, and he tried all the time his best.
“When he was serving his way, this thing, when I criticise him in Acapulco after the match, people understood that was because he was serving sometimes like this.
“I never criticised that. Is part of the game. I criticised at that moment his attitude on the match, not that he was serving one way or another way.
“I think it’s part of the game. If he wants to serve like this, honestly, better for me. That’s all.”
Nadal and Kyrgios drawn in a line in their bitter rivalry and are now trading compliments instead of insults.
“When he wants to play tennis, when he’s focused on what he’s doing, I think he’s a very important player for our sport because he has a big talent,” Nadal added.
“Yeah, he’s one of these players that can be very, very interesting for the crowd.
“I am never against his way or style to play. When I criticise him in the past is because I think he did a couple of things that are not right and are not the right image for our sport and for the kids.
“But when he’s doing the right things, I am the first one who support this.
“Personally I saw him playing during the whole tournament almost every match, and he has been great, with very positive attitude.
“Personally, I like to watch him play when he’s doing that way. I think everybody likes to watch Nick plays when he’s able to play like this.
“His talent is to be one of the best of the world, without a doubt, with good chances to fight for every tournament.”