Nick Kyrgios disappointed after Rafael Nadal withdraws from Wimbledon, worried about final


LONDON — Nick Kyrgios felt “disappointed” when he first learned that Rafael Nadal had withdrawn from the semi-finals of the Wimbledon men’s singles. He then said he could only sleep for one hour on Thursday night and was “a reckless ball of energy” as he processed the news.

Nadal withdrew from the semi-finals with a stomach injury, meaning Kyrgios will play his first-ever Grand Slam final against Novak Djokovic or Cam Norrie on Sunday.

Kyrgios said on Friday that he was hoping for a “third chapter” after going 1-1 in two previous games against Nadal at Wimbledon.

“My energy was so focused on playing [Nadal] and tactically how I go out to play, the emotions run out of there, all that sort of thing,” said Kyrgios, who said he heard of Nadal’s decision while he was having dinner on Thursday.

“But you know, it wouldn’t have been easy for him to do that… [withdraw]† … He barely lost a game this year. He probably wanted to go for all four. So it wouldn’t be easy. I hope he gets better.”

Now Kyrgios’ attention has shifted to Sunday’s men’s final, saying he was “super proud” of himself and that he “never thought” he would make it to a Grand Slam final.

“I had a shocking sleep last night, though, to be honest,” Kyrgios said. “I probably slept for an hour just with everything, like the excitement. I had so much anxiety. I already felt so nervous and normally I’m not nervous.

He added: “I was just restless. So many thoughts in my head about a Wimbledon final. That’s all I thought about. [about] playing, clearly imagining myself winning, and imagining myself losing. Everything. … I now feel like I’m a reckless ball of energy. I just want to go to the practice court now and hit some tennis balls and just talk. I don’t know. I want it to come already. Yes, I want the final to come already.”

Kyrgios has lost to Djokovic twice in matches, and they have also clashed off the pitch before. However, they have grown closer since Kyrgios backed Djokovic at the start of the year when he was deported from Australia ahead of the Australian Open.

“We definitely have a bit of a bromance now, which is weird,” said Kyrgios, adding that Djokovic is messaging him directly on Instagram. “I think everyone knows there was no love lost there for a while. I think it was healthy for the sport. I think every time we played against each other there was hype around it. It was interesting for the media , the people watching, all that.

“I felt like I was almost the only kind of player and someone who stood up for him with all that kind of drama at the Australian Open. I feel that respect is earned there – not on the tennis court, but I feel like when there is a real crisis and someone stands up for you.”

That was rare in the case of Kyrgios, especially with his compatriots.

Kyrgios said Lleyton Hewitt, the last Australian men’s player to reach a Slam final at the 2005 US Open, is one of the few Australian former pros to show him any support.

“The kind of one great thing that has supported me all along is Lleyton Hewitt,” said Kyrgios, who said he had hit with Hewitt earlier in the tournament. ‘As he knows. He’s our Davis Cup captain, and he kind of knows I’m kind of doing my own thing.”

It’s been an eventful fourteen days for Kyrgios at Wimbledon. He was fined twice: first for spitting at a spectator after his first round win, then again for an “audible obscenity” in the third round against Stefanos Tsitsipas. He overcame a shoulder injury in the fourth round. Ahead of his quarter-final, news broke that he would be summoned next month in a court in Canberra, Australia, to be charged with common assault.

Earlier in the tournament, he was criticized by Pat Cash for taking “tennis to the lowest level I can see as far as play, cheating, manipulation, abuse, aggressive behavior towards referees and linesmen” during a performance at the BBC radio.

“I mean, look, the greats of Australian tennis haven’t always been the nicest for me personally,” Kyrgios said. “They haven’t always supported me. They haven’t supported me these two weeks. So it’s hard for me to read things they say about me. … I’m definitely the outcast of the Australian players.

“It’s pretty sad because I don’t get any support from the other Australian tennis players, the male side. Not the players, but like the greats of the past. It’s weird they just have a sick obsession with me for some reason. Like I just don’t know if they don’t like me or if they’re scared I don’t know I don’t know what it is But it sucks ’cause if the roles were reversed If I saw [Alex] The Minaur in a final, or if I saw Jordan Thompson or Thanasi? [Kokkinakis]I would be pumped. I would be stoked. I’d go for a pint and go crazy.”

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