Nick Kyrgios returned to Wimbledon with his trademark showmanship and shotmaking. Tennis is both exhilarating, and frustrating.
Kyrgios proved that he can still deliver, even though he had not been on tour since February.
Kyrgios won the No. 1 ranking, just a few days after he had completed the long trek from Canberra, Australia to the All England Club grass courts. Ugo Humbert, 21 seed, won 6-4, 4-6 and 3-6. He also won 6-1 and 9-1 on Wednesday. This match was suspended at 3:all due to a local curfew of 11 p.m.
A smiling Kyrgios said, “Not bad for someone who is only a part-time player.” 1 Court and let them know that his plans for the remainder of the day included playing video with his girlfriend at the tournament’s “bubble hotel”.
After rain Monday and Tuesday, which caused a delay in the schedule and led to some players sliding and stumbling on the courts, he was one of over two dozen contestants that ended up finishing on Day 3.
Novak Djokovic, 19-time Grand Slam champion, made just six errors to beat Kevin Anderson, 6-3. 6-3. Iga Swiatek, Frances Tiafoe and Fabio Fognini also reached the third round. However, others like Victoria Azarenka and Marin Cilic, Iga Swaik and Garbine Muguruza were still making their way through the second round.
Sofia Kenin, the Australian Open champion, was the French Open runner up in 2020. Venus Williams, 41, who has won five of seven major Wimbledon championships, was eliminated in the second round. Kenin’s departure means that 7 of 11 top-ranked women are now out of the bracket. This includes the defending champion Simona Osaka and Naomi Osaka, who both withdrew prior to the tournament. Also, Serena Williams was hurt her right leg during her match Tuesday, and couldn’t continue.
Djokovic had to deal with some footing issues, but was otherwise very close to perfect against Anderson. Anderson had 41 aces in the opening match, but only managed 11 Wednesday.
“There is still a lot to do. I hope to go deep in this tournament. “That’s our goal,” Djokovic said. He is aiming for a third Wimbledon trophy and sixth overall. “But I’m very happy with how I’ve been playing thus far.”
Kyrgios was, for the most, making noise to request more fans as he paraded around looking for his best shots.
He shook his head, or said that he was “rubbish” after a few misses.
He also seems to be able to store every negative comment he hears or reads about himself, and use it either as motivation or just plain mock it.
“Look, many people were telling me that there was no chance. It’s not worth you continuing with such a short preparation. “Someone was telling me that there’s no way you could compete at this level if you don’t get up off the couch,” said Kyrgios 26, whose 2014 Wimbledon debut included a victory against Rafael Nadal and a trip to the quarterfinals. This round is the first he’s not reached since the tournament.
“I’m like, “Dude, I know what my game is.” I can play on grass. I don’t fear anyone in the draw. Kyrgios continued, “I know if my belief is strong and I feel good mentally, then I know what I can do.” Kyrgios was ranked No. 13 but is now No. 60 after all that inactivity. “I have been playing this sport since the age of seven years. … I will serve big, play big, and compete.
He spoke with his tongue in cheek and compared this trip abroad to a vacation. As he spoke to media via video conference Kyrgios leaned back, tilting his head to rest against his hands. It was a pose suitable for a beach chair.
Kyrgios was able to defeat Humbert in five sets at Melbourne Park, this year.
Yes, there were 23 aces. He also flashed his forehands with little regard to end points. The ill-advised tricks shots, such as the between-the-legs, without-good-reason for-it, floater set point Humbert — set point! That contributed to the giving away of the third.
Maybe that’s the charm of Kyrgios. You never know what you might get so tune in to discover.
He actually displayed remarkable patience in lengthy exchanges at baseline in the late-going, willing to wait until his foe would misstep. In fact, Kyrgios won 9 out of 14 points that lasted at most nine strokes. He also won the penultimate service break to regain control.
Humbert stated that “when he’s playing well”, he is “one of the best.”
This is a good sign. Ask him.