Kyrgios “not bad for a part-time player” | News, Sports, Jobs


WIMBLEDON, England (AP) – Nick Kyrgios was back on the Wimbledon stage, delivering his unmistakable brand of directing and shooting, with tennis that was both exhilarating and maddening.

Even though he hadn’t played on tour at all since February, even though he arrived with a grand total of 15 competitive games in the past 18 months, Kyrgios has shown he can still deliver the goods when he was thinking about it.

Just days after finishing the long hike from the comforts of his home in Canberra, Australia to the grass courts at the All England Club – leaving the carefully calibrated practice and preparation to others – Kyrgios has made a comeback in force, edging No. 21 seed Ugo Humbert 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-1, 9-7 on Wednesday in a 3-all-suspended game in the last set one evening earlier in due to a local curfew at 11 p.m.

“Not bad for a part-time player,” a smiling Kyrgios told the crowd at Court No.1, letting them know that his plans for the rest of the day included playing video games with his girlfriend at the tournament “bubble” Hotel.

It was one of more than two dozen first round games that ended on day three after rain on Monday and Tuesday which muddied the schedule and contributed to court slippage that left some players slipping. and stumble.

So while 19-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic – who made just six unforced errors and beat double major finalist Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 – and others like Andy Murray, Frances Tiafoe, Sebastian Korda, Fabio Fognini, Aryna Sabalenka, Garbine Muguruza, Sloane Stephens and Iga Swiatek reached the third round on a cold, overcast and busy day, some were just making their way to the second: Jelena Ostapenko, Victoria Azarenka, Marin Cilic, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Taylor Fritz, among them.

“I am visibly tired. I have fallen several times. Fairly smooth terrain, “ said Murray, a two-time Wimbledon winner who had two hip operations and returned to beat qualifier Oscar Otte 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2. “But considering everything, I feel good. I feel good.”

Sofia Kenin, Australian Open champion and 2020 French Open finalist, and Venus Williams, 41, who won five of her seven major championships at Wimbledon, lost in the second round. Kenin’s departure means that seven of the 11 top-ranked women are now out of the squad, including defending champion Simona Halep and Naomi Osaka – both of whom retired ahead of the tournament – and Serena Williams, who injured her her right leg when she slipped in her game on Tuesday. and could not continue.

Djokovic faced less severe foot issues, but was otherwise quite close to the flawless against Anderson, who hit 41 aces in his opener but only managed 11 on Wednesday.

“Still a long way to go. I hope I can go very far in the tournament. That’s the goal,” said Djokovic, who is aiming for a third straight Wimbledon trophy and a sixth overall and is now 16-0 in Grand Slam games in 2021. “But I’m very happy with the way I’ve played so far.”

Much like Kyrgios, for the most part, wagging his racket to ask fans for more noise as he strutted past his best shots.

Then again he also shook his head or thought he was “waste” after many hiccups.

Here’s something else he seems to be doing a bit: store whatever negative he reads or hears about himself and use it as motivation or just make fun of it.

“Look, a lot of people were like, ‘There’s no way. There is no point in leaving with this short preparation. I heard a lot of things. (Someone said to me, ‘There’s no way you could get off the couch and compete at this level.’ said Kyrgios, 26, whose Wimbledon debut in 2014 included a win over Rafael Nadal en route to the quarter-finals, a round he has not reached since in the tournament.

“I’m like ‘Dude, I know my game.’ I know how to play on the grass. I’m not afraid of anyone in the draw. I know if I believe and if I feel good mentally, I know what I’m capable of “, continued Kyrgios, who was ranked 13th but is now 60th after all that inactivity. “I have been playing this sport since I was seven years old. … I’m going to serve big and play big and just compete.

Tongue firmly in his cheek, he compared this trip abroad to a vacation, and as he addressed the media via video conference, Kyrgios leaned back, his head tilted to rest against his hands – a pose worthy of a beach chair.

Against Humbert, whom he also beat in five sets at Melbourne Park this year, Kyrgios did more than “Serve big and play big.” “

Of course, there were the 23 aces. And the flashy forehands he skimmed without warning at endpoints. And, yes, of course, ill-advised rigging shots, like the float between the legs for no good reason on the set point ball for Humbert – on the set point ball! – which helped give the third.

Then again, maybe this is part of Kyrgios’ charm – you never know what you’re going to get, so you better go online to find out.

In fact, he’s shown impressive patience in long backline rallies at the end, ready to wait for a point until his nemesis is wrong. Indeed, Kyrgios won 9 of the 14 points which lasted at least nine strokes. Moreover, it was he who got the break of service in the penultimate game to take control.

“When he plays well” Humbert said, “He’s one of the best.

This checks. Just ask him.

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