Wimbledon 2014: When Nick Kyrgios shocked number one Rafael Nadal as number 144
On July 1st, 2014, Nick Kyrgios first attracted attention - at that time still purely athletic. He beat Rafael Nadal for the first time in the round of 16 at Wimbledon, as number 144 in the world.
by Florian Goosmann
last edit: Jul 01, 2020, 02:05 pm
70 winners, including 37 aces, no signs of nerve, when he made his first appearance on Center Court in Wimbledon. Nick Kyrgios' gala on July 1st, 2014 in Wimbledon: a harbinger of the coming years, a sign of tennis that the Australian can deliver. If he wants to.
7: 6 (5), 5: 7, 7: 6 (5) and 6: 3 ended up for the world ranking 144th, of which only the absolute tennis experts had heard so far and for which John McEnroe predicted a golden future : "We have a new star in the tennis world!"
"I was 'in the zone' and didn't register the audience at all," said Kyrgios at the age of 19 after his sensational victory. "You have to believe from the start that you can win the match. I did that."
Kyrgios: A man for the Grand Slams
Kyrgios made himself the first player out of the top 100 since 1992 to beat a world leader - Andrej Olchovsky had won against Jim Courier. In the quarterfinals against Milos Raonic was over.
Perhaps the craziest thing: Kyrgios had never won a match on the regular ATP tour before, at least two at Grand Slams. He then reached the third round at the US Open and again the quarter-finals at the 2015 Australian Open. But it was only in Indian Wells that he first won a regular tour match against Denis Kudla, his first final came shortly afterwards in Estoril, the first tournament victory followed in Marseille in 2016.
Especially against the big names of the tour, the now 25-year-old is always highly motivated. Against Roger Federer , the very close and high-class matches are almost normal - the first two games ended in three tie-break sets; against Rafael Nadal , he celebrated three wins in eight matches. And against Novak Djokovic he leads in a direct comparison with 2: 0, which recently got him to say that Djokovic could hardly be the best player ever if he could not win against him.
What is Kyrgios missing for the big breakthrough? Training, consistency - and an attitude like a professional in the secondary places of the world. The leap into the top ten of the tennis world is still pending; 13th place was the greatest of feelings in 2016.
Kyrgios as the "voice of reason"?
Kyrgios should not only cause a stir with his tennis. In 2015 in Montreal he made a huge mistake when he shot Stan Wawrinka against the Swiss and his then girlfriend Donna Vekic; followed by sold matches, destroyed folding chairs , locks and psycho-lessons as well as a private feud with Rafael Nadal, whom he wanted to hit on the chest in the 2019 Wimbledon reissue .
After all, the Australian draws more positive attention to itself. In Australia it was he who asked for donations for those affected by the bushfires. Or by railing against Alexander Zverev's party action . "I have made progress as a human being," he claimed after his Melbourne-Off (to Nadal). Kyrgios as the "voice of reason" in tennis? A thought that may come a little early to be set in stone. But the direction is right.