Published: Sun, July 07, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Nick Kyrgios 'wanted to hit' Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon

Nick Kyrgios 'wanted to hit' Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon

Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates after beating Australia's Nick Kyrgios in a Men's singles match during day four of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Thursday, July 4, 2019.

When asked was he deliberately aiming for Nadal, Canberra native Kyrgios replied: "I was going for him, yeh".

His first underarm serve came in the eighth game much to the delight of the crowd who were to jeer his second such tactic to go 4-1 up in the second set.

Nadal's pleasure was evident when he sealed the match against a man he had accused of lacking respect for the sport as he fist-pumped and jumped in the air yelling to his camp seated on Centre Court. Fuming at Nadal's glacial between-point preparations, Kyrgios began a running battle with the umpire that eventually led to him calling him a disgrace.

Nadal racked up his 50th win at Wimbledon with victory over Kyrgios, and showed there was no hard feeling between the two by waiting for his vanquished opponent after the game so the two could exit the court together, to a standing ovation from the crowd. "You must have a really boring life", he chastised a reporter. This time the ball went in, nearly hit me, no problem.

"On big points he played well, he was on fire with his forehand". And then, obviously, she serves unbelievably well.

Then in the third set, the real drama occurred.

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The ball did not hit him, though, as the world number two managed to block it with his racket, but, later explained how that move from Kyrgios could have had drastic consequences. "I know people that bought a ticket today probably had a great day", said Kyrgios, a 24-year-old Australian who is ranked 43rd. "I was trying to be more aggressive than in my previous match".

A long-held opinion of Kyrgios is he has all the talent to be a major victor - Nadal said as much after the match - but not the mindset. His approach shot put Kyrgios in the corner, and rather than go cross court, up the line, or try a lob, Kyrgios just whacked the ball directly at Rafa. I mean, the dude has got how many slams, how much money in the bank account? When the Spaniard did manage to rush forward and make a return, Kyrgios would send him back with a lob which never went long. The most important thing is my foot's fine.

"I don't think it's a good idea to keep talking about this guy", he said.

Nadal acknowledged Kyrgios' antics but said he didn't want to comment on them.

"The umpire today was horrendous", added Kyrgios.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga needed an hour and 46 minutes to get past Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis, nearly twice as long as it took him to beat Bernard Tomic in round one.

A brief handshake followed and Nadal's finger wag - a gesture that seemed to indicate "Not this time" - evoked memories of Roger Federer doing the same thing after ending Novak Djokovic's roughly five-month winning streak in 2011 at the French Open.

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