Nick Kyrgios, the story of Wimbledon 2014
2 July 2014 | 3:07pm
Nick Kyrgios has been patiently waiting for his opportunity to make the leap from junior to senior tennis since winning the Junior Australian Open back in 2013. Just over a year after entering his first senior grand slam at the French Open in 2013, where he caused an upset beating top 10 player Radek Stepanek, he has kept his head down working on his game and adapting to the physical and psychological demands of the men’s game. In the meantime, the former Junior number 1 was taking the challenger tour by storm, winning his first title at 17 years old before taking back to back titles in 2014.
Nick’s opportunity came after being given a wildcard to the Wimbledon Championships after defeating fellow Aussie, big serving Sam Groth in 3 sets at Nottingham, all by tiebreak. This, his first senior Wimbledon and on the grass: Nick’s favourite surface. His first opponent was Frenchman Stephane Robert, in which he came through against a tricky opponent who refused to give in. Nick hit a massive 29 aces in the 4 sets it took to take him into the second round.
As for any young player trying to make a name for himself, Nick came across a big name in the second round. His opponent was the graceful French player, Richard Gasquet, the number 13 seed at the Championships. Nick took a while to adjust to his surroundings, playing in front of a capacity crowd at the 4,000 seat court 2. This by far the biggest stage for the 19 year old Aussie. He lost the first two sets 3-6 6-7 but was showing signs of the aggressive tennis he has become known for after spending time training with tennis legend and fellow Nike player, Roger Federer. Nick turned things around, with breaks in the third and fourth to level the tie at 2 sets all. The fifth set went to the wire, with momentum swinging from one player to the other. The young Australian showed he has not only the ability to mix it with the best physically, but also mentally. Grinding the points out when put under pressure from the delightful backhand of Gasquet and to perform the skills acquired in training when it matters on the big stage.
Nick grew into the game as it developed and by the fifth set, he was loosening his long limbs and playing with flair and precision. The crowd reacted to this, with Aussie fanatics chanting at what felt like every Kyrgios point. The famous running commentary provided by the player provided amusement for the surrounding spectators, as they warmed to him as the game went on. After a string of successful uses of the Hawkeye system, Nick went on to save a total of 9 match points, an open-era record on the way to victory at the All England Club, the biggest of his career. The crowd immediately erupted as the Aussie fired his 21st ace of the match. Nick, however, remained calm, respectfully shook the hand of his opponent and appeared focused on the next task in hand.
His tie with Jiri Vesely was eagerly anticipated, as they are both hailed the future of tennis, being the two youngest men left in the draw and both on the back of huge 5 set wins against giants of the game. It was a frustrating morning out on court 17, with the rain pouring down and covers remaining on before a brief spurt of play, where Kyrgios was broken. After a four hour wait, the players came back on and Nick didn’t look back at all after losing the first. He once again came into his own in the second, third and fourth sets, cruising to a four-set win holding every service game with another 26 aces and winning the final set 6-2.
Nick then went on to face the world number 1, Rafael Nadal on the biggest stage in world tennis. He once again showed his lack of fear and willingness to impress the worldwide spectators. Nick came flying out of the blocks, winning the first set by tiebreak, playing some incredible tennis, including a winner shot through the legs. Rafa, unsurprisingly, fought back, breaking the powerful Kyrgios serve to win the second. However, the Aussie powered through, winning the third and fourth sets and recording a massive 37 aces on the way to the biggest victory of his young career. The media went wild over the young star, naming it one of the biggest upsets. However, Nick said that he always believed he was going to win , further showing the confidence of the young man.
Nick currently leads the Championships in terms of aces, with 113 to his name. A great feat in its own, added the fact that his management company, Global Tennis Connections have vowed to donate £5 to the charity ‘Rally for Bally’ for every ace served makes this a tremendous sporting and charitable act.
His success has bought praise from players both present and past, with Pat Cash describing him as ‘The Real Deal’ and has shown his feelings on how Nick is the best tennis player to come out of Australia since Mark Philippoussis. The next week could add the icing to an already memorable Wimbledon cake for the young man. Turning him from hopeful wildcard, former junior number 1 to challenger on the world stage against the best as a mature man. Dare to dream.