Nick Kyrgios turned his Wimbledon campaign on its head with a “ridiculous” performance that blew the world away.
Nick Kyrgios’ show has returned to Wimbledon – and you won’t want to look away because he might not be around much longer.
The wild Australian completely destroyed 24 seed Filip Krajinovic in the second round on Thursday night – turning his tournament on its head – before marking the end of his tennis career.
The 27-year-old came off a first-round match that shocked the world and made him the most talked-about player at the tournament – for all the wrong reasons.
Suddenly the world is talking about his tennis again.
Kyrgios has set up a dreamed-up third-round showdown with number 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas, which has been dubbed a quarter-final de facto, given the lack of big names in their part of the draw.
He did it in style and with sheer firepower, taking the 6-2 6-3 6-1 victory in just 85 minutes.
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The match statistics show what a bloodbath it was – and how ordinary Kyrgios made such a high-ranking player look.
He finished with 49 winners and only 10 unforced errors. He also had 24 aces and lost only three of his 40 points on the first serve. Whimsical and with barely a sign of his usual antics.
“I felt like it was a bit of a statement,” he told the Tennis Channel after the game.
“I’m just tired of the media now. They’re just aiming for all my matches. So today was about just being locked up. I joked with them at the time: ‘I think it’s great that you have nothing to write about today’.
Kyrgios got a kite with some dizzying composed tennis and completed the first set in just 26 minutes.
Kyrgios looked unbeatable and won his first 21 points on service.
The first point he lost on pre-match serve was in the third service game of the second set.
Kyrgios’ display made Todd Woodbridge dream of great things.
The Australian double legend said Kyrgios can reach the semi-finals and beyond.
“This is the year that that opportunity awaits,” he told Channel 9.
“He is in the bottom half of the draw with Rafael Nadal and he has beaten him here before.”
British sports analyst Rory Flanagan described Kyrgios as a “cheat code” in a post on Twitter.
Tennis journalist Jose Morgado wrote: “This is just ridiculous of Kyrgios. My God”.
With the men’s draw open for him, at least one Australian corporate bookmaker moved Kyrgios to the fifth betting line to win the entire tournament.
He is seen as a potential threat after runs in the semi-finals in recent grass-court events in Stuttgart and Halle.
Kyrgios told the Tennis Channel that he believed he is playing the best tennis of his career. And after declaring after the match that he only sees himself playing for two or three more years because he wants to start a family, Kyrgios knows this could be his best shot at making it to the final weekend of a slam.
His performance on Thursday night reminded everyone how serious of a threat he is.
“I wanted to remind everyone that I’m pretty good,” he said with a straight face during his court interview.
“I couldn’t have played better.”
He later added: “I know what I’m bringing to the sport. I’m one of the most important people in the sport.”
But perhaps his biggest statement came when he was asked about his doubles campaign with Thanasi Kokkinakis. The pair were scheduled to play their first round match on Friday morning (AEST).
But Kyrgios revealed that his doubles campaign would be jeopardized by his focus on his singles.
“Thanasi understands that he also plays in mixed doubles, so he can have fun there,” he said.
Kyrgios stunned Rafael Nadal on his way to the quarter-finals at the All England Club in 2014, but has never progressed past the fourth round since.
Despite his incredible form, there was previously a moment of high drama when a referee blunder threatened to trigger another Kyrgios tantrum in the first set.
The moment the chair umpire allowed Krajinovic to challenge a linesman’s call after he had already gone through his groundstroke.
Kyrgios had to teach the umpire about the rules.
“You can’t argue with that,” he said.
“What are you talking about? It doesn’t matter if it was out, you already called game. It doesn’t matter. You can’t do that.”
Woodbridge said on TV commentary that it was a “moment of terror”.
“No, no, no – the referee made a mistake there,” he said.
Kyrgios is still facing a penalty – likely a fine – from the tournament for the incident of spitting at spectators he believes were disrespectful during his first round win.
En route to a five-set win over Paul Jubb on Wednesday morning, Kyrgios labeled a linesman a “snitch” with “no fans” and argued repeatedly with the chair umpire.
The Canberran continued to spew fire during his post-match press conference – where he ate pasta in between answers – and refused to apologize for his behaviour, reiterating his allegations of misbehaving fans and denying any sympathy for officials.
He was widely criticized in the tennis world, with global media personality Piers Morgan calling him a “pig” on Thursday.
Originally published as Kyrgios marks career end after ‘statement’ win raises hopes of Wimbledon breakthrough