Wimbledon: Kyrgios ready to 'light it up' as Australian star criticises ban on Russians

By Sports Desk June 26, 2022

Nick Kyrgios is convinced he can make Wimbledon stars "look pretty ordinary" and insists he will embrace being a crowd "villain" when he starts against British wildcard Paul Jubb.

The Australian world number 45 has looked sharp on grass already this month, reaching semi-finals in Stuttgart and Halle, where his runs were ended by Andy Murray and Hubert Hurkacz respectively.

Kyrgios, who could play Queen's Club Championship runner-up Filip Krajinovic in round two at Wimbledon, expects to have only a small portion of support when he begins against 22-year-old Jubb.

That match is set for Tuesday, and Kyrgios believes he is playing well enough to win through comfortably, ahead of the more obvious tests of his game that lie ahead.

Renowned as an immensely talented firebrand, the 27-year-old would rather be remembered as a grand slam champion, but there are some major obstacles blocking his path to that objective.

"I've played top-10 players in the world this year and made them look pretty ordinary," he said.

That claim is not without merit, given Kyrgios beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in Halle, Andrey Rublev in Miami, and Casper Ruud in Indian Wells.

He is picking and choosing when he competes to allow himself plenty of time to spend with friends and family, and is determined to find a successful work-life balance.

"I know where my game's at," Kyrgios added. "I know if I'm confident and playing well, I'm able to light it up whenever I want. I've got to pick and choose, so when I play, I've got to make sure I'm having some good results and putting in my best effort.

"If I figured that out earlier in my career, maybe the narrative may have been different, but I'm proud to be where I am at the moment.

"I know if I'm serving well and playing well, I can beat anyone. I've beaten pretty much everyone in the draw before."

Kyrgios lost to Russian Daniil Medvedev in the second round of the Australian Open in January and is disappointed the world number one has been banned, along with all Russian and Belarusian players, from Wimbledon.

That position has been taken because of the Russian-led invasion of Ukraine, but Kyrgios said: "My honest opinion is I don't think it was a good idea to ban the Russian players.

"Medvedev is the best we have in our sport right now. I think whenever we have cameras on and a lot of people tuning in, you want a lot of our players to be on showcase for the sport to grow.

"I'm disappointed that they're not here. It's weird not seeing Medvedev here, because we all know what he's capable of."

Medvedev will be far away from SW19 when Kyrgios begins his campaign against Judd.

The 'bad boy' image has stuck to Kyrgios, and he has often not helped his cause, with a string of incidents of volatile behaviour in his past. He accepts the crowd will be siding with the underdog on Tuesday.

"I'm used to wearing that black hat, the villain-type role, and I've just got to embrace it," he continued.

"I'm going to go out there and just play my game. If you look at the results of the last couple of weeks, if I just stick to my guns, the results say I should win pretty easy. 

"But I know that's not going to be the case, so I've got to be focused."

Related items

  • Daria Kasatkina defeats Shelby Rogers in the Silicon Valley Classic final Daria Kasatkina defeats Shelby Rogers in the Silicon Valley Classic final

    Daria Kasatkina continued her strong season on Sunday by defeating American Shelby Rogers 6-7 (2-7) 6-1 6-2 in the final of the Silicon Valley Classic.

    Russia's Kasatkina made her deepest grand slam run earlier this year by reaching the semi-final of the French Open, where she lost to world number one Iga Swiatek, and with this singles title – the fifth of her WTA career – she has claimed a career-best ranking of ninth in the world.

    Against Rogers, the story was how the effectiveness of Kasatkina's serve continued to improve the further the match went on.

    In the hard-fought opening set, Kasatkina won just 53 per cent (26-of-49) of her service points, allowing two breaks of serve and then flailing in the tie-break to drop five consecutive points.

    Something changed from that point on, with Kasatkina improving to take 69 per cent (18-of-26) of her service points in the second frame, and that jumped again to 76 per cent (16-of-21) in the decider as she either figured something out, or Rogers ran out of steam.

    Kasatkina did not allow a single break point opportunity after the first set, while converting four of her six chances to take a double-break in both the second and third.

    Rogers had not lost a single set in her four matches to make it to the final, putting the exclamation point on a terrific run from Kasatkina that included wins over world number 27 Elena Rybakina, world number six Aryna Sabalenka and world number three Paula Badosa.

  • Nick Kyrgios wins the singles and doubles titles at the Washington Open Nick Kyrgios wins the singles and doubles titles at the Washington Open

    Nick Kyrgios capped off a terrific week at the Washington Open by beating Yoshihito Nishioka 6-4 6-3 in the singles final, before combining with Jack Sock to also win the doubles 7-5 6-4 against the team of Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek.

    In the singles, Kyrgios' serve was overpowering against his Japanese opponent, winning 76 per cent (38-of-50) of his points on serve, and saving the only break point opportunity he faced, which came early in the opening set.

    His return game was also sharp, collecting breaks of serve in the first game of each set to snatch all the momentum and keep Nishioka on the back foot and chasing all day.

    Kyrgios finished with 12 aces to Nishioka's three, and finished the match just like he started it with a break of serve.

    It caps off a tournament where he dropped only one set in his six matches – against Frances Tiafoe in the quarter-final – to win his first singles title since this same event back in 2019.

    Just a few hours later, Kyrgios was back on the court with Sock contesting the doubles final, with the pair saving both break points they faced. 

    After an even start, Kyrgios and Sock broke late in the first set, and then struck again to break in the opening game of the second set, going on to serve things out comfortably, never allowing Dodig and Krajicek to even reach deuce against their serve.

    In doing so, Kyrgios became the first player to ever sweep both the singles and doubles in Washington.

    He only had one doubles title before this season – back at the Lyon Open in 2018, also partnered with Sock – but Kyrgios has now won three in the past eight months, emerging triumphant with fellow Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis at both the Australian Open and last month's Atlanta Open.

  • Samsonova wins her second career WTA title with Citi Open final defeat of Kanepi Samsonova wins her second career WTA title with Citi Open final defeat of Kanepi

    Liudmila Samsonova secured her second career singles title on the WTA Tour by defeating Kaia Kanepi in the final of the Citi Open.

    Unseeded Russian Samsonova beat Estonian Kanepi 4-6 6-3 6-3 to take the title in Washington on Sunday.

    It was Kanepi, the tournament's sixth seed, who struck first in a tight opening set with strong serving from both players, capitalising on the only break point opportunity in the 10th game.

    While Samsonova won at least 70 per cent of her service points in each of the three sets, Kanepi's effectiveness dipped after the opener, with a 77 per cent (20-of-26) success rate in the first set, which dropped to 63 per cent (15-of-24) in the second and the third (12-of-19) to provide the Russian with an avenue back into the contest.

    Kanepi led 3-2 in the second set, before Samsonova rattled off the next five games, securing a double break in the process and forcing a decider.

    In a tight third frame, with Samsonova leading 4-3, she created three break point opportunities and only needed the first to grab a winning buffer, serving out the match for the title.

    It is the 23-year-old's first singles title since her maiden victory at the German Open 14 months ago, and she only dropped two sets in the process while defeating fifth seed Elise Mertens, second seed Emma Raducanu, China's Wang Xiyu and Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.