Kyrgios battles underrated opponent, the crowd, and himself to progress at Wimbledon

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If there’s one thing you can say about Nick Kyrgios’s matches, they’re rarely dull, and his five set victory over Britain’s Paul Jubb in the first round of Wimbledon was no exception.

An ongoing disagreement with a line judge whom Kyrgios called “a snitch”, an underarm behind-the-back-of-the-legs serve, numerous conversations with the crowd and a ball that was thrashed high out of the stadium — that was just the first set.

Despite all the unnecessary yet constantly entertaining sideshows, Kyrgios proceeded to battle past his 22-year-old wildcard opponent 3-6, 6-1, 7-5, 6-7 (3), 7-5 in three hours and five minutes.

Kyrgios hit 29 aces and 62 winners but married that with 53 unforced errors.


“That was incredibly tough,” Kyrgios said on court after the match.

“He played some pretty exceptional tennis.”

Paul Jubb surprised Nick Kyrgios with his tenacity and skill level.(Getty Images: Adam Davy/PA Images)

In gusty conditions out on court three, Kyrgios at times played with his usual relaxed brilliance on the court, but increasingly displayed his undisguised petulance that ultimately proved an enormous distraction.

That was no more in evidence than in the final set.

Kyrgios went from serving for the match at 5-3 to facing break point at 5-5, before recovering to break Jubb in the very next game to win the match.

The crowd copped its share of tongue lashing from the world number 40, with Kyrgios asking the umpire to intervene at the very first change of ends, before a more verbose exchange later in the match.

Nick Kyrgios points to one side as he sits on a chair
Nick Kyrgios singled out members of the crowd.(Getty Images: Adam Davy/PA Images)

“You have to tell them,” Kyrgios said after he received some comments from a section of the crowd.

“They don’t have any right to do that. They’re spectators … they should be removed.

“There’s no pure disrespect like that, I don’t go up to their face and go to their nine-to-five and start clapping when they’re scanning s*** at a supermarket, do I?”

“I agree with you,” the chair umpire said.

“So why does it keep happening?” was Kyrgios’ reply.

“So, pure disrespect from a spectator to an athlete is acceptable at Wimbledon, but you don’t accept a hat with two logos?

“So where’s the line? That’s acceptable, then racism is acceptable, so when does it stop? Where’s the line?

“It’s been happening for years now.”

Nick Kyrgios holds his hand to his face as a fan claps behind him while another cups his hands to his face to boo
Nick Kyrgios argued with the umpires and battled against the crowd.(AP: Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Kyrgios was asked whether he would consider a career in commentary after he finished on account of his talkative nature, to which he said, with a wry smile, that he would consider it if he was paid enough.

Those multiple distractions at the change of ends aside, Kyrgios proceeded to fly through the second set in 24 minutes, before powering through the third off the back of a 200kph serve.

Kyrgios exaggeratedly roared through the deciding game in that third set, but could not recapture that form in the fourth as Jubb battled back into contention.

As the match went into the deciding set Kyrgios, after another discussion with the chair umpire, had one request of the crowd.

“Let’s just agree to be quiet for the whole fifth [set],” he said.

As Jubb pressed Kyrgios all the way the crowd did anything but quieten down, but Kyrgios prevailed.

“The crowd was pretty rowdy today,” Kyrgios he said.

“A couple of people in the crowd were not shy of criticising me. That one was for you, you know who you are,” he added as the crowd cheered him off the court.

Matteo Berrettini pulls out of Wimbledon with COVID-19

Mattero Berrettini holds a silver plate trophy and looks to one side
Matteo Berrettini was beaten in four sets by Novak Djokovic in the 2021 final.(Getty Images: Julian Finney)

Earlier in the day, Matteo Berrettini, last year’s Wimbledon runner-up, was forced to withdraw from this year’s tournament due to a positive COVID-19 test result just hours before he was due to take the court.

The Italian world number 11 was one of the favourites to take out this title and was set to open his campaign on Court 1 against Chile’s Cristian Garín on Tuesday morning.

Instead, he has taken to Instagram to explain his withdrawal.

“I am heartbroken to announce that I need to withdraw from Wimbledon due to a positive COVID-19 test result,” the number-eight seed wrote.

The 26-year-old said he had been isolating for a few days after developing flu-like symptoms.

“The dream is over for this year, but I will be back stronger.”

Berrettini has been replaced in the main draw by lucky loser, Swedish world number 137, Elias Ymer.

Last week, Berrettini had declared himself as one of the favourites to win the grass court major by winning the prestigious Queens Club title for the second year in a row.

Matteo Berrettini kisses a large silve trophy
Matteo Berrettini won Queens for the second-straight year.(Getty Images: Stephen Chung/Xinhua)

In doing so, he became the first player in the Open era to win the traditional pre-Wimbledon tournament in his first two appearances.

Last week Berrettini practised on Centre Court with Rafael Nadal and was also pictured alongside last year’s champion, Novak Djokovic.

Last year, Berrettini lost to Djokovic in the Wimbledon final 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-4, 6-3.

The match took place on the same day as the Euro 2020 final, in which Italy beat England at London’s Wembley stadium.

Matteo Berrettini holds a silver trophy next to the Italian president and Giorgio Chiellini
Matteo Berrettini, right, was lauded alongside the Italian football team in Rome.(Getty Images: Mondadori Portfolio/Rocco Spaziani/Pool)

Just one day after, Berrettini joined the victorious Italian football squad on their victory parade through the streets of Rome, his home city.

Four of his seven ATP title have come on grass, with the Italian winning nine matches without defeat on the surface so far this year.

Berrettini’s withdrawal follows that of Marin Čilić, who withdrew on Monday.

Čilić, the 14th seed, also wrote that he was “heartbroken” to be missing the tournament where he reached the final in 2017.

Posted , updated 

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