Nick Kyrgios joins the Australian Ninja Warrior team

Ben Fordham, Nick Kyrgios, Rebecca Maddern and Shane Crawford head up the Ninja Warrior commentary team. Picture: Channel Nine
Ben Fordham, Nick Kyrgios, Rebecca Maddern and Shane Crawford head up the Ninja Warrior commentary team. Picture: Channel Nine

There's no doubting that tennis star Nick Kyrgios is an athlete. You only have to watch him move around the court to know he's a man with significant athletic prowess. He's confident and sure of himself, ready to take on any opponent. Until now.

Kyrgios has joined the commentary team for season five of Australian Ninja Warrior and the world No. 58 is more than happy to admit he would have no chance against Mount Midoriyama, the daunting final obstacle on the course.

"In fact I wouldn't even pass the first obstacle," says Kyrgios, who spent a couple of weeks on set at Sydney's Olympic Park during the filming of the series.

"The activities that those humans perform are insane ... as pure athletes, to do Ninja Warrior, you really have to be a different breed.

"The activities they were doing on the course were insane, and watching it live you could really see the strength needed. The technique required was incredible."

Are there any similarities between Ninja and tennis?

"I can definitely see how it could carry through to the tennis court," he says.

"I think the tennis court is a little bit more technical, obviously with a racquet in your hand, you have to master a skill. But there are definite similarities - to play tennis at the highest level you have to be a different breed as well."

Kyrgios and AFL legend Shane Crawford were on the course with the athletes, part of their role was to hype up the crowd, and support the contestants through the course.

Like Kyrgios, Crawford - who was also a handy athlete in his prime, the former Brownlow medallist played 305 games for Hawthorn in the Australian Football League before he retired in 2008 - bows down to the ninja course.

"We've had to make this course bigger and better than ever before," says Crawford. "Last year fan favourite Ben Polson defied the odds and became the first person to conquer Mount Midoriyama so we've ramped things up a notch."

There are 26 new obstacles on the course this year and Crawford promises plenty of "gob smacking" falls and fails this year.

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But he also promises plenty of underdogs who get further through the course than anyone expected and star performances from favourites such as Polson, Ashlin Herbert, Sam Goodall and Olivia Vivian. More than 200 competitors attempted the course.

But Crawford wasn't one of them. "I go out on set I think about it, but I look at the new obstacles and I'm like there's no way I could do that. You might have a go at the warped wall, although it keeps getting bigger."

So who would come out on top if he challenged Krygios? "I would smash Nick, let's be honest, I would take him down easy, you'd just have to make him laugh," says Crawford. "It was fantastic to have Nick as part of the show, he was full of laughs, always smiling, and always talking about Canberra too, he loves the place."

  • Australian Ninja Warrior returns to Channel 9 on Sunday, June 20, at 7pm, and continues at 7.30pm on Mondays and Tuesdays.
This story No obstacles as Nick the ninja joins warrior team first appeared on The Canberra Times.