Nick Kyrgios isn’t exactly looking forward to teaming up with Thanasi Kokkinakis again because of a rogue Wimbledon tradition.
Nick Kyrgios resumes his bittersweet relationship with Wimbledon vowing to continue making “top 10 players look ordinary”.
The volatile Australian shot to fame at the All England Club in 2014 when ranked 114 in the world, he stunned two-time champion Rafael Nadal.
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Kyrgios has been defeating the stars and upsetting officialdom while delighting his army of fans ever since.
“I’ve played top-10 players in the world this year and made them look pretty ordinary,” the 27-year-old said at a pre-tournament press conference.
“I know where my game’s at. I know if I’m feeling confident, I’m playing well, I’m able to just light it up kind of whenever I want.”
The facts back him up. Having sat out the entire clay court season, Kyrgios has excelled on grass this summer, reaching the semi-finals back-to-back in Stuttgart and Halle.
World number six Stefanos Tsitsipas fell to the Australian in Halle. That was the Greek’s third loss in four meetings with Kyrgios.
Fellow members of the top tier such as Andrey Rublev and Casper Ruud have also fallen victim to a sometimes inspired Kyrgios in 2022.
Kyrgios is playing doubles with countryman Thanasi Kokkinakis in London as the pair join forces at a grand slam for the first time since their extraordinary Australian Open win in January.
The Canberran said his priority will be the singles draw and he is “not focused” too much on the doubles, adding he’s not enthused about the prospect of going from best-of-three sets doubles at Melbourne Park to best-of-five at the All England Club.
In an unusual quirk, Wimbledon is the only major on the calendar featuring best-of-five sets in men’s doubles.
“To be honest, I’m not really looking forward to playing best-of-five sets doubles,” Kyrgios said. “I think it’s the stupidest thing ever, to be brutally honest.
“I don’t know why it’s best-of-five sets.
“No one wants to play best-of-five sets doubles, no one wants to watch best-of-five sets doubles.
“I’m excited, but I’m also dreading the fact that if it’s one-set all I’m going to have to be playing three more sets of doubles.
“That’s why I haven’t played it before, it doesn’t make sense because I’ve always gone pretty well here in singles.
“I’m not going to, on my off day, play potentially five sets of doubles.”
Kyrgios made the quarter-finals at Wimbledon in 2014 on the back of his famous win over Nadal. However, recent visits have not been so fruitful and he has yet to get past the fourth round in his last six visits.
Along the way, he has been accused of tanking, complained about the state of the grass last year while admitting he deliberately speared a ball at Nadal in the pair’s bad-tempered 2019 rematch.
Kyrgios knows he has the tools to make the second week at Wimbledon again. “I know if I’m serving well and I’m playing well, I can beat anyone. I have pretty much beaten everyone in the draw before,” he said.
“It’s hard. It’s like not many people have gotten over the hump of winning a slam. I’m one of the people that has to deal with that every week.
“Like, ‘Oh, he’s probably one of the biggest wastes of talent. He should be winning a Slam’.”
Kyrgios will still play to the crowd.
In recent seasons, he has sought the advice of fans on serve placement, perfected the underarm serve and once even demanded a beer while playing at the French Open.
The darker, flip side has seen thousands of dollars in fines and a suspended 16-week ban in 2019.
“The crowd knows I’m going to try and bring a lot of energy, bring a lot of flair and entertainment,” Kyrgios said.
“I think that’s just something I come with now. I can’t really get rid of that. It’s just something I want to do as well.”
Something else he’d like to see is a relaxation of the All England Club’s strict all-white dress code, suggesting allowing a black sweatband or headband.
“I think it would look cool. Obviously Wimbledon doesn’t really care what looks cool,” he said.