'Not bad for part-time player': Kyrgios gives Wimbledon crowd 'what they want'

·3-min read

Nick Kyrgios won his first match since the Australian Open on Wednesday, defeating French 21st seed Ugo Humbert in five sets at Wimbledon before declaring: "Not bad for a part-time player".

The 60th-ranked Kyrgios triumphed 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-1, 9-7 in a match held over from Tuesday evening when the final set was level at 3-3.

"Not bad for a part-time player," said Kyrgios.

"Ugo is an incredible kid and I knew I was a massive underdog.

"It was easy to get off the couch in Canberra as Wimbledon is one of my favourite events and I heard there was going to be a crowd so it was an easy decision to come here."

"It's a great change of scenery," added Kyrgios who is playing his first event outside of his own country for the first time since the 2020 Australian Open.

Kyrgios shrugged off an ugly-looking fall in the 13th game of the final set when his right knee buckled beneath him.

On Tuesday, he was overheard muttering that Court One was a joke.

His 23 aces and 51 winners over a player he also defeated in five sets at the Australian Open sent him into a second round clash with Italy's Gianluca Mager.

Four of those aces had come on Tuesday in the first game of the fourth set, a service game which took just 43 seconds.

It is that kind of electrifying performance that makes Kyrgios such a crowd-pleaser.

"I'm doing my best. So I'll continue to go out there and try and give them a show and just try and bring that different aspect of tennis," he said.

"A lot of people wanted me to play because of that. I'm here, I'm trying to give you what I've got. Yesterday the crowd was thanking me. They're like, Thank you, Nick, for keeping me so entertained."

- 'I compete every day' -

Kyrgios studiously avoided leaving Australia during the coronavirus pandemic and was critical of players for not being as responsible as he thought they should have been.

He blasted Novak Djokovic for organising his ill-fated exhibition tournament in the Balkans last summer.

Kyrgios then called the world number one "a tool" for making a list of suggestions -- seen as demands in some quarters -- to Australian Open organisers aimed at easing the quarantine pressures in Melbourne this year.

Life in a bubble is not for the famously sociable Kyrgios who spent the night before his 2019 Wimbledon clash against Rafael Nadal in a local bar.

"That's why I didn't play most of the year. I made the decision that I know myself and I don't bullshit to myself," he said Wednesday.

"I know that, Nick, are you going to be in a good mental space over this year to go week in, week out in the bubble environment? I said, No. That's why I didn't play for very long."

Kyrgios, 26, says despite his pledge to entertain, his competitive edge remains as sharp as ever.

"I compete every day. I compete when I play checkers. I compete when I play Call of Duty. I compete when I play basketball."

That spirit, he insists, will be taken into his Wimbledon mixed doubles partnership with Venus Williams.

"To see her still gracing the courts of Wimbledon, winning matches at 41. I don't think I'll be able to honestly hit another ball. She's a legend."


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