Shoeless Kyrgios as Aussie men brought to heel at Wimbledon

·3-min read

Nick Kyrgios leaving his shoes in the locker room prior to his third round match on Saturday neatly summed up a desperate day at Wimbledon for the Australian men.

Not even Kyrgios could lift flagging spirits after Jordan Thompson and James Duckworth had exited earlier in the day.

"I left my tennis shoes in the locker room," he said to a bemused umpire after he had rifled through his bag and realised his error.

"It happened once before, but not at Wimbledon.

"One minute I thought I was professional, got my racket, got my clothes, walked out here so confidently and then bang, I forget my shoes in the locker."

Having romped through the first set 6-2 against 16th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime the entertaining but unpredictable Kyrgios lost the second 6-1 and promptly retired with an abdominal injury.

However, the 26-year-old Australian saw a positive out of his week at a tournament where he reached the quarter-finals in 2014.

"Coming out here (Court One) and having this support has given me a second wind. I will come back and play for a bit longer," he said.

"I did all I could to prepare for here and I beat a heck of a player in the first round (21st seed Ugo Humbert).

"Still Felix is going places and for you in the crowd he is better looking than me too!"

- 'Tough circumstance' -

Wimbledon is Kyrgios's first trip outside Australia since the coronavirus pandemic took hold largely because he did not trust himself to observe the bubble rules for the players.

Indeed his suspicion about it was borne out by a dejected Duckworth.

Duckworth described his week as awesome up till Saturday when it became "rubbish" as he lost 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 to Italy's Lorenzo Sonego the 23rd seed.

The 29-year-old said he would love to be able to go back to Australia to boost his morale and see familiar faces.

However, he has a full schedule upcoming saying he will either play the Newport grass tournament in Rhode Island or the Olympics.

"It is really tough being in the bubble," he said.

"I would love to be able to go back to Australia as I have not seen my girlfriend in a little while.

"I have a new house that she has moved into while I was away.

"It would be great to recharge for a couple of weeks but we are just in a tough circumstance with these two-week hotel quarantine bubbles."

Thompson struck a more upbeat note after his straight sets exit, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, to Ilya Ivashka of Belarus.

"It is better this happens in the third round than a first round," said Thompson, who had never got past the first round at Wimbledon in four previous appearances.

"It is a positive week. After the clay court season, if someone said I would get to the third round at Wimbledon I would have taken that definitely.

"It has been a positive week and I take a lot of confidence out of it."

pi/dj

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