The wheels fell off for Nick Kyrgios as he went down two-sets-to-one against Frenchman Ugo Humbert in his first round match at Wimbledon, before roaring back to life in a see-sawing affair.
The match was supposed to start earlier on an outside court but because of two lengthy clashes beforehand, as well as some trademark English rain, the encounter was delayed and Kyrgios is now playing under lights on Court 1.
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Kyrgios comes back after wheels fall off
Kyrgios won the first set but dropped the next two as his temper started to boil. After going down 0-3 in the third following a series of poor decisions, the Aussie’s frustration was clear for all to see.
At the change of ends the 26-year-old knew the camera was on him and took the chance to complain to TV viewers tuning in about the court speed.
“For those of you guys at home right now, this should be fast. It’s grass court tennis,” he said. “This is slow. It’s slow.”
After starting so well, Kyrgios’ irritation grew. He muttered angrily to himself in between points and issued an angry plea.
“It’s turf, it should be fast. They made it slow. It’s not turf anymore, it’s a joke,” he said. “This isn’t grass anymore … start watering it … make it a grass court again please!”
Kyrgios’ mood only got worse when he dropped the third set 6-3 but he started the fourth with a vengeance, thundering down four straight aces in a remarkable service game to start things off.
He raced to 4-1 up and interacted with the crowd, which was buzzing as the match reached a new intensity. The wild child drew some laughs when he thanked a fan for giving him some serving advice that paid off.
“Down the T, Nick!!!” shouts a fan.
[Everyone knows he’s gonna serve down the T]
[Nick serves down the T]
[Nick wins point]
[Nick points at fan, yells in gratitude]#Wimbledon
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) June 29, 2021
Kyrgios maintained the rage to win the fourth set 6-1 and send the match to a decider.
First set: Kyrgios’ emotion on show
Kyrgios went down a break early in the first set but recovered to get things back on level terms and even threatened to pull off a cheeky underarm serve in the opening games — much to the crowd’s delight as it chuckled along.
The Canberra product started to find his groove and erupted with roars of approval when he fired up after winning some crucial points. He broke again to take a 5-3 lead in the opener and kept his foot on the throat, closing the set out 6-4 in clinical fashion.
Kyrgios a changed man
Kyrgios is keen to show off a different side to himself this year at the All England Club, saying he “wants to be a better tennis player and a better person”.
Having not played outside of Australia since February last year, Kyrgios says he is changed man.
It’s a transformation partly sparked by a lengthy absence from the tour as his country battened down the hatches in the face of the pandemic.
“I want to be better as a tennis player and a person,” Kyrgios on the weekend. “I have reached a nice level of freedom, nothing fazes me at all anymore and I feel I have more to give the game.
“I feel a lot of people want me to play.”
A former top 15 player, Kyrgios is now down at 61 in the world. He has not played since the Australian Open in February where he let slip a two sets lead to lose to US Open champion Dominic Thiem in the third round.
On the way, he defeated Humbert.
“I definitely feel I could beat 50 per cent of the draw on grass without much preparation,” he claimed.
“I know for a fact that nobody here wanted to play me first round. I feel confident going into this match.”
Originally published as Wild twist after Kyrgios spits the dummy